This was quite a year for historical fiction reading! Almost any of the books listed here could have been my favorite of the year. There are the mega-hits like Where the Crawdads Sing, a few of my “must-read” authors such as Meg Waite Clayton, Adriana Trigiani, Tracy Chevalier, and writing duo Hazel Gaynor and Heather Webb, too. Most of all there were such compelling stories! A wonderful love story set in another time and place, a tale of women during a revolution written by a group of women, and a back story piece on the wedding of one of the world’s most admired women! Wow! How do I pick a “favorite” out of this bunch!!! Can’t I offer a 12-way tie?
Click on the linked titles below to go to my reviews.
- Tony’s Wife
- Meet me in Monaco
- The Stationery Shop
- The Last Train To London
- Where the Crawdads Sing
- When We Left Cuba
- The Gown
- A Single Thread
- The Editor
- Quintland Sisters
- Ribbons of Scarlet
There were so many GREAT historical fiction books this year. Wow. Here are the runners up.
Jennifer Robson and the writing duo Hazel Gaynor and Heather Webb have crafted marvelous tales surround two royal weddings. Marjan Kamali has outdone even her excellent Together Tea, which I have been recommending almost from the day it came out. And Meg Waite Clayton has more than “done it again,” giving us characters to break our hearts in the sweetest way. It was so hard to choose just one book, but I knew I’d never forgive myself if I didn’t pick the one I picked. I hope all of these will stand the test of time, to be read after I’m long dead, but the one I was sure of is my favorite.
My Favorite Historical Fiction Book of 2019
Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens. What an amazing story! So magnificently told. This is truly one for the ages. I loved, loved, loved it. 4.0 is a HUGE score for me. This one got 4.75. I could have recorded half the prose as quotes in my Commonplace Book–the prose is that beautiful. I loved every single word. This book surpassed it’s hype. Just read it.
This book, and another of my favorites, were both featured in Reece Witherspoon’s Book Club. I check out all kinds of book club lists when I need suggestions of what to read. I track them, as well, keeping list of what I’ve read from major clubs on Goodreads.com
Here are my candidates in for favorite/best contemporary fiction read in 2019-drawn from all such books I READ this year, regardless of publication date. There are books, such as Daisy Jones & the Six that could be “historical fiction,” but feel too contemporary for that–in large part due to my own age. Then too there are books, like the Poet X, that some would call YA. I’ve started to despise that label because it seems like a “grade level” ranking to me. A sweet romance told through letters written by an older debut author–swoon! Last, there are books in translation that could be in a class of their own. How do I pick one favorite?
I liked six of these books so well–though ANY of them really could be called my favorite–that I’ll list them below. I nearly had to draw a title out of a hat to get a winner. (You can click on the linked titles below (and at the bottom of this post) to read my reviews.
- Poet X
- Daisy Jones and the Six
- Convenience Store Woman
- Meet Me at the Museum
- Red, White, and Royal Blue
- Traveling Cat Chronicles
My Favorite General/Contemporary Fiction Choice of 2019
This book, created like a documentary film, was so compelling, so believable, that I had to constantly remind myself that this was fiction! That to me is fabulous storytelling. Whether you agree with calling it contemporary fiction or think it should be historical fiction due to the era of its setting really doesn’t matter. “Fiction” is a category. I listened to the audiobook and loved every second of it. The audio of Lincoln in the Bardo was praised for being so “innovative” using a full cast of voices–this book’s audio version did it way better! I really want this to become a movie–done as a “mockumentary” but serious–a fictional documentary if you prefer. Those of us who remember Fleetwood Mac before they were synonymous with the Clinton campaign song, who remember the Eagles, ABBA, and others love this book. I expect to hear someone has created an album for this book–that’s how real it is.
Taylor Jenkins Reid is a new-to-me author–her previously best-known book is the Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo–and while it looks like her backlist could be lighter fare than Daisy Jones or Evelyn Hugo, I hope to read all of her books. She has become a must-read for me with this one, single, fabulous book.
Daisy Jones and the Six: A Novel by Taylor Jenkins Reid
Links to my reviews of the other books in this post:
- A Woman is No Man
- With the Fire on High
- Book of Unknown Americans
- The Flatshare
- The Library of Lost and Found
Unlike all other book bloggers, I simply cannot come up with ONE favorite book this year. There were many good ones–both that came out this year and that I happened to read this year. For the next few days, I’ll be posting my favorites in the nonfiction, general/contemporary fiction, and historical fiction categories. All links lead to my reviews.
- Rocket Girl
- Save Me The Plums
- An American Summer
- Hitler and the Hapsburgs
- Journey Interrupted
- American Prison
- Assassination of the Archduke
- Berlin 1936
- Twelve Patients
- Sting-Ray Afternoons
The Best Nonfiction Book Read in 2019
Sometimes you really do save the best for last. The best nonfiction book I read in 2019–my favorite, was The Yellow House by Sarah M. Broom
Even though it had faults, I cannot recommend this book enough. Enjoy! Click on the linked title above the cover photo to read my review.