My 10 Best Books of 2015

Over the course of 2015 I read 112 books on a whole host of topics and taking me to many parts of the world in the past, in the current era and also some set in the future too.  Reading is my favourite hobby and I find it hard to resist entering a book shop and if I do so coming out without a book.  My house is full of my piles of books and if anything my resolution for 2016 should be to read them and clear the house up of its piles of books.  But…………….the chances are I will be in more book shops and will purchase new books and enter new worlds.


But back to 2015 how can I choose Ten books out of the 112 that I read?  Well I keep a book journal and the books that I think are worthy of being on the list get a star  as a contender.  And then during the Christmas holidays the final list is written.  So the 2015 list is:

  1. Elizabeth is Missing – Emma Healey.

This was one of the cleverest books that I have read.  It is about a lady who is suffering from dementia and is living mostly in the past where she has clear recollections but the present she is unsure about until she convinces herself that her best friend is missing.  This book is historical fiction.  It is a crime novel but more than that it gives such an insight into someone who is suffering from dementia.  The most telling side is seeing it from the insight of the dementia sufferer herself from the clarity of how she feels about the past and her confusion about the present.  To the daughter who is caring for her and trying to find the mother she knew in the old lady she now is.

2. I let you Go – Clare Macintosh

This was my stand out thriller of the year.  It kept me enthralled all the way through and as I said in my May book review

“This book has more twists in it than I can remember it was enthralling from page one to the end  read it, read it. read it.  I am not saying any more as you need to read with an open mind and no spoilers but read it.  It’s fantastic.”

3. The Harry Quebert Affair

2015 was the year that the sequel of my contender for my favourite book came out the hotly anticipated prequel to Kill a Mocking Bird.  It was by far the most disappointing book of the year and as I said when I reviewed it I wish I hadn’t read it.  I read the Harry Quebert Affair in June before Harper Lee’s book was published.  This book was everything I wished Go Set a Watchman to be.  I loved this book set in the deep South of the USA a great saga of a story.

4. 5 Children on the Western Front Kate Saunders

This is a young adult book that my local bookshop Mainstreet Trading pushed so that I finally bought it to take with me on holiday.  I loved this book it took me back to my childhood reminded me of the writing of E Nesbit or CS Lewis and I just loved being back in that part world of reality and imagination.  A fantastic book that brought the reality of the First World War alive whilst seeing it through the eyes of children. A magical sad beautiful book that made me laugh and cry and reminded me of the beauty of using your imagination.

5. Roof Toppers – Katherine Rindell

This book was also a July read and also a young adult read.  I didn’t read them back to back but I enjoyed this book as much as the above.  This is about a young girl post 2 World War who is adopted by a eccentric old man and has a idyllic if unusual childhood but she can’t forget her mother and believes that she is still alive though the evidence says otherwise.  Her guardian believes her though 100% and takes her to Paris to find her.  What then follows is a wonderful story of Paris roof tops and friends and the power of love to find a way though it may seem impossible.

6. Freeing Grace – Charity Norman

I really enjoy Charity Norman’s writing this is one of her earlier books.  It is about a couple who sadly after multiple failed pregnancies decide to adopt a child and their story of their adoption of a wee girl.  It is also the story of the family of the child who are divided as to wither to adopt or not.  What I love about Charity Norman’s writing is her ability to write such compelling characters and family tales whilst tackling tough issues.

7. Holy Island – LJ Ross

Holy Island is a favourite day trip for our family we love it and when I saw a fictional book about it was a must read.  This is a self published book which is often not necessarily a good read.  In this case it was.  It is a crime novel set on the island and managed to capture the place but also was a riveting story.  Who knew a quiet place like Holy Island should have such goings on? Read it you won’t think of the place in the same way again.

8. A Place Called Winter – Patrick Gale

Patrick Gale is a beautiful empathetic writer and reading one of his books is like wrapping yourself in a blanket by a fire and immersing yourself in a different world from your own as you read his book.  The only issue being that you tend to read his books very rapidly as much as you want to savour the experience.  That said Patrick Gale is not afraid to tackle big issues and this book is no exception with the principal character discovering post marriage that he is gay difficult today but at the beginning of the 20th Century when the book is set considered a mental illness.  In the course of the book you also see into what it might feel to be transgender as the book takes you from England to the wilds of Canada the prairies and a mental hospital.  For me the spirit of the book is that we all love and have the capacity to be loved but we don’t always look at other’s and see their lives through their eyes.  A book I didn’t want to finish but read all too rapidly.

9. Sweet Caress – William Boyd

Such a great name for a William Boyd book as his novels are for me like a bookie hug.  Confessions I read this on my Kindle at a price I wouldn’t normally pay for a Kindle book but one I find it hard to resist a William Boyd book and two when I read some of it was set on a Scottish island I had pressed the buy button before I knew it.  The best compliment I can give this book is that although I have the Kindle version I will buy it in paper back when it comes out as it’s a book I would read again.  Beautifully written and if anyone wants to read a fiction book on the 20th Century this book covers the key historical events.  But it is so much more with the use of photos that William Boyd has collected over the years woven into the story and then there is the ending.  I  won’t give that away but it hits you with full force.

10. The Well by Catherine Chanter

This was a brilliant book with so many themes not least climate change though in this book its a drought hitting the UK not the constant rain that we have seen recently.  It is about families and the impact of change even change you have chosen and the fact that sometimes a dream becomes a nightmare and you make decisions and choose people over family that is totally out of character.  Before you know it your life and the lives of those you love most are changed for ever.







About fionadranesblog

40 plus mum of two married with a mad cocker spaniel. Along with two colleagues run Bright Light Marketing a rural marketing agency who specialise in getting rural businesss noticed. Live in St Boswells in the wonderful Scottish Borders. Love books, walking and living life to the full here in the Scottish Borders though its sometimes a juggle!
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3 Responses to My 10 Best Books of 2015

  1. Helen Currie says:

    Hi Fiona

    Do you fancy doing some reading for the Walter Scott prize for historical fiction this coming year? books start arriving next November time. Patrick Gale’s one was on the list this time….. No payment, but you get to keep the books you read!

    • Helen I would love to yes please. Thank you.

      • Helen Currie says:

        Thanks Fiona

        I get delivery of books from late Autumn time so will be in touch later on. There are around 100 and hopefully there will be 4 of us reading next time to share the load. You get about 2 – 3 months to read them. Some are wonderful, others rubbish … all historical fiction.

        Thank you very much!



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