Here are my favourite eight books of the second quarter of 2022. You will notice that it doesn’t include any crime dramas, detective novels or serial killer thrillers. While I love those genres, they rarely bring something totally new to the table and my favourites tend to be feel-good, whimsical or magical realism. Or totally original or make me cry. There are a couple of historical fiction in there too.

The Trial of Lotta Rae by Siobhan MacGowan

Working class 15-year-old Lotta Rae, having been brutally attacked and assaulted by a man of high standing, an investor at the company where she works, is persuaded to have him prosecuted for rape. In fact it’s her father, Pap, who reports the crime and so the divide between rich and poor becomes obvious.

Because when Lotta is defended by barrister William Linden, little does she know that those in power will simply throw her to the wolves. ‘Evidence’ comes to light that she is not a virgin, so her accusation of rape is dismissed, because she is obviously ‘a woman of ill-repute’ and her attacker walks free, HIS reputation intact.

For my full review click here

Broken by Anna Legat

I adored this book. I read it in two days – I even woke up in the middle of the night and read a few chapters. I just couldn’t put it down. The old cliche but so true.

It starts off like many other books, following the lives of the two main characters. Camilla, a bored middle aged housewife, is married to stuffy barrister Hugh. Their son, Christopher, has been convicted of fraud and sentenced to a lengthy time in prison. He blames his accomplice, but she can’t defend herself as she took an overdose.

For my full review click here

The Turn Of The Tide (The Sturmtaucher Trilogy #3) by Alan Jones

For me, as a woman, it’s the use of violent sex as torture, more so than the beatings, the starvation and the gas chambers that haunts me (I apologise as I already mentioned this in my review of Flight Of The Shearwater). Rape used as a weapon, often in front of the husband or other family members, the stripping naked and parading in front of the guards and other inmates, all designed to humiliate and take away identity and pride.

As we saw at the end of the previous book, some women preferred to be beaten to death rather than be raped, while others survived by ‘working’ in the camp brothels. How can any of us in our comfy homes in 2022 even begin to imagine which choice we would have made? Would we have chosen an honourable death or have done anything to survive?

For my full review click here

A Tidy Ending by Joanna Cannon

When I was asked to read and review A Tidy Ending, I read the blurb and immediately said yes. It was only when I started reading that I discovered that the author also wrote The Trouble With Goats and Sheep which I read and enjoyed a few years ago. I knew therefore that I would love it. And I did.

Linda is the main character and we are reading in her voice. She is so naive, there are times when I cringed as I dreaded what she was going to do or say next. Still at the beck and call of her mother Eunice (who is one of my favourite characters in the book), Linda’s confidence has been knocked from early childhood, made to believe she is big and clumsy, yet her mother still keeps feeding her cake and puddings.

For my full review click here

The Safe House by Louise Mumford

Following a severe asthma attack that nearly killed her when she was five years old, Esther has been living in a ‘prepper’-style bunker in the middle of nowhere, with her mother Hannah. How they arrived there forms quite a large part of the story, but as it progresses, we realise that Hannah has become obsessive over Esther’s safety to the point where Esther has not left the House for sixteen years. Because ‘What keeps us safe? – the House.’

According to ‘Mother’, Esther’s father was killed in an explosion at the steelworks where he was employed, and Out There ie where the rest of us live, is too dangerous for Esther. Her only friend is a stuffed velvet whale called Mr Wiffles who speaks to Esther, apart from her inhaler of course.

For my full review click here

Only May by Carol Lovekin

Sometimes it takes a while for a story to sink in and it’s only afterwards that you realise you have read something really special. This is such a book.

“When my bees swarm….I tell myself it is the death of a lie. I keep still, let the vibrations surround me….Come with us. And, as I am pulled into the hive mind, the bees lay a sleep spell on me. Their best remedy.”

It’s the 1950s. Just-turned-seventeen-year-old May lives with her mother Esme, her father Billy, seriously wounded and shell-shocked from his experiences in the second world war, and Esme’s sister Ffion. Esme, Billy and May live in the main family house, while somewhat-Bohemian Ffion lives in a caravan in the garden. May and Esme both work at the Drovers Hotel, owned by the indomitable and slightly scary Constance Cadwallader and her live-in lover Amelie Griffin.

For my full review click here

Angel Town by Fiona Cane

There’s nothing I like better than a story about a religious cult and they don’t come much better than Angel Town. I read this in two sittings, it was that exciting, I just had to keep reading.

Activist Donna lives in Brighton, having brought up her three children on her own after her husband Rupert just upped and disappeared when the youngest, Jos, was only six months old. She never heard from him again. Sixteen years later, Jos has left home and moved into a squat, his behaviour having become more and more irrational. Then one day he vanishes and all she has to go on is that he left with someone called Naomi, and that he found a picture of his father.

For my full review click here

Nothing else by Louise Beech

I cried. I admit it. In fact I probably cried for most of the last third of the book. But don’t be put off by silly old me. This book is wonderful, tender, beautiful and uplifting but it’s also very sad. It broke my heart at times.

Louise Beech is one of my favourite authors and this book is one of my favourite reads of the second half of 2022. It pulls at the heart strings as well as the piano strings – see what I did there – the characters are so well drawn. I loved Heather, but I probably loved her little sister Harriet even more if that’s possible.

As children the two sisters were inseparable, playing the piano to drown out the violence in their home. Heather was trying to protect Harriet from hearing what was going on – their father hitting their mother. That two such young children should have to witness such horror is unimaginable. It really did break my heart.

For my full review click here

PS I was recently asked to join the blog tour for Lost Property by Helen Paris and I would love to include it in this list. However it was already on the list of my favourite eight books of the first quarter of 2021 so it wouldn’t really be fair to include it again. Otherwise I would have. It’s a book that will stay with me always.

2 Comments on “My Top 8 Books of 2022 – Part Two

  1. Reblogged this on and commented:
    A fantastic endorsement of “Broken”, plus recommendations of a few great-sounding books from other authors!

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