I’m a little late, but I’m excited to share my favorite books of 2022! I’ll admit, I read less this year than usual, in part, because I wasn’t working as much (and I listen to books a lot while I work). That said, I still did a lot of reading this year – about 30 – but a far cry from what I have read in previous years. I need to get back on track and find some new books, as I’ve been in a bit of a book rut as of late. I’m all ears if you’ve read something recently that you’ve loved. This post contains some affiliate links.
The Last House on the Street
The Last House on the Street is another home run from Diane Chamberlain. If you haven’t read any of her books, I can honestly say to pick one and get started, as I’ve never been disappointed with anything she’s written. She’s extremely versatile as well – a quality I admire so much in good authors, and the subjects of her books are equally diverse. Since I’m not always great at giving the plot of a book in a succinct matter, I’m going to rely on the description from Amazon for this one:
Growing up in the well-to-do town of Round Hill, North Carolina, Ellie Hockley was raised to be a certain type of proper Southern lady. Enrolled in college and all but engaged to a bank manager, Ellie isn’t as committed to her expected future as her family believes. She’s chosen to spend her summer break as a volunteer helping to register Black voters. But as Ellie follows her ideals fighting for the civil rights of the marginalized, her scandalized parents scorn her efforts, and her neighbors reveal their prejudices. And when she loses her heart to a fellow volunteer, Ellie discovers the frightening true nature of the people living in Round Hill.
Architect Kayla Carter and her husband designed a beautiful house for themselves in Round Hill’s new development, Shadow Ridge Estates. It was supposed to be a home where they could raise their three-year-old daughter and grow old together. Instead, it’s the place where Kayla’s husband died in an accident – a fact known to a mysterious woman who warns Kayla against moving in. The woods and lake behind the property are reputed to be haunted, and the new home has been targeted by vandals leaving threatening notes. And Kayla’s neighbor Ellie Hockley is harboring long-buried secrets about the dark history of the land where her house was built.
Two women. Two stories. Both on a collision course with the truth – no matter what that truth may bring to light – in Diane Chamberlain’s riveting, powerful novel about the search for justice.
The Yellow Wife
I find that I often read books of similar genres when I find one that I really like, and this year was no different. The Yellow Wife by Sadeqa Johnson, was so compelling, yet also so difficult to read at times. It details some of the nuances and issues that occurred during slavery that I never fully understood or appreciated.
Born on a plantation in Charles City, Virginia, Pheby Delores Brown has lived a relatively sheltered life. Shielded by her mother’s position as the estate’s medicine woman and cherished by the Master’s sister, she is set apart from the others on the plantation, belonging to neither world.
She’d been promised freedom on her eighteenth birthday, but instead of the idyllic life she imagined with her true love, Essex Henry, Pheby is forced to leave the only home she has ever known. She unexpectedly finds herself thrust into the bowels of slavery at the infamous Devil’s Half Acre, a jail in Richmond, Virginia, where the enslaved are broken, tortured, and sold every day. There, Pheby is exposed not just to her Jailer’s cruelty but also to his contradictions. To survive, Pheby will have to outwit him, and she soon faces the ultimate sacrifice.
If you enjoyed The Tattooist of Auschwitz (or Cilka’s Journey) you will want to add Three Sisters to your reading list. Both are written by Heather Morris, and she is a brilliant storyteller. I have said on many occasions, that I would like to read a book that goes into what life is like for those who survived the Holocaust, and how they felt and lived after such unspeakable horrors. This book is it. As the title indicates, it’s the story of three sisters, and their experiences during and after the Holocaust. A complex dive into how it feels to be a survivor after so many are loss. The guilt and luck involved in day to day living in a concentration camp. Putting your life back together post-war. So many things. A great read, with a new take on a difficult subject.
