Favorite books read in 2018

I read 54 novels in 2018, five of them re-reads (which I count because my memory is terrible and subsequent readings still manage to surprise and delight). Last year I was determined to raise my overall count and I managed to do that by 6 books!

Here are my favorites (excluding re-reads). Blurbs are excerpted from Goodreads, as are most of my quick takes.


To the Bright Edge of the World, by Eowyn Ivey. Blurb: Eowyn Ivey’s second novel is a breathtaking story of discovery and adventure, set at the end of the nineteenth century, and of a marriage tested by a closely held secret. My take: I enjoyed Ivey’s debut, The Snow Child, but this epistolary tale captivated me even more. The characters were so vividly realized, and the epic scope of Allen’s adventure is beautifully balanced by Sophie’s artistic journey. In a starred review, Kirkus praises it as “an exceptionally well-turned adventure tale…Heartfelt, rip-snorting storytelling,” and I agree.

A Month in the Country, by J.L. Carr. Blurb: Tom Birkin, a veteran of the Great War and a broken marriage, arrives in the remote Yorkshire village of Oxgodby where he is to restore a recently discovered medieval mural in the local church. My take: This seemed a perfect read for Thanksgiving week — such a lovely story of healing through art and friendship. (The 1987 film adaptation, starring Colin Firth and Kenneth Branagh, is quite good, as well.)

YA/MG Fiction

A Sky Painted Gold, by Laura Wood. Blurb: Growing up in her sleepy Cornish village dreaming of being a writer, seventeen-year-old Lou has always wondered about the grand Cardew house which has stood empty for years. And when the owners arrive for the summer – a handsome, dashing brother and sister – Lou is quite swept off her feet. My take: A very appealing Young Adult story set in 1929 Cornwall and reminiscent of I CAPTURE THE CASTLE.

Elizabeth & Zenobia, by Jessica Miller. Blurb: When Elizabeth and her unusual and fearless friend Zenobia arrive at Witheringe House, peculiar things begin to happen. Especially in the forbidden East Wing. My take: A deliciously Gothic story with a conclusion that defied my expectations. Looking forward to more from this author.


Take Courage, by Samantha Ellis. Blurb: [a] personal, poignant and surprising journey into the life and work of a woman sidelined by history. My take: A pure delight! This is NOT a straightforward/scholarly/detached biography of Anne Bronte by any means–more a personal account of Ellis’ interactions with the novels and subsequent revelations about Anne’s life, talent, and vision.

Manderley Forever, by Tatiana de Rosnay. Blurb: a vividly compelling portrait and celebration of an intriguing, hugely popular and (at the time) critically underrated writer. My take: This is such an unconventional biography, and yet so compelling. What kept me glued to the page was the way de Rosnay portrayed Daphne’s passion for history, her obsession with place, and her fascination with dark secrets and twisted psychology.

I offer these “Best of 2018” links for your perusal:

Top Ten Books of 2018 from The Captive Reader.
A Box of Books for 2018 from Beyond Eden Rock.
My Favorite Books of 2018 from Modern Mrs. Darcy.
My Favourite Books of 2018 from Michelle Cooper

What were your favorite reads from 2018? I’d love to read (and share) your list!

4 thoughts on “Favorite books read in 2018

  1. Michelle Lunsford

    Looking over my 2018 reading list, it’s difficult to narrow down to favorites. But here are a few that I think deserve recognition…

    Favorite non-fiction – Loving My Actual Christmas: An Experiment in Relishing the Season by Alexandra Kuykendall. Not that this offered any earth-shattering revelations, but I enjoyed the practicality of it and the reminder that much of how we experience the Christmas season comes down to expectation (our own and others) and intentionality. This is one of those that I feel I’ll review from year to year.

    Favorite fiction – When You Look at Me by Pepper D. Basham and The Lost Castle by Kristy Cambron. It’s pretty much a guarantee I’ll enjoy any book by Basham I read. She’s simply one of those authors with whom I click; her writing style and voice connect with me and touch all those extremely happy reader nooks of my heart. When You Look at Me is an excellent story about learning to have courage and dare to love.
    I enjoyed the connection of different time periods and family that are part of The Lost Castle. Also, I listened to the audio version of this and the narrator did an excellent job of bringing it to life.

    Most enjoyable surprise – Full Circle by Davis Bunn. An audio book that I picked up on sale. Had never read the author, but was curious to read a male author’s take on romance and redemption. It was one of those I had no idea if I’d like it or not, but I enjoyed it a lot.

    Favorite stepping-out-of-my-usual-genre-comfort-zone – The House on Foster Hill and The Reckoning at Gossamer Pond, both by Jamie Jo Wright. Stories that involve suspense are not my go-to for an enjoyable read, but I’d seen many positive reviews of The House on Foster Hill so I opted to give it a go. While these stories might be tame to some, they kept me on the edge of my seat in a very satisfying “ooooh, I want to see what happens next” sort of way and not the “eep, am I going to have the beegeebies scared out of me” sort of way.

    Favorite make me laugh AND have warm fuzzies read – The Secret Life of Sarah Hollenbeck by Bethany Turner. This book is simply a score on so many levels for me. Really. Just read it. 🙂

  2. SoniaG Post author

    Oh what a lovely review of your 2018 reading! So many intriguing books for me to explore–I so appreciate you sharing all the details, Michelle. 😀

  3. Dee Dee Chumley

    I have a pretty eclectic list! Some are recent; others have been out for a while. But I loved every one of them.
    Here they are in no particular order:
    The Keeper Of Lost Things
    The Secret Chord
    Boom Town
    I Capture the Castle (I finally got around to reading it and loved it! And, yes, when I was reading your blurb about A Sky Painted Gold, I also thought it sounded a lot like …Castle.)
    Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine—my hands down favorite for the year!
    I’m linking to a review I did to show what a fan I am of it. Excited to know the movie rights have been purchased by Reese Witherspoon.
    Here’s to a whole new year of happy reading!

    1. SoniaG Post author

      Thanks so much for the list, Dee Dee. I will follow up on your books and, as you already know, I have the Eleanor Oliphant audio ready to go for my next long drive. Yay!


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