As the year draws to a close, I have put some time aside to reflect on my top reads of 2016. As I compiled this list, I realised the majority of the books I have chosen seem to come from Australian female writers! I believe this is a testament to the quality of writing that is coming from Australian female writers. I can’t wait to see what 2017 brings to the table reading wise. With no further ado, here is my top reads of 2016 list. I have also included an honourable mentions section at the end, as there were just so many books I loved this year!
Castle of Dreams by Elise McCune. This stunning debut novel took my breath away and I have championed this book all year. I adored this unforgettable tale of family secrets, love, lies and betrayal, set against a stunning Queensland backdrop. My all time favourite novel of 2016. Review here.
The Florentine Bridge by Vanessa Carnevale. Another fabulous debut novel from an Australian author that I predict has a strong writing career ahead. I’m already counting down until Vanessa Carnevale’s next release. The Florentine Bridge is a book that is full of heart and hope. It tells the story of a young cancer survivor Mia, who makes the brave decision to reignite her love of painting and finds love in the picturesque locale of Florence, Italy. This is my pick for the best debut novel of the year. Review here.
A Kiss From Mr Fitzgerald by Natasha Lester. Natasha was a guest at a local author event I attended this year, Stories on Stage. This is the first book I have read by Lester and I was enthralled by her first turn at writing historical fiction. A Kiss From Mr Fitzgerald is a groundbreaking tale of one woman’s struggle to make it as the first female obstetrician, while simultaneously dancing in the famous Ziegfeld Follies by night. My pick for best historical fiction novel of the year. Review here.
It Was Only Ever You by Kate Kerrigan. My pick for the most romantic book that I read in 2016. This is a beautiful and poignant tale of three women and one man. The transatlantic setting of 1950’s New York and Ireland added much appeal to this gentle tale of finding love and your place in the world. Review here.
The Dry by Jane Harper. A high quality debut and a must read. An atmospheric thriller set in the a hot and dusty Australian small town, where a crime must be solved. Award winning writing that easily takes out my pick for thriller of the year. Review here.
The Other Side of the Season by Jenn J McLeod. Jenn J McLeod is an author who just seems to get better with each new book she releases. I believe this is her best yet. The Other Side of the Season is a double time frame novel, set in the beautiful Byron Bay region. It is essentially a family mystery that examines the choices we make. Australian storytelling at its very best.Review here.
Under the Spanish Stars by Alli Sinclair. I loved Alli’s debut novel Luna Tango. In her second book, Under the Spanish Stars, Sinclair takes the reader on an unforgettable journey to Spain. This is a book that combines love, betrayal, secrets, family, culture and flamenco dancing. It is a book that will be sure to carry you away. My pick for the best summer read. Review here.
The Art of Keeping Secrets by Rachael Johns.It is no secret that I love Rachael Johns writing and I have been a loyal reader of her rural romance books for some time. The Art of Keeping Secrets is her second foray into women’s fiction or ‘life lit’ and I absolutely loved it. It delivered some unexpected and cracking secrets, of three best friends who thought they knew everything about one another. I can’t wait to see what Rachael delivers next year if the Art of Keeping Secrets is anything to go by! Review here. The Jewel Sea by Kim Kelly. A relatively short novel but it really packed a punch. It is a sweeping historical tale that is based on a true story, detailing the tragic loss of the luxury ship the SS Koombana. Set just off the coast of Western Australia, I found much resonance in this novel, with themes of greed, betrayal, desire, love and life. A beautifully woven tale from an author I can trust to write colourful Australian stories. Review here.
The Rarest Thing by Deborah O’Brien. A gentle Victorian high country Australian story that takes a unique storyline, the exploration of the thought extinct mountain pygmy possum. A passionately told and well researched novel that definitely deserved no less than a five-star rating. Review here.
Other books I was not able to squeeze into this list that I loved and deserves an honourable mention are:
Le Chateau by Sarah Ridout, Into the Quiet by Eliza Henry-Jones, Daughter of Australia by Harmony Verna, Barbed Wire and Cherry Blossoms by Anita Heiss, The Wife’s Tale by Christine Wells, Love Elimination by Sarah Gates, The War Bride by Pamela Hart, Maggie’s Kitchen by Caroline Beecham, The Seven Sisters by Lucinda Riley, The Cherry Season by Trish Morey, The Doctor Calling by Meredith Appleyard, Tapestry by Fiona McIntosh, The Governor’s House by J.H. Fletcher, Swimming Home by Mary-Rose MacColl, Rose’s Vintage by Kayte Nunn, The Secret Heiress by Luke Devenish, Standing Strong by Fiona McCallum and The Peppercorn Project by Nicki Edwards.
Now my extensive top reads list has come to a close, I would like to wish each and every one of you that follow my blog/page a very happy new year and all the best for 2017!
Thanks! Mrs B:-)