Although I read many great books in 2014 the following are my personal top 10 picks of the year:
1. Chang, Jung (2013) Empress Dowager Cixi; the concubine who launched modern China. Cape. Empress Dowager Cixi (1835-1908) brought China into the modern age. Fascinating in its detail. Jan’s Holiday Reads – January 2014.
2. Koch, Herman (2014) Summer House with Swimming Pool (Translated from the Dutch). Hogarth. Dr Marc Sclosser’s family vacation turns into a disturbing nightmare. Compulsively readable. Powerful. December Picks 2014.
3. King, Lily (2014) Euphoria. Atlantic Monthly. Three young, gifted anthropologists caught in a passionate love triangle in 1930s New Guinea. Inspired by the life of Margaret Mead. Stunning. July Picks 2014.
4. Walter, Jess (2013) Beautiful Ruins. Penguin. A dying actress arrives at a small cliff-top village on the Cinque Terre. Large sprawling cast. Magical. Jan’s Holiday Reads – January 2014.
5. Rakoff, Joanna (2014) My Salinger Year. Knopf. A literary memoir of an assistant to J D Salinger’s literary agent. Testament to an artistic life, and the power of books and talented writers. Rich. September Picks 2014.
6. Quindlen, Anna (2014) Still life with breadcrumbs. Random House. Journey of self-exploration in rural New York. Emotional, gentle and beautifully paced. July Picks 2014.
7. Ellis, Samantha (2014) How to be a heroine or what I’ve learned from reading too much. Chatto & Windus. How the women in fiction impacted on a life. Unassuming gem. April-May Picks 2014.
8. Dicker, Joel (2014) The Truth about the Harry Quebert Affair. Quercus. Harry Quebert fell in love with fifteen year old Nola Kellergan, and the finding of her body in 2008 makes him the prime suspect in a small New England town. A genre masterpiece. October Picks 2014.
9. Nixon, Carl (2013) The Virgin and the Whale; a love story. Vintage. Nurse Elizabeth Whitman begins to tell stories to her son and a returned WWI soldier with no memory. Beautifully crafted by a very talented New Zealand writer. Jan’s Holiday Reads – January 2014.
10. Gregory, Philippa (2014) The King’s Curse. Simon & Schuster. This final instalment in the Cousins’ War is the story of Margaret Pole, a Plantagenet heir. One of the finest of the Philippa Gregory novels in its political and historical detail. October Picks 2014