The Measure, by Nikki Erlick, is a book that puts a question we’ve all contemplated, to the test. If you could know when you would die, would you want to? Imagine if the people of the world all knew if their lives were going to be long or short? Would you want to know? Would you live your life differently? This book tackles that issue and all of the ancillary issues that would arise because of it. People all receive a box that contains a string, and that string indicates the length of your life. A long string = a long life, whereas a short string indicates a short life. And there is nothing you can do to change it. A really interesting premise and a thought provoking read.
I always love a good suspense/thriller novel, and if you’re a fan, then The Chain by Adrian McKinty might be one for you. It took me awhile to decide to buy this one, since the premise is a bit dark. The idea is that victims are made into criminals for the sake of their children. Parents whose children have been kidnapped, have to kidnap another child, pull together a designated amount of money, and not involve the authorities, as their child will be killed if they do. Once they meet the demands, their child will be released, but they are forever part of The Chain.
Tending Roses is another book by Lisa Wingate, and I’m a huge fan of hers. If you haven’t already, run to the bookstore (or Amazon), and buy Before We Were Yours. That book is one that stands out in the hundreds of books that I have read in recent years, and has drawn me back to reading more of her novels.
Tending Roses is a book about family. Family struggling, and forced to live with a grandmother, in a world that is different and unfamiliar from the one left behind. It’s about motherhood, and discovering what’s important. It’s about generations, and learning from those who have walked before you. Lots of good stories and lessons are contained in this book, and Lisa Wingate is a great storyteller.
Back in the suspense/thriller category, The Housemaid by Freida McFadden is another one that will keep you guessing. A seemingly idyllic couple hires a young woman to help take care of the house and their child. Dark and twisty at times, it captures and keeps your attention.
Every day I clean the Winchesters’ beautiful house top to bottom. I collect their daughter from school. And I cook a delicious meal for the whole family before heading up to eat alone in my tiny room on the top floor.
I try to ignore how Nina makes a mess just to watch me clean it up. How she tells strange lies about her own daughter. And how her husband Andrew seems more broken every day. But as I look into Andrew’s handsome brown eyes, so full of pain, it’s hard not to imagine what it would be like to live Nina’s life. The walk-in closet, the fancy car, the perfect husband.
I only try on one of Nina’s pristine white dresses once. Just to see what it’s like. But she soon finds out… and by the time I realize my attic bedroom door only locks from the outside, it’s far too late.
But I reassure myself: the Winchesters don’t know who I really am.
They don’t know what I’m capable of…
I read Razorblade Tears by S.A. Cosby early in 2022, and it’s a story different from most. Two fathers – one black, one white, who both lost their sons and are seeking revenge. They are two men who have a lot of differences, but find they have so much in common.
Ike Randolph has been out of jail for fifteen years, with not so much as a speeding ticket in all that time. But a Black man with cops at the door knows to be afraid.
The last thing he expects to hear is that his son Isiah has been murdered, along with Isiah’s white husband, Derek. Ike had never fully accepted his son but is devastated by his loss.
Derek’s father Buddy Lee was almost as ashamed of Derek for being gay as Derek was ashamed his father was a criminal. Buddy Lee still has contacts in the underworld, though, and he wants to know who killed his boy.
Ike and Buddy Lee, two ex-cons with little else in common other than a criminal past and a love for their dead sons, band together in their desperate desire for revenge. In their quest to do better for their sons in death than they did in life, hardened men Ike and Buddy Lee will confront their own prejudices about their sons and each other, as they rain down vengeance upon those who hurt their boys.
A different book than many that I read, but very thought provoking and interesting.
In looking back at my favorite books of 2022, I’m really pleased with the breadth and variety of books and subjects. My tendency is to find something I like, whether it’s a new author or subject, and go all in for awhile. I covered a lot more ground this year than I realized or appreciated! I hope you find something here worthwhile, or maybe something new to your own reading comfort zone. As always, I’m open to hear your favorite books of 2022!
If you missed some of my favorites from past years, click on the graphics below for the details!