The Secret Life of Bees
by Sue Monk Kidd
My thoughts: The Secret Life of Bees is, in short, profound. Indirectly covering difficult and important topics - love, racism, abuse, death - this book is gripping, fascinating, intense, beautiful and poignant. Seen through the eyes of fourteen-year-old Lily Owens who was raised by a single father, this story twists and turns with hard truths and a powerful lesson in life and in love.
(Picked up from the free book shelf at the Albatross Hostel in Kaikoura, New Zealand, April 2019)
274 pages / published 2002 by Headline Book Publishing
The Girl Who Saved the King of Sweden
by Jonas Jonasson
My thoughts: This book was a fantastically witty and highly detailed recounting of some of the most bizarre events that the mind could conjure as they played out throughout the joint history of Sweden and South Africa (and some bits of China sprinkled in) in relation to the life of one very extraordinary woman, Nombeko Mayeki. I found the humour to be the perfect amount, following characters who were so unapologetically themselves.
(Picked up from the free book shelf at Albatross Hostel in Kaikoura, New Zealand, April 2019)
419 pages / published 2014 by Harper Collins
by Jodi Picoult
My thoughts: A gripping narrative that details the highly complex and mostly unknown day-to-day life of the Amish and how an unthinkable crime disrupts everything they know. A very well-researched book in which you never know what's coming next.
(Picked up from the free book shelf at the Albatross Hostel in Kaikoura, New Zealand, March 2019)
504 pages / published 2000 by Allen & Unwin
The Elephant Keepers' Children
by Peter Høeg
My thoughts: A brilliantly witty novel that keeps you in fits of giggles while unraveling a highly complicated tale chasing policemen, terrorists, religious fanatics and all sorts of other fascinatingly believable characters around Denmark.
(Picked up from a free book exchange in Punakaiki, New Zealand, February 2019)
390 pages / published 2013 by Vintage Books
by Jilly Cooper
My thoughts: A long and gripping novel that details almost a decade of romance, horses and the drama between the top athletes in the field of Great Britain's horse-jumping team leading up to the Los Angeles Olympics. Sex, horses and drama - what else could you want? Perhaps some clarity to make it a bit easier to follow the intensely complicated tale...
(Picked up at a free book exchange at the end of the Queen Charlotte Track in Anakiwa, New Zealand, February 2019)
919 pages / published 1985
by Jill Mansell
My thoughts: A whimsical love story with all the qualities of a family rivalry turned on its head by the young heir and heiress' attraction to each other thanks to brilliant brains, wit and dashingly good looks. An easy read with a satisfying, if predictable, ending.
(Picked up at the YHA Hostel free book shelf in Canberra, Australia, January 2019)
448 pages / published 1995 by Headline
The Bookman's Tale
by Charlie Lovett
My thoughts: A riveting book delving into the history and truth of William Shakespeare and his plays. While sometimes confusing to keep up with all the different eras in his writing, this book is a wonderful analysis of the truth of Shakespeare with an almost too-good-to-be-true romance wound in.
(Lent to me by my mother, January 2019)
368 pages / published 2014 by Penguin Random House
by Charlie Lovett
My thoughts: A beautifully written love story that unites the old and new with Jane Austen's witty writing and passion for friendship and words. Some characters could have been further developed but a wholly wonderful tale.
(Lent to me by my mother, November 2018)
308 pages / published 2014 by Viking
A Night to Remember
by Walter Lord
My thoughts: A fantastic, gripping account of the night the Titanic sank - every moment recrafted and the tales of the survivors and those lost with the ship woven to such precision, it feels like you're on board.
(Purchased at Powell's Books in Portland, Oregon, August 2018)
209 pages / published 1955 by Holt Paperbacks
Heading Out to Wonderful
by Robert Goolrick
My thoughts: A dark, draws-you-in, can't-put-it-down sort of read. Thoroughly deep characters with tales that tug on your heart in ways you didn't know it could.
(Purchased at Bookshop Santa Cruz, California, July 2018)
304 pages / published 2012 by Algonquin Books
How to Survive the Titanic or the Sinking of J. Bruce Ismay
by Frances Wilson
My thoughts: One of the best accounts of the Titanic I have yet read, with gripping details and a fascinating description of the aftermath which is not so widely covered.
(Borrowed from Vancouver Public Library, July 2018)
329 pages / published 2011 by Bloomsbury Publishing
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society
by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows
My thoughts: A compelling and truly lovely book written entirely in letters between characters. More than anything, this book makes you want to give up everything for an idyllic island life among friends.
(Saved from the dump pile in my apartment block in Vancouver, Canada, May 2018)
274 pages / published 2008 by Dial Press Trade Paperbacks