Among the excellent books I've read in 2009, these three stand out for me. I highly recommend them for your own reading pleasure or as gifts:
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society
By Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows
Dial Press 2009 $14.00
This novel, written in letters, may be a bit hard to read until you get used to the format. Stick with it, because the story and characters are well worth the effort. Juliet Ashton, an author in search of a story, learns about life on the island of Guernsey during the former German Occupation. Through letters, and then from her stay on the island, she falls in love with Guernsey and its residents. The book is historical fiction with a romance, a story that will make you smile.
There is another story behind the novel. The author, Mary Ann Shaffer, became ill before she was able to complete the edits, so her niece, Annie Barrows, stepped in and took over the project. Unfortunately, Shaffer did not live to see the success of this fine book.
A Bad Day for Sorry
By Sophie Littlefield
St. Martin’s Press 2009 $24.99
If you like crime novels and enjoy the notion of an offbeat menopausal widow who killed her abusive husband with a wrench before establishing herself as a self-appointed enforcer dedicated to straightening out other abusive males, then Stella Hardesty is the protagonist for you. Sophie Littlefield’s debut novel is well-written and fast-paced. So far, it’s my favorite mystery read of 2009.
The Ghosts of Belfast
By Stuart Neville
Soho Press, Inc 2009 $25.00
Neville’s debut thriller deals with Irish political history and its sociological and psychological after-effects on one killer who is (perhaps literally) haunted by his victims. Gerry Fegan sets out to make amends the only way he knows how. This is a terror tale of the most gripping kind, because the line between real and imaginary disappears as Fegan's dilemma is revealed.
Patricia Stoltey is a mystery author, blogger, and critique group facilitator. Active in promoting Colorado authors, she also helps local unpublished writers learn the critical skills of manuscript revision and self-editing. For information about Patricia’s Sylvia and Willie mystery series, visit her website and her blog. You can also find her on Facebook (Patricia Stoltey) and Twitter (@PStoltey).