OK, everyone else is doing this today, so why shouldn’t I? 2010 wasn’t a great reading year for me in terms of quantity, but in quality there were some high points. (Most, but not all, of these books were published in 2010.)
My Favorite Novels of 2010:
Noah’s Compass by Anne Tyler (contemporary fiction). Like all of Tyler’s novels, this is a deceptively simple story with characters who linger with the reader.
Secrets of the Tudor Court by D. L. Bogdan. A first novel about Mary Fitzroy, Duchess of Richmond, and her relationship with her father, Thomas Howard, the third Duke of Norfolk. I found this novel to be a haunting one, and I especially liked the character of Norfolk, a figure who could have easily been treated as a cardboard villain but came across as complex and even somewhat sympathetic. I’m looking forward to Bogdan’s upcoming novel about Mary’s parents.
Mary the Queen and Bloody Mary by Hilda Lewis. The second and the third novels in a trilogy about Mary I, these books are an excellent and insightful psychological portrait of England’s first queen regnant.
My Favorite Nonfiction of 2010
Becoming Queen Victoria by Kate Williams.
We Two by Gillian Gill.
Mary Tudor by Anna Whitelock.
Elizabeth’s Women by Tracy Borman.
Catherine of Aragon by Giles Tremlett.
Louisa May Alcott: The Woman Behind Little Women by Harriet Reisen.
All of these were exceptionally well written and engrossing–proof that nonfiction can be as page-turning as fiction in the right hands.
Books I Didn’t Read Straight Through but Enjoyed Dipping Into:
She-Wolves by Helen Castor
The Wars of the Roses by Michael Hicks
Richard III by David Hipshon
Edward II by Seymour Phillips
Favorite New Toy of 2010:
Hands down, Mr. Kindle!
As for my plans for 2011, I’m going to be chugging away on my Tudor novel (it’s slow going at the moment, but I take comfort in the fact that The Queen of Last Hopes was slow going at this time last year too, and it’s due to be published tomorrow!). I’ve got some blog posts planned on a variety of subjects, including Guildford Dudley, Elizabeth Woodville’s son the Marquis of Dorset, the will of John de Vere, Earl of Oxford, and more, so keep stopping by!
I hope all of you have a great 2011, and that the New Year is especially good for those of you who have had a rough time during 2010. I’ve never been the best at offering comfort and advice, but my thoughts have been with you.
Happy New Year!