Monday, January 22, 2018

Best Books of 2017: Top Ten

Thank you, snow day, for giving me the time to work on this today! Otherwise, it might've been March before I finished (like it was last year)!

The view of my street in the middle of the blizzard.
Anyway, to the list! You know what surprises me about this list? How many historicals are on it. I'm much more of a contemporary fiction girl (with a few notable exceptions), so to have more than half of this list be historical fiction is stunning to me. But these truly are the books I enjoyed the most this year! (I pick my list based on the books that I read in a given year, regardless of when they were published.)

I'm going to do my list a bit differently this year (basically, to make it easier on myself and to ensure I actually get it done!)—I'm going to post an excerpt of my review that illustrates why I think you should read the novel.

10. Christy by Catherine Marshall (my review)

Let's just agree to ignore that cover, OK? I can't believe it took me until 2017 to read this Christian classic!
Christy contains so much wisdom regarding loving others and sharing the gospel, yet it never seems preachy or heavy handed. In today's contentious society where people are often far more concerned with being right than being loving, Marshall's advice struck a chord with me, and I can't help but think the Church would be more effective if we would take her words to heart.

9. Bringing Maggie Home by Kim Vogel Sawyer (my review)

This book, about three generations of women and the tragedy that impacted all of their lives, was one that greatly surprised me in the best way.
The search for Maggie is really just a fascinating backdrop for the real heart of the novel, which is the relationships between the three women. Each woman's story is told from her own perspective, and I found their hurts and motivations to be fascinating.

8. The Dishonorable Miss DeLancey by Carolyn Miller (my review)

I did not anticipate loving Miss DeLancey as much as I did, even though I'd enjoyed the first two books in this series ... because I was not a fan of the main character going in.
...The consequences of Clara's actions remained, and through the rest of the novel, she fought against the notion of who she had been as she tried to show who she had become in Christ. Not everyone believed that Clara had changed, and some people continued to believe the worst of her. I truly felt for Clara as she felt the social consequences of her—and her brother's—actions. And that's saying something, as I pretty much despised her in the first two books of this series!

7. The Chilbury Ladies' Choir by Jennifer Ryan (my review)

This delightful novel is set during World War II in an English village where most of the men have gone to war.
The Chilbury Ladies' Choir is a joy to read! It's entirely told through letters, journal entries, and posted notices. While many characters' letters and journals comprise the novel, four characters are front and center: Mrs. Tilling, a widow whose son has gone to war; Venetia Winthrop, a beautiful, vain, self-centered young woman; Kitty Winthrop, Venetia's younger sister who is in love with one of Venetia's suitors; and midwife Edwina Paltrey, a woman willing to do anything to make money. All of these women grow and change throughout the novel, which is part of what makes reading it so much fun.

6. When Tides Turn by Sarah Sundin (my review)

Sundin's novels nearly always find their way onto my "best of" lists