A Year of Reading 2018

I read 33 books this year not as many as previous years – although I feel as if some are missing! I’m delighted to share them with you. Below is the rating scheme I developed in 2014 – the first year I posted a list. Part way through 2018, I took a break from historical fiction 🙂

LR = light, enjoyable read; GR = good, several caveats; ER = excellent, few caveats; OR = outstanding; DNF = did not finish; NMT = not my type.

Title Author Comment
Jan My Dear Hamilton (brief review) Stephanie Dray and Laura Kamoie OR Fascinating portrayals of the men and women who played pivotal roles during the revolution and the founding of America.
Born a Crime (book club) Trevor Noah ER Humour – pain – emotion – and unique stories of growing up bi-racial in South Africa make this an outstanding read.
The Tuscan Child Rhys Bowen NMT There was so much the author could have done with this story.
Small Great Things (book club) Jodi Picoult ER This was a can’t-turn-the-pages-fast-enough book for me.
Only Time Will Tell Jeffrey Archer ER The first of Jeffrey Archer’s Clifton Chronicles and I’m sure to read more.
Feb Mary – Tudor Princess (review) Tony Riches ER Full of excellent period detail, this novel will transport you to 16th century England and France with intrigues, wars and upheavals.
The Woman in the Window A.J. Finn OR My husband read this and said I HAD to read it. And he was right.
Trumpocracy David Frum ER An alarming, clear-eyed, and well-articulated view of what’s going on in the US.
Mar March Geraldine Brooks GR Not as compelling as her other novels.
Full Disclosure Beverley McLachlin GR Debut novel from Canada’s former chief justice.
Apr Citizens of London Lynne Olson OR A fascinating look at US involvement in WWII; superb non-fiction
All is not Forgotten Wendy Walker ER Suspense, family drama, unexpected plot twists and a unique storyline.
The Wife (musing on titles) Alastair Burke GR The pacing and cliff-hanging chapter endings are well done and the twist at the end is quite the surprise.
May Off Season Anne Rivers Siddons GR At times disjointed and with too many digressions.
The Litigators John Grisham GR Novel doesn’t get going for a long time.
The Fire By Night Teresa Messineo DNF Full of inner monologue and backstory and lengthy descriptions.
Dreams of Falling Karen White ER A plot that slowly simmers its way to a surprising and satisfying ending
Jun Simple Truth (guest post by the author) Carol Bodensteiner ER Great dialogue, pacing, and engaging characters.
News of the World Paulette Jiles GR Took a while for me to ‘get into it’

Quite a mix of genres, time periods and impressions. I’ll post the rest on Thursday.

FOR MORE ON READING & WRITING HISTORICAL FICTION FOLLOW A WRITER OF HISTORY (using the widget on the left sidebar)

M.K. Tod writes historical fiction. Her latest novel, TIME AND REGRET was published by Lake Union. Mary’s other novels, LIES TOLD IN SILENCE and UNRAVELLED are available from Amazon, Nook, Kobo, Google Play and iTunes. She can be contacted on Facebook, Twitter and Goodreads or on her website www.mktod.com.

Why Do Titles Feature Someone’s Wife?

I just read a novel called The Wife by Alafair Burke and when recording its completion on Goodreads, I was startled to discover how many books have ‘WIFE’ in the title. Is this a good thing or a bad thing? The question is germane, since my work in progress is tentatively called The Admiral’s Wife.

I was actually quite pleased when I came up with this title. It has a ring to it, I thought. Evocative of a certain sort of woman, possibly conjuring in the mind of readers a bit of scandal as well as something historical. But perhaps the word ‘wife’ also connotes possession, anonymity, and a person of lesser consequence than her husband. As if a woman is only of significance in relation to the man who has married her.

This was true, of course, in days gone by when women were considered chattels or property, creatures to be traded away for some sort of gain regardless of class. Let’s have a look at a few of them:

The Paris Wife by Paula McLain – a story about Hadley Richardson who marries Ernest Hemingway. There was no doubt about who had the upper hand in that relationship. (Read this one.)

The Silent Wife by A.S.A Harrison – A chilling psychological thriller about a marriage, a way of life, and how far one woman will go to keep what is rightfully hers. This one sounds as if the wife is in charge.

The Zookeeper’s Wife by Diane Ackerman – set in WWII Poland, the wife in this story helps her husband keep Jews alive by hiding them in various cages of the zoo and keeps alive an atmosphere of play and innocence even as Europe crumbled around her.

The Aviator’s Wife by Melanie Benjamin – the story of Anne Morrow Lindbergh and her marriage to famed aviator Charles Lindbergh. Anne was initially defined by her husband but ultimately developed her own strength and fame. (READ)

The Pilot’s Wife by Anita Shreve – a woman receives word that a plane flown by her husband has exploded and afterwards confronts the secret life he led as she sets out to learn who her husband really was. (READ)

The Nineteenth Wife by David Ebershoff – the title is a clear indication of how wives are treated in this story about Brigham Young, prophet and leader of the Mormon Church.

There’s The Lost Wife by Alyson Richman (READ), The Secret Wife by Gill Paul, The Soldier’s Wife by Margaret Leroy, The Starter Wife by Gigi Levangie Grazer, The Silent Wife, The Pocket Wife, The Crane Wife, The Doctor’s Wife, The Senator’s Wife, The Headmaster’s Wife … phew, the list on Goodreads continues for several pages.

Hmmm – just wondering whether I’ve inadvertently stumbled on a cliche for my title. What does this kind of title suggest to you?

FOR MORE ON READING & WRITING HISTORICAL FICTION follow A WRITER OF HISTORY (using the widget on the left sidebar)

M.K. Tod writes historical fiction. Her latest novel, TIME AND REGRET was published by Lake Union. Mary’s other novels, LIES TOLD IN SILENCE and UNRAVELLED are available from Amazon, Nook, Kobo, Google Play and iTunes. She can be contacted on Facebook, Twitter and Goodreads or on her website www.mktod.com.