So for me, 2015 was a bit of a tricky year. Between one thing and another my reading time was much reduced, which was a real shame. In 2015 I read just about half the number of books that I read the year before! However, that's not to say that I didn't manage to read some really excellent books. This is my pick of the year's reads:
Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen - This was the first time I'd read this book in over 20 years. On first read I wasn't that taken with it because I didn't really connect with Catherine and I felt Henry was laughing at her rather than with her. However on my re-read I was taken with Catherine's sweet naivety and couldn't blame Mr Tilney for having a bit of fun at her expense. This book is also very funny, and has some wonderful lines. Henry gets most of them. I'd highly recommend this book, it was easily a five star read.
Henry Tilney's Diary', part of her series which tells Austen's main novels from the point of view of the hero. So this is Northanger Abbey as it could have seemed from Henry's perspective, with some added back-story regarding his family. I really enjoyed this book, as I felt that the author captured Henry's voice really well and enjoyed the additional views of Henry with his siblings that this book provides. This was another 5 star read for me.
The Muse' is a modern update of Pride and Prejudice with a ballet backdrop. This was a fantastic read. Here Darcy is an arrogant choreographer and Lizzy Bennet the corps de ballet dancer who becomes his muse. The structured society of the ballet company was a good replacement for the structured society in the 1800s, and I loved how Darcy's arrogance wasn't reduced one iota, as often happens in modern updates, yet he still remained a character you were rooting for. This book was utterly gripping, and a worthy five star read.
Longbourn's Songbird', which is more 'Pride & Prejudice'-inspired rather than an update. This is set in post-WWII USA and explores some interesting themes. I thought this was a very thought-provoking and romantic five star read, and I read it in one sitting.
Sanditon', completed by Marie Dobbs 40 years ago. I had seen a recommendation saying that you couldn't see the join, and to be fair I couldn't, though I understand that the join was blended rather than picked up directly from Austen's words. Although as the story went on I felt it diverged from where Austen would have taken it and became more 'Heyer-esque' than Austenesque, this story was wonderfully entertaining and I'd definitely recommend it. Another five star read.
Demelza', by Winston Graham is the second book in the Poldark series and for me, the story really took off in this book. Demelza is having to transition to her new role in life and learn to gain confidence in herself rather than just her position in society. This book has a real range of emotions, happiness, tragedy, comedy, it's all there, and there is a feeling there will be more drama in the story to come. As an aside, I still haven't got round to watching the Poldark mini-series, which was aired early in 2015 here in the UK!
Have you read any of my favourite reads for this year? I'd love to know what you thought of them!