) I actually love the New Year itself, as it’s such a time for reflection and hope for the future.
I found 2020 a mixed bag because on the one hand it was very trying; the stress, the worry about one of us potentially catching Covid and becoming really ill, the home-schooling, the isolation, the worry about the potential effect on my kids’ mental health from being away from school for months, all took a burden on my mental energy. Like many people, I spent the majority of the year feeling like a wrung out dishcloth! I also found working at home while the kids were homeworking really difficult, so hard to concentrate! This meant by the end of the day I was pretty much only good for zombie time in front of the television.
On the other hand, I don’t think I have ever had a year when I have spent so much time feeling grateful for what I have – mine and my family’s continued good health, our lovely home, the fact that I have a job which continued to employ me right through the pandemic and allowed me to stay at home, meaning that I didn’t have to send my children to the hub schools for keyworkers. I was so grateful for the company of my family too, that I wasn’t living alone. Although I became sick and tired of walking in my local area, I also appreciated that we have green space close to where we live to walk around. So, although I found 2020 taxing I also found it a very rewarding year in some ways.
However, one way in which 2020 was entirely dreadful was the effect on my reading. If I am stressed I find it difficult to immerse myself in the written word. My audio reading time was cut overnight to pretty much zero as I used to listen on my commute and during solo lunchtime walks in my work lunch hour, and I lost both of those times. I didn’t get anywhere near my modest reading target for 2020. This is something that I need to rectify in 2021, I want to read more this year.
Although I didn’t get anywhere near as much reading done as I wanted, in terms of quality of reading, I was lucky, because the books I did get to read were good ones! So here’s my pick of the year:
First up was Thaw by Anniina Sjöblom. This is a forced marriage scenario which diverges early on from Pride & Prejudice. Here, Elizabeth marries Mr Darcy after a compromise, which was entirely innocent. It’s told in the form of letters from the new Mrs Darcy to various people, and we see her icy relationship with her husband begin to ‘thaw’. I thought this was a wonderfully charming story, and you can read my 5 star review of it here.
my full review of the second edition of1932 here.
by Gill Hornby is a story about Jane Austen’s elder sister Cassandra. This lady, as you may know, undertook an editing of the documents left after Austen’s death. In this story we see Cassandra visiting a family connection in order to try and get hold of letters that Jane would have sent some 20 years ago before they are re-discovered. While finding the letters Cassandra looks back at the events laid out in the letters. I absolutely loved this story, and heartily recommend it as a 5 star read. You can read my review of Miss Austen here.
5 star review of the first part of Sanctuary here. I read all three books but haven’t posted reviews of part 2 and 3 yet.
review of the story here.
my 4½ star review of the anthology here.
read my 4½ star review here.
read my review here.
read my 4½ star review of it here. If you choose to read it and like the audio format, please note that the audio of this book is narrated by Richard Armitage!
you can read my review here.
So, this is my pick of 2020! I recommend each and every one of these books to you if you haven’t had the pleasure of reading them already.
How was your 2020? Please let me know in the comments! If you’d like to recommend one of your 2020 reads to please do! I have a rough idea of some of the books I’d like to read in 2021, but I am always open to suggestions!
Note about comments: If you have any problems adding your comment please contact me and I will add your comment for you :)
Also, if you're on Goodreads and you'd like to join an Austenesque readers' group, Sophia Rose has set up a group for 2021, the Austen Lovers TBR Challenge 2021. It's a lovely, welcoming group, but you will find your to be read list growing rather than shrinking!
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