It’s been a fantastic start to the reading year, with so many great books and a lot of time on my hands to read them. January is one of those months where I tend to hibernate anyway, but this year even more so. I can’t go anywhere, because I don’t want to risk catching COVID on top of my MS. So it’s been a cosy month where, aside from walking the dog, I’m mainly indoors with a blanket, slowly becoming a human cat bed. So I’m passing the time by reading some great books and telling people all about them. For my best reads this month I couldn’t single out one book. I loved these three so much!
The Lamplighters by Emma Stonex – was my first read of the year and was an ARC courtesy of NetGalley. Inspired by true events, and set in Cornwall, 1972. This is a story of three lighthouse keepers who go missing while on duty in a lighthouse miles from shore and only accessible by the boat that brings supplies and the next shift. The lighthouse is locked from the inside, all the clocks have stopped and the principle keeper has recorded a huge storm in the log, when the skies have been clear all week. The story is stirred up again years later, by a writer who wants to solve the mystery. He visits the lighthouse keeper’s women – Helen, Jenny and Michelle – stirring up memories, secrets and emotions. The story itself will keep you hooked, but the author also explores ideas about truth and fiction, and who gets to write history. I was also fascinated by the authors take on effects of trauma – how far they radiate out like ripples on a pond, but also how deep they go through several generations. Quite simply, this is a stunning read. This is available for pre-order. Out on 4th March 2021 from Picador.
The Shape of Darkness by Laura Purcell – I’m a big fan of Laura Purcell and I was lucky enough to be on the Random Things blog tour for her latest book this month. Our heroine is Agnes Darken, a silhouette cutter who lives with her mother and her nephew Cedric. The mystery begins as one of Agnes’s sitters is found beaten to death, she was the last appointment in his diary. When another sitter turns up in the river, Agnes needs answers and turns to a spirit medium called The White Sylph who lodges in Bath with her sister and father. Her hope is that the murder victims will materialise and tell them who their murderer is. Instead they unleash something they never imagined. As usual, Purcell creates a dark and disturbing atmosphere, with just a sprinkling of the supernatural. As the bodies start to rack up, the tension starts building and it kept me guessing all the way to the last page. Out Now. Published by Raven Books.
Finally, I loved this beautiful novel kindly sent from Sandstone Press via NetGalley. Ruth Thomas has created a heroine to fall in love with. Sybil is a museum assistant at RIPS, where prehistoric exhibits and research have their home. Life is good for Sybil until her old university lecturer comes back into her life, thanks to an unfortunate skating accident where Sybil gets a bump on the head. Sybil has a long held resentment of Helene Hanson because she took part of Sybil’s dissertation and used it as her own theory. Now Helene seems determined to muscle in on Sybil’s life, at work and at home. She starts by stealing Sybil’s boyfriend Simon. Then attaches herself to the museum as a trustee, and starts making changes. Sybil starts to feel strange and not really in control of her life anymore, she takes risks, procrastinates and starts collecting lost things to inspire haikus for her poetry class. She also wants revenge. This is a book of quiet beauty, with a mix of haiku and stream of consciousness. You will fall in love with Sybil. I was rooting for her journey, through this tough time in her life and loved the unexpected ending. Published in paperback on 7th January 2021 by Sandstone Press.
So they’re my favourites for January and I hope you find something for your TBR or wish list. Below is everything else I read in January.
My current read is The Last Snow by Stina Jackson: Published by Corvus 4th February 2021