Although there are still several novels published in 2014 on my TBR list (I blame it on my heavy college workload, tee hee.), I did manage to read and enjoy several awesome books this year. Below are excerpts from BBT reviews. They are my top five books of 2014 (in no particular order). Click on the link to read the full reviews.
Michael Crummey brings an isolated, austere landscape and its unforgettable inhabitants to life in his latest novel Sweetland. He paints the harsh life of the East Coast with frank simplicity. Never over-the-top.
The Museum of Extraordinary Things
By Alice Hoffman
384 pages, $32,00.
It’s an enchanting story with a pace as steady and stirring as the Hudson River snaking its way into the plot. I was swept full-force into the story. Hoffman’s choice of narrators, her weaving of past and present narratives, and her colourful language drew me in. So did her captivating setting —New York City in the early 1900s.
I was enchanted by Aislinn Hunter’s novel, a gorgeous, complex story pulsing with life. The novel explores how time, memory, and imaginings can shape a person’s narrative and identity. The reader flutters in and out of the past alongside a whirlwind of characters —most of them spirits who have lost their selfhood.
The Bees by Laline Paull
HarperCollins Publishers Ltd, 2014
340 pages, $21.99
In Paull’s riveting, epic tale, bees put their lives on the line to protect the Queen and the beehive. The author creates an entire world revolving around these fascinating insects to mirror societal hierarchies and environmental crises. Still, there is a significant difference between Laline Paull’s novel with those of Richard Adams and G. R. R. Martin: her story evokes the divine feminine. The undercurrents of maternal love, sisterhood, and a Mother God heighten the flow of the story at every moment.
In The Monster’s Wife, first-time novelist Kate Horsley honours the gothic tradition of Mary Shelley while maintaining a fresh, unique voice. Some describe this book as a sequel to Shelley’s classic Frankenstein. I view this new book as an ingenious spin-off revamping a short period of the classic tale. It takes place after Victor Frankenstein makes a pact with his ‘creature’ to play God once again —to make a wife for the creature. Victor settles in the Orkney Islands for a bout of manic, promised work. Its dark, moody atmosphere lends well to the harsh landscape of the islands and the unravelling plot. With its vibrant imagery and meticulous details, The Monster’s Wife will have a firm grip on you from the start.
What were your top five reads of 2014? I hope you crack open the books on my list if you haven’t already. I’m certain you will love them just as much as I did.
Thank you for reading my book reviews, blogger friends. Happy Holidays!