Best Books of the Year
Reflecting on 2022 reads
It was a banner year for books, and I read as many as I could. For this piece, I narrowed down my favorites across three categories. These novels resonated the most with me and have stayed with me long after I finished them.
Any Other Family by Eleanor Brown – This book is a beautiful reflection on “found” family. Three sets of parents are tied together through the biological siblings that they adopt. In an effort to ensure that the siblings remain close, the parents create their own “family” for these kids, sharing Sunday dinners and celebrating holidays together.
Carrie Soto is Back by Taylor Jenkins Reid – Carrie Soto is one of those characters that takes a little while to warm up to, but once I did, I was rooting for her 100 percent. She is on a mission to remain the best tennis player in the world and won’t let anything get in her way. However, over time she begins to realize what her single-minded focus has cost her.
How Not to Drown in a Glass of Water by Angie Cruz – Written in a unique format across 12 job-counseling sessions, this book is a quick but very compelling read. It is the just the right combination of humor, family drama, and a strong setting.
Iona Iverson’s Rules for Commuting by Clare Pooley – When an incident on the London train makes Iona realize that she wants to learn more about her fellow riders, she begins to develop relationships with them as she commutes, inserting herself into their issues and helping solve their problems. Infused with heart and humor, this book demonstrates the importance of community and the ability of relationships to change people's lives.
The Unsinkable Greta James by Jennifer E Smith – Following a public breakdown brought on by the sudden death of her mother, indie musician Greta James agrees to accompany her father on a cruise to Alaska. This stellar novel is a story about repairing relationships, finding your joy, and living life to the fullest.
I Must Betray You by Ruta Sepetys – This historical thriller is set during Romania’s 1989 revolution and the ousting of its charismatic but brutal leader, Nicolae Ceausescu. Sepetys vividly depicts life there during this time period, a period many will be unfamiliar with, and how one man managed to fool the world for far too long.
Love & Saffron by Kim Fay – Written in epistolary format and set in the 1960s, this stunning book tracks the friendship between two women, Imogen and Joan, as they get to know each other through letters.
The Matchmaker’s Gift by Lynda Cohen Loigman – Sara Glikman, a Jewish matchmaker ahead of her time in the early 20th century, begins matchmaking when she is 10. When she dies, she leaves her journals to her granddaughter Abby, a lonely divorce attorney who reads the journals and realizes she needs to make some changes. I highly recommend this delightful, feel-good book.
The Storyteller’s Death by Ann Dávila Cardinal – Set in Puerto Rico, this book follows Isla Larsen Sanchez as she comes to terms with a strange family gift she inherits after her grandmother, a great storyteller, dies. The novel is unique, lyrically written, and hard to put down.
The White Girl by Tony Birch – The White Girl is set in the 1960s fictional Australian town of Deane and focuses on Odette Brown and her fair-skinned granddaughter Sissy. Birch vividly describes what it was like to live as an Aboriginal person then and the countless hardships they endured while also weaving in a tale of family and the lengths people will go to in order to protect each other.
All Good People Here by Ashley Flowers and Alex Kiester – A journalist returns home to Indiana and becomes focused on an unsolved murder from her childhood following the present-day disappearance of another young girl. The more she digs, the more she realizes that something is amiss. The chapters are short, and the story is fast-paced and incredibly engaging.
Killers of a Certain Age by Deanna Raybourn – Four women who have been employed by the Museum, an elite network of assassins, for many decades find themselves being targeted by someone within their company due to the work they have done for the organization over the years. The book effectively combines humor, reflections on what it means to age, and a clever mystery.
The Local by Joey Hartstone – The Local follows attorney James Euchre who serves as local counsel to the patent attorneys who file hundreds of cases a year in Marshall, Texas. When Amir Zawar, one of his patent clients, ends up charged with the murder of the local judge, the client demands that Euchre defend him. This unique and fast-paced legal thriller kept me on the edge of my seat.
Woman on Fire by Lisa Barr – After reporter Jules Roth talks her way into a job with Chicago’s preeminent investigative reporter, he assigns her to a top-secret story, locating “Woman on Fire,” a very valuable painting stolen by the Nazis during World War II. The novel contains fabulous twists and turns combined with a stellar plot and an intriguing cast of characters.
Wrong Place Wrong Time by Gillian McAllister – As the book opens, Jen witnesses her 18-year-old son Todd murdering a complete stranger in the middle of the night right in front of their house. The following morning, Jen wakes up and finds herself not on the morning after the crime, but the morning before it happened. Wrong Place Wrong Time is an intelligent and compulsive read that kept me turning the pages through all sorts of twists and turns.
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