Sorry, I’m a bit late with this post. I meant to do it a few days ago but I got wrapped-up watching college bowl games and just got plain lazy. But with snow falling outside and little else for me to do, I figured why not do a review of my favorite fiction from last year.
If you’ve been following my posts, you already know that in 2015 I started out reading fiction, but as the year progressed I found myself favoring nonfiction as my reading material of choice. As a result, my list is a short one. But rest assured, even though it’s a short list, each of these books made for enjoyable reading.
- Expo 58 by Jonathan Coe – Just like The Blood Telegram, I discovered this book thanks to Goodreads. Blending elements of romance, comedy, spy thriller and historical fiction, this one was entertaining and hard to put down. If you’re the kind of reader who enjoys watching well-written British dramas like you find on Masterpiece Theatre or BBC America then this novel is for you.
- Archive 17 by Sam Eastland – I’m always on the look-out for historical fiction that’s a lot like stuff by Alan Furst. Eastland’s thriller set in Stalinist Russia is fast-paced and entertaining.
- His Own Man by Edgard Telles Ribeiro – I have Book Riot’s Rachel Cordasco to thank for introducing me off to this sophisticated piece of Brazilian fiction. Great novel about opportunism and lust for personal power.
- The Day of Atonement by David Liss – I absolutely loved his 2003 novel The Coffee Trader so much it ended up making my Best of 2014 List. Since I liked Day of Atonement even more, there’s no way it’s not going to be on this year’s list.
- The Figaro Murders by Laura Lebow – It’s hard to write a first-time novel. Harder still to write a quality one. Hats off to Lebow for writing a charming, cleaver and light historical mystery staring real historical characters and setting it in Mozart’s Vienna.
- Night Soldiers by Alan Furst – Think I could do a list like this and NOT include at least one book by Alan Furst? This is the one that spawned Furst’s beloved Night Soldiers series. By far the most epic in style than the rest of the stuff in the series. Of the three Furst novels I read in 2015 I’m pretty sure I liked this one the most.
I think it’s interesting that all six novels are set outside the United States, whether it be in Europe or South America. In additional, all six could be considered historical fiction, with settings ranging from the 18th century to the late 1950s. Therefore, my selections reflect both my historical and geographic interests. Two of the above-listed novels, Night Soldiers and The Day of Atonement, are by authors whose stuff I’ve enjoyed in the past. Expo 58 and His Own Man I discovered thanks to online resources while The Figaro Murders and Archive 17 I simply stumbled across at my public library.
Looking back on these enjoyable six novels, it’s hard to declare one my favorite of 2015. But if I must assign one a winner based on how much I enjoyed it from start to finish, I’d have to give the nod to The Day of Atonement.