Wednesday, December 28, 2016

My favorite books of 2016~

First of all, every end of year I post a list of my top five favorite novels published this year. They are of various genres, though mainly nineteenth-century in subject matter and theme.  The only criteria really is that the entire novel or biography has to have captured me completely! 

Alright, so mid-year when I requested a review copy from the U.K. publisher I never imagined the author would become my boyfriend!~ So, forgive me for making this a top pick but come on it led to true love.

Anne Brontë, the youngest and most enigmatic of the Brontë sisters, remains a bestselling author nearly two centuries after her death. The brilliance of her two novels and her poetry belies the quiet, truthful girl who often lived in the shadow of her more outgoing sisters. Yet her writing was the most revolutionary of all the Brontës, pushing the boundaries of what was acceptable. This revealing new biography opens Anne’s most private life to a new audience, and includes unpublished letters from Anne to the family to which she was governess as well as first publication of a controversial image that could be the only photograph of the three Brontë sisters.

To purchase Amazon UK

 You can never go wrong with an Essie Fox novel. She truly has become one of my favorite authors and a go to for a intelligently written, Gothic themed story. I have read all of her previous novels and she just keeps getting better~! 
During the oppressive heat wave of 1976 a young journalist, Ed Peters, finds an Edwardian photograph in a junk shop in the seaside town of Brightland. It shows an alluring, dark-haired girl, an actress whose name was Leda Grey.

Enchanted by the image, Ed learns Leda Grey is still living - now a recluse in a decaying cliff-top house she once shared with a man named Charles Beauvois, a director of early silent film. As Beauvois's muse and lover, Leda often starred in scenes where stage magic and trick photography were used to astonishing effect.

But, while playing a cursed Egyptian queen, the fantasies captured on celluloid were echoed in reality, leaving Leda abandoned and alone for more than half a century - until the secrets of her past result in a shocking climax, more haunting than any to be in found in the silent films of Charles Beauvois.

To purchase Amazon UK

Highly recommended for any admirer of photographer, Julia Margaret Cameron. I fell in love with this book. It is truly beautiful.

"The Victorians admired Julia Margaret Cameron for her evocative photographic portraits of eminent men like Tennyson, Carlyle and Darwin. However, Cameron also made numerous photographs that she called 'Fancy subjects', depicting scenes from literature, personifications from classical mythology, and Biblical parables from the Old and New Testament. This book is the first comprehensive study of these works, examining Cameron's use of historical allegories and popular iconography to embed moral, intellectual and political narratives in her photographs. A work of cultural history as much as art history, this book examines cartoons from Punch and line drawings from the Illustrated London News, cabinet photographs and autotype prints, textiles and wall paper, book illustrations and engravings from period folios, all as a way to contextualise the allegorical subjects that Cameron represented, revealing connections between her 'Fancy subjects' and popular debates about such topics as Biblical interpretation, democratic government and colonial expansion."

To purchase Amazon UK

Barbara Erskine has become another favorite author. I have been reading her books since the nineties when I discovered, "Lady of Hay." Time slip novels, impeccably researched by the author herself, a historian. Her novels are layered with rich period detail; you feel transported.

Two women, centuries apart. One endless nightmare tearing Wales apart – and only they can stop it.

Sunday Times bestselling author Barbara Erskine returns to Hay in the year that marks the 30th anniversary of her sensational debut bestseller, Lady of Hay.

Hay-On-Wye, 1400 – War is brewing in the Welsh borders, Catrin is on the brink of womanhood and falling in love for the first time. Her father is a soothsayer, playing a dangerous game playing on the mixed loyalties and furious rivalries between welsh princes and English lords. For two hundred years, the Welsh people have lain under the English yoke, dreaming of independence. And finally it looks as though the charismatic Owain Glyndwr may be the man legend tralks of. In the walls of Sleeper’s Castle, Catrin finds herself caught in the middle of a doomed war as she is called upon to foretell Wales’s destiny… And what she sees, is blood and war coming closer…

Hay, 2015. Miranda has moved to Sleeper’s Castle to escape and grieve. Slowly she feels herself coming to life in the solitude of the mountains. But every time she closes her eyes her dreams become more vivid. And she makes a connection with a young girl, who’s screaming, who’s reaching out… who only Miranda can help. Is she losing herself to time?

To purchase Amazon UK

Sometimes it takes a beautiful cover to intrigue you (It is a real autochrome by the way). There is nothing better than an old fashioned romance between a young strawberry girl and a painter (then unknown now world renowned). A true romance filled with pain and sadness. Right up my alley!

Summer 1893, and the Norwegian fishing village of Åsgårdstrand is preparing for the arrival of well-to-do guests and bohemian artists from the city. Local girl Johanne Lien dutifully gathers berries for tourists and poses barefoot for painters as ‘The Strawberry Girl’.

Johanne becomes a maid for the wealthy Ihlen family, whose wayward daughter Tullik recruits her as a go-between in her pursuit of the controversial painter Edvard Munch. Before long, Johanne is drawn into the raw emotion of Munch’s art and his secret liaison with Tullik. But when she is asked to hide more than just secrets, Johanne must decide whether to take the risk…

Lisa Stromme brings alive the tumultuous love affair that inspired one of the most famous paintings of all time, in a vivid and bewitching story of innocence, creativity and desire.

To purchase Amazon UK


Hels said...

OK it is going to be The Strawberry Girl!
1. I am passionate about redheads
2. Scandinavian literature and films have been all over the blogs this year. And
3. Edvard Munch really was controversial, yes!

Have a creative and healthy new year.

Kimberly Eve said...

Hi ya Hels,

I'm so glad you chose The Strawberry Girl. I hope you enjoy it very much.
Happy New Year to you and I hope it is filled with love and happiness!

Thank you so much for commenting!

Essie Fox said...

Thank you so much, Kimberly. Wishing a wonderful New Year, with all of the happiness that you deserve.

Kimberly Eve said...

Hi Essie,

I adored your novel. Happy New Year!!