I only gave three books 5 stars this year. But, happily, I gave seven books 4.5 stars which means I can do a top 10!
I read and reviewed 117 this year. Only three of them got 5 stars. I think I may be getting pickier with my 5 stars as I get older!
There were also seven books which came very close to those elusive 5 stars, so I’ve included them here too.
Click on the book title for my full review. Click on the book cover to go to Goodreads.
Here we go!
Yes, dear reader, all the stars. 5 stars.
The blurb: Like the heroine of the novel she adores, Jane Steele suffers cruelly at the hands of her aunt and schoolmaster. And like Jane Eyre, they call her wicked – but in her case, she fears the accusation is true. When she flees, she leaves behind the corpses of her tormentors.
A fugitive navigating London’s underbelly, Jane rights wrongs on behalf of the have-nots whilst avoiding the noose. Until an advertisement catches her eye. Her aunt has died and the new master at Highgate House, Mr Thornfield, seeks a governess. Anxious to know if she is Highgate’s true heir, Jane takes the position and is soon caught up in the household’s strange spell. When she falls in love with the mysterious Charles Thornfield, she faces a terrible dilemma: can she possess him – body, soul and secrets – and what if he discovers her murderous past?
Back when I was at uni, my fellow English students tended to fall into three camps: those who preferred poetry, those who preferred plays, and those who only got excited once Defoe had the good grace to write the first thing widely recognised as a novel in English. I fell, and still fall, into the last of those camps. And, if I then had to pick my favourite period for the novel, it would be the Victorian era.
Jane Eyre (1847) is one of my favourite books, but several times I’ve wished Jane could show just a little more spine and a little more sense. Jane Steele fulfils those wishes and then some in an involving tale which is part romance, part mystery and part thriller.