A brief review of each of my top books of 2018 so far. To put this into perspective I have read 14 of my goal of 25 on Goodreads, so I’m making good progress.
Jane Seymour: The Haunted Queen by Alison Weir
This is the most recent in a series by Alison Weir, each from the perspective of one of Henry VIII’s wives. I think that Jane Seymour is the Tudor Queen that I have known the least about thus far, and this the novel that I have most enjoyed. It takes us through her life from the age of 10, when she wants to be a nun, to her experience of the intrigue and danger of Tudor court as a lady in waiting to Katherine of Aragon and Anne Boleyn, to her eventual marriage and death. Weir treads the fine line between making Jane a ‘wet fish’ as history often does, and making her complicit in the dangerous plots and events that made her Queen. She makes Jane a real human being, with attributes and flaws and one whom I had a lot of sympathy for.
One thing that I really like about this series is that because Weir is a historian, she weaves her fiction around the actual facts, that we can verify, so for someone like me who is interested in the real-life historical facts, these novels are a great way to learn. This book in particular has inspired me to perhaps learn more about Jane Seymour.
In Conclusion, Don’t Worry About It by Lauren Graham
I have a great deal of respect for Lauren Graham, the actress turned writer who got me through my GCSE revision in Gilmore Girls (RIP E4 circa 2011). Her books thus far have been SO relatable (one is an autobiography about struggling as an actress and the other is a novel about a struggling actress. Sense a theme?). This short book is based on a speech that she gave to the seniors at her old high school, that basically every young person should read as they enter the ‘real world’; an encouraging, inspirational read that made me shed a good kind of tear.
Persuasion by Jane Austen
I have finally finished Jane Austen’s six novels, the first of which I started at age 17, and at 23 I think that I enjoyed Persuasion most of all. With more knowledge of Jane and her work (I’ve read a few books about her recently too), I found the humour in this novel much easier to grasp than say, Sense and Sensibility, which I now want to go back and re-read along with the others. I found Anne Elliot to be a really relatable character, though I think that all Austen fans see themselves in her heroines, but whilst I rooted for her and Frederick, I also saw the ridiculousness of the situation, and found the lovers separation super frustrating (as I think Austen intended).
Outlander: Drums of Autumn by Diana Gabaldon (book 4).
The Outlander series ticks so many boxes for me; historical fiction with a strong female lead, that also has a fantasy element that makes it essentially perfect escapism. As I go through the series, I’m flitting between reading the books on my kindle, and listening to the audio books (which narrator Davina Porter has won awards for). I seem to reach for the next book in this series whenever I am feeling down, or stressed, or out- of- sorts, because they transport you to another place and time and immerse you in that world. I’m really enjoying being ahead of the TV series now, also, and knowing what is going to happen doesn’t at all alter my enjoyment of the show. I’m currently listening to Book 5, but I’m trying to spread them out so that I have more to look forward to for longer!
As always, my TBR is absolutely out of control, so I’m sure that this list will expand over the second half of 2018.
What are your top books of the year so far?!
*Disclaimer* I am a Book Depository Affiliate, meaning that if you order any of these books through the links I have provided, I will receive a small commission. This does not alter the price for you.