Here's my list (in no particular order) of the ten best books I've read in 2014:
Wake by Anna Hope
Wake is set in London during five days in November 1920 when the body of the unknown soldier is being brought home to England from France. It is also about three women who are linked in some way to each other, have all been affected by and are struggling to get over loss following World War I. This is a book you pick up to read just a few more pages only to find an hour later that you haven't managed to put it down. Parts of the story are heartbreaking and it gets across very well what life must have been like during and after The Great War and what people had to contend with.
No Harm Can Come To A Good Man by James Smythe
ClearVista is used by everyone and can predict anything. It's a daily lifesaver, predicting weather to traffic to who you should befriend. Laurence Walker wants to be the next President of the United States. ClearVista will predict his chances. It will predict whether he's the right man for the job. It will predict that his son can only survive for 102 seconds underwater. It will predict that Laurence's life is about to collapse in the most unimaginable way. Love all this author's books and think this is his best yet.
The Shock Of The Fall by Nathan Filer
‘I’ll tell you what happened because it will be a good way to introduce my brother. His name’s Simon. I think you’re going to like him. I really do. But in a couple of pages he’ll be dead. And he was never the same after that.’ This novel is about Matthew and his battle with mental illness.
The Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman
Lighthouse keeper Tom lives with his wife Isabel on the isolated Island called Janus Rock. Isabel is happy with their life apart from one thing; she wants to have a child, and after three miscarriages this isn't looking like it will ever happen. Then one day a boat is washed up and in it a dead man and a small crying baby. They both make a decision that will change their lives, and others', forever.
Revival by Stephen King
In a small New England town, in the early 60s, a shadow falls over a small boy playing with his toy soldiers. Jamie Morton looks up to see the new minister. Charles Jacobs, along with his beautiful wife, will transform the local church. With Jamie, the Reverend shares a deep bond, based on their fascination with simple experiments in electricity. Then tragedy strikes the Jacobs family; the preacher curses God, mocking all religious belief, and is banished from the shocked town. Jamie has demons of his own. In his mid-thirties, he is living a nomadic lifestyle of bar-band rock and roll. Addicted to heroin, stranded, desperate, he sees Jacobs again – a showman on stage, creating dazzling ‘portraits in lightning’ – and their meeting has profound consequences for both men.
The Girl On The Train by Paula Hawkins
The story is told through the voices of three women; Rachel, Anna and Megan. Rachel travels on the train every day, looking out of the window at the house she once shared with her ex husband Tom. He now lives there with second wife Anna and their young daughter, living the life Rachel always wanted, but hers is now a mess. A few doors away lives Megan, who Rachel often sees from the train out on her terrace. Rachel invents a life and name for Megan but when the latter goes missing Rachel becomes heavily involved in trying to find out the truth.
I read a lot of psychological thrillers, it's a genre that I love and The Girl On The Train is one of the best I've read in a while.
The Paying Guests by Sarah Waters
It is 1922, and London is tense. Ex-servicemen are disillusioned; the out-of-work and the hungry are demanding change. And in South London, in a genteel Camberwell villa — a large, silent house now bereft of brothers, husband, and even servants — life is about to be transformed as impoverished widow Mrs. Wray and her spinster daughter, Frances, are obliged to take in lodgers.
With the arrival of Lilian and Leonard Barber, a modern young couple of the “clerk class,” the routines of the house will be shaken up in unexpected ways. Little do the Wrays know just how profoundly their new tenants will alter the course of Frances’s life — or, as passions mount and frustration gathers, how far-reaching, and how devastating, the disturbances will be.
Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel
The Georgia Flu explodes over the surface of the earth like a neutron bomb.News reports put the mortality rate at over 99%.
Civilization has crumbled.
A band of actors and musicians called the Travelling Symphony move through their territories performing concerts and Shakespeare to the settlements that have grown up there. Twenty years after the pandemic, life feels relatively safe.
But now a new danger looms, and he threatens the hopeful world every survivor has tried to rebuild.