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Stuck for last minute Christmas gifts? How about one of my top 5 reads of 2016?

I am delighted to unwittingly discover that my top 5 reads of 2016 have all been written by women. I have absolutely nothing against fiction by men; I have also read many books written by men this year and have always been fairly gender-blind when it comes to choosing books. But, feminist that I am and the fact that women are still under-represented in literary prizes and the publishing industry, I was pleasantly surprised to discover that my favourite reads of the past year have all been penned by talented women.

In no particular order, here they are:

Fall on your knees

by Anne Marie Macdonald

Gather Together in My Name

This book was an enormous surprise. I picked it up from a local book swap and although the cover looked unpromising (different from the above cover), the blurb on the back was interesting. What I wasn’t expecting was to be swept into a searing historical saga of the redoubtable Piper Family in Nova Scotia. The ending was shocking but satisfying, though I never did understand the relevance of the title! But I loved this book and would heartily recommend it.

By Maya Angelou

I truly do not know how I had managed to go this long without reading any of Maya Angelou’s prose. I had previously read bits and bobs of her poetry, but for some reason had never broken into her autobiography. This is not the first in her series of her autobiographies, but it didn’t matter. She tells her stories with wry, intelligent humour and blurs the line between fiction and auto-biography compellingly.

Amy Snow

By Tracy Rees

This is a beautiful, meticulously researched historical fiction from novelist Tracy Rees that doubles as mystery detective novel. The indomitable protagonist is sent on a curious treasure hunt the length and breadth of Great Britain by her deceased benefactor as we slowly piece together the stories of two strong, memorable women. (I recently interviewed the author and on her journey to Richard & Judy ‘Search for a bestseller’ stardom – Click here to read it.)

The Seven Sisters

By Lucinda Riley

Lucinda Riley is an author who had been on my radar for some time but…*sigh*…time. You know how it is. Anyway, the first book of hers that I read did not disappoint. I was less keen on the modern day sections set on Lake Geneva, but this was all important explanatory material and this book is the first in a series that will trace the heritage of seven adopted sisters, fascinatingly modelled on the Seven Sisters constellations. The section set in 1920’s Rio de Janeiro was captivating and I really look forward to reading more in the series.

The Lie Tree

By Frances Hardinge

Last, but by no means least, if you haven’t yet read The Lie Tree, you are in for a serious treat. I next to never read YA fiction, but my ten year old daughter insisted I read it and wow, I was blown away by Frances Hardinge’s unique style and the magic she has woven with this tale. In this genre-bending story, she has seamlessly blended history, science, fantasy, morality, theology and a whole lot more. I can’t wait to read more of her novels.

Happy Reading and wishing you a VERY Happy Christmas. I’ll see you back in the New Year!

girl and sunbird_1

What readers are saying about The Girl and the Sunbird:

‘This is a poignant, heart-wrenching, impactful story that I won’t soon forget.’

‘I envy anyone who is still to read this.’

‘It’s one of those books that weaves itself into your soul and stays with you long after you reluctantly read the last page.’

‘A brilliant book, an epic story, this book deserves to be read by everyone.’

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