2023 in Books

2023 in Books


Sheltering Rain – JoJo Moyes

I always enjoy JoJo Moyes's books including this one, but The Giver of Stars is still my favourite. What's not to love about women librarians on horseback?

Artic Curry Club – Dani Redd

I was interested to read another book about the Arctic. Although very different to From Manchester to the Arctic, it was a good read.


Madame Bovary – Gustav Flaubert

I always love a classic and this is no exception.

The House of Schelling Street – Gill James

A beautifully written story about life for teenage girls in World War II Berlin.

The City of Stories – Lynn Clement

A beautiful and witty collection of stories set in Lynn Clement's native Manchester. Lynn is another of my talented, fellow indie authors.


Wintering – Katherine May

I've reviewed this book a couple of times. It's definitely a winter read.

How Civil Wars Start - Barbara F. Walter

A fascinating and very readable look at how civil wars have started in the past and what we can learn (or not!) from history. I read it mainly because I was interested in what is going on in the US.


Shrines of Gaiety – Kate Atkinson

I was given a hardback version of this as a present. Again I enjoy Kate Atkinson's writing, but on the whole have enjoyed her earlier books more.

Unholy Murder – Lynda La Plante

A good, no-nonsense, crime thriller. 


Just Say It – Tessa Barrie

This beautifully written romance from my fellow indie author, Tessa Barrie, was just right for early summer.

The Nightingale – Kristin Hannah

I discovered Kristin Hannah in 2022 and have been working my way through her books. This was the best I've read so far. You can read more in my review if you click on the link.


The Great Alone – Kristin Hannah

Again, a page turner, but very dark this time. Some might find the scenes of domestic violence hard to read.

How to Write a Book Using the Snowflake Method - Randy Ingermanson

This book has had a great influence on how I write my books over the last year. As well as being informative, it's hilarious to read.


Crime and Punishment – Fyodor Dostoevsky

What can I say? I made it to the end! Wow! It's hard to imagine a writer being able to write and sustain this kind of intensity. Dostoevsky wrote this after he had been in prison himself. Basically, a young student murders an older woman with an axe and then spends the rest of the book wrestling with what he has done and whether he should give himself up while slowly going mad. Not for the faint-hearted.


The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennesey – Rachel Joyce

What could be better after the murky waters of Crime and Punishment than another beautiful and poignant book from Rachel Joyce. If I emulate anyone's style in my writing I think it is hers. I love the little details and the way we learn about her characters.

The Cat Who Saved Books – Sosuke Natsukawa

Quirky with an element of fantasy. A lovely little book.


The Secret History – Donna Tartt

Dark but gripping. Vintage Donna Tartt

The Ghost Ship – Kate Mosse

We went to see Kate Mosse in Doncaster doing her one-woman show Warrior Queens and Silent Revolutionaries, all about amazing women from the past who have been forgotten and overlooked. The Ghost Ship tells the story of two of these women. If you love the thought of Female pirates, you'll love this.


The Romantic – William Boyd

You can always depend on Wiliam Boyd for a good story. This is another of his books, like Sweet Caress where he almost has you believing that the main character was an actual person

The Fear – CL Taylor

A new discovery this year. I went mad and bought a bundle of five of her books. I was interested because she is a British writer, based in Bristol. Lots of the thrillers I've read lately have been American. A gripping book - Fear is an apt title.

A Man Called Ove – Fredrik Backman

What can I say? A beautiful book about a grumpy, older man dealing with life after the death of his wife. A great blend of pathos and humour, and very much in the style of Rachel Joyce, although the translation from Swedish gives it a slightly different feel.

Educated – Tara Westover

Growing up with a racist, radical father who was constantly preparing for the end of the world and a violent older brother, Tara leaves home at sixteen. She learns the value of education and manages to reinvent herself to become someone beyond her wildest imagination.


Escape – CL Taylor

Yup! another good one.

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn – Betty Smith

A fascinating account of the author's early years in poverty stricken Brooklyn. A far cry from the trendy place it is today. I read it partly because It is set in Williamsburg, where we rented an apartment for a week or two several years ago.  Betty tells the story of how she climbed her way out of poverty by following her love of books and reading.


The Treatment – CL Taylor

A young adult book this time, but I enjoyed it just as much as the others.

Still Life – AS Byatt

I thought I'd read this because AS Byatt died in late 2023 and I don't remember having read anything by her before.

Set in post-war Cambridge and Yorkshire the story explores the challenges of women balancing academic careers with having families. It was hard going at times if I'm honest, and very philosophical in places, but what an amazing writer she was.