Contains affiliate links: One of my favourite blog posts of the year and one I constantly consider when I’m making my way through books during the year. 2019 was one of my most successful reading years for some time (There’s only me to compete against here. If you have read even just one book this year and it’s pleased you then that’s success for you). For my Top 10 Reads of 2019, I’ve picked books that have resonated with me and most importantly I can still remember at the end of the year. I haven’t chosen any books that are part of series that I read although I have read a number of Angela Marsons, Cara Hunter and Rachel Abbott books that I always award 5* to.
You may also like to visit my Top 10 books of 2018 post too.
During 2019, I read a total of 56 books – I had set my goal of reading 55 so yay for me! This came to a total of 19,652 pages which was 4856 more than in 2018. I do put a lot of the increase in my reading down to my Facebook reading group, Casa Costello Reads which has been a reading haven for exactly a year now. If you enjoy reading and discussing books, then feel free to join us.
The breakdown of stars I awarded to books this year goes:
5* – 14 books
4* – 29 books
3* – 13 books
2* – 0 books
1* – 0 books
The average length of book I read was 350 pages with the shortest being ‘Twas the Nightshift Before Christmas by Adam Kay at just 144 pages and the longest, The Heart’s Invisible Furies by John Boyne at 608 pages (Later on in this post you will discover that it was totally worth investing the time in reading those 608 pages)
So let’s get onto the books – I’d love to hear from you if you have read any of the same and agree/disagree with my Top 10 reads of 2019.
10. Verity – Colleen Hoover
A dark book. A struggling author gets a job working to finish the work of a famous author, Verity who has had a life changing accident. She has to move into the house with the author and her husband. There’s parts of this book that are disturbing and graphic – not for the feint-hearted. What a rollercoaster ride of a book that will stay with the reader for a long time.
9. Sea of Memories – Fiona Valpy
If you enjoyed, Kristin Hannah’s The Nightingale, you will love this. Definitely echoes and the same feel, partly down to being set during WWII.
We follow the lives of 3 friends, Ella, Caroline and Christophe and their summers meeting in France on the Ile de Re. There’s heartbreak, love and loss – Not a book if you don’t like your heartstrings tugged but it is such a compelling read. In fact, I’m now wondering why it was only my 9th favourite read of the year …
8. My Lovely Wife – Samantha Downing
Ooh this is a different sort of thriller but so compelling. Millicent and her husband are odd. There’s no doubt about it. They live with their 2 teen age children. The book is written from the husband’s perspective – I’m not sure we ever get to actually know his name.
Millicent is cold, calculating and pure wicked – her husband eager to please – what a fantastic evil combination this results in. The book had a slowish start but this is more than made up for by the gripping ending.
7. A Keeper – Graham Norton
The second Graham Norton that I have read and even better than the first in my opinion. This book covers loneliness and community so well. There is at least one occasion that had me gasping in surprise which barely ever happens as I’m always on the lookout for a twist.
Elizabeth returns to Ireland after her mother’s death to clear up the house and sell it on. She discovers secrets within the house that lead her to discover her Mum’s history. Very cleverly done and so well written.
6. Ruth Robinson’s Year of Miracles – Frances Garrood
This is a feel good read. Ruth Robinson finds herself pregnant and jobless. Very soon after, she also discovers she’s homeless due to her super strict parents not wanting the shame of their unmarried, pregnant daughter living with them. Ruth is soon shipped off to live with her eccentric uncles on a remote farm and this is where the joy begins. The characters in this book are just lovely – the humour is gently, the people are kind and we discover so much hope. If you are feeling a bit down, please give this book a go.
5. Holiday SOS – Ben MacFarlane
The cover of this book is dreadful. Its no surprise that it is not more popular because of it but please don’t be fooled – this book is wonderful. Ben is a repatriation doctor, bringing people back from overseas after trauma or illness. Some of the tales he tells are incredible and rather scary. Certainly puts me off ever letting my girls go away at a young age.
4. Inheritance – Jenny Eclair
Another lengthy saga – I have grown to enjoy the comfy style of Jenny Eclair’s writing although the subjects she covers are not always easy.
Kittiwake, a mansion in Cornwall holds a deeply disturbing history and we discover from reading different timescales exactly what went on there. I’m not always a fan of multiple timelines but Jenny Eclair manages to hold my attention so well. The only slight irritation I found was I couldn’t decide how I should pronounce Kittiwake!
3. Watching You – Lisa Jewell
I have a love/hate relationship with Lisa Jewell’s books. Some just don’t seem to grab me but I thought this was brilliant. I was hooked within a couple of pages and raced through until the end.
A cleverly interwoven tale of neighbours in a suburban street, a local headteacher, his son and a student who is thoroughly suspicious that her headteacher is not as squeaky clean as he appears.
2. Our House – Louise Candlish
I have been waiting for a Louise Candlish book to live up to this one ever since. Fiona comes home to find another family moving into her house – the only problem is that she didn’t realise her house was for sale. At the same time, she realises that her husband has gone missing and has taken the children with him. Things escalate quickly with one of the most gripping endings to a book that I have read in a long time.
1. The Heart’s Invisible Furies – John Boyne
What a wonderful book. Its definitely an epic saga spanning several decades and not a quick book but so worth it. Set in Ireland, we follow the life of Cyril Avery who is adopted as a child and frequently told he is not a ‘real’ Avery. I did read the book with a sense of dread – Us readers are made aware that Cyril’s life is not going to be plain sailing but that’s what makes the book.
We meet some fantastic characters along the way. There are moments of heartbreak, heartwarming moments and wonderful humour in there too. I knew very early on that it would be very difficult for a book to come along and beat this as my book of the year.
And so there we are for another year – I didn’t write as many monthly roundups as I intended this year but will try again in 2020. I hope you find some of the recommendations useful.
Let me know what your books of the year were!