Top 10 of 2020

HOLY SMOKES! What a great year for books I’ve had! This is, hands’ down, the best reading year I have ever had. Ever. I know I say that every year, but there are eight, count ’em, EIGHT five-star books on this list. YOWZAH!

In all seriousness, I’m so excited to share this list with you all.

1. The Mirror & the Light

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is 45992717.jpg

Utterly brilliant historical fiction. Captivating and compelling.

Continue reading “Top 10 of 2020”

Review: The Mirror & the Light

The Mirror & the Light by Hilary Mantel

Series: Thomas Cromwell Trilogy
Genre: Historical Fiction
Maturity Level: 5 (Content warnings: torture, burning)

View on Goodreads
Rating: ⋆⋆⋆⋆⋆

England, May 1536. Anne Boleyn is dead, decapitated in the space of a heartbeat by a hired French executioner. As her remains are bundled into oblivion, Thomas Cromwell breakfasts with the victors. The blacksmith’s son from Putney emerges from the spring’s bloodbath to continue his climb to power and wealth, while his formidable master, Henry VIII, settles to short-lived happiness with his third queen before Jane dies giving birth to the male heir he most craves.

Cromwell is a man with only his wits to rely on; he has no great family to back him, no private army. Despite rebellion at home, traitors plotting abroad and the threat of invasion testing Henry’s regime to the breaking point, Cromwell’s robust imagination sees a new country in the mirror of the future. But can a nation, or a person, shed the past like a skin? Do the dead continually unbury themselves? What will you do, the Spanish ambassador asks Cromwell, when the king turns on you, as sooner or later he turns on everyone close to him?


The Thomas Cromwell trilogy is, hands down, the best historical fiction I have ever read. An explosive combination of terrific writing, unbelievably true court intrigue, and a mysterious yet prominent historical figure. Just wow.

Continue reading “Review: The Mirror & the Light”

Review: Bring Up the Bodies

Bring Up the Bodies by Hilary Mantel

13507212 (1)Series: Thomas Cromwell Trilogy
Genres: Historical Fiction
Maturity Level: 4
View on Goodreads
Rating: ⋆⋆⋆⋆⋆


Though he battled for seven years to marry her, Henry is disenchanted with Anne Boleyn. She has failed to give him a son and her sharp intelligence and audacious will alienate his old friends and the noble families of England. When the discarded Katherine dies in exile from the court, Anne stands starkly exposed, the focus of gossip and malice.

At a word from Henry, Thomas Cromwell is ready to bring her down. Over three terrifying weeks, Anne is ensnared in a web of conspiracy, while the demure Jane Seymour stands waiting her turn for the poisoned wedding ring. But Anne and her powerful family will not yield without a ferocious struggle. Hilary Mantel’s Bring Up the Bodies follows the dramatic trial of the queen and her suitors for adultery and treason. To defeat the Boleyns, Cromwell must ally with his natural enemies, the papist aristocracy. What price will he pay for Anne’s head?


It’s not often I enjoy a sequel more than the original. But Bring Up the Bodies was so outstanding that I couldn’t put it down.

Continue reading “Review: Bring Up the Bodies”

Review: Wolf Hall

81THPjDmFnLWolf Hall by Hilary Mantel

Series: Thomas Cromwell Trilogy
Genres: Historical Fiction, Fiction
Maturity Level: 4
View on Goodreads
Rating: ⋆⋆⋆⋆


England in the 1520s is a heartbeat from disaster. If the king dies without a male heir, the country could be destroyed by civil war. Henry VIII wants to annul his marriage of twenty years and marry Anne Boleyn. The pope and most of Europe opposes him. Into this impasse steps Thomas Cromwell: a wholly original man, a charmer and a bully, both idealist and opportunist, astute in reading people, and implacable in his ambition. But Henry is volatile: one day tender, one day murderous. Cromwell helps him break the opposition, but what will be the price of his triumph?


Oh my goodness, what a brilliant book! I read a lot of books that I really enjoy, but it’s not very often that I read what I would consider a legitimate masterpiece. This is one of those novels.

Continue reading “Review: Wolf Hall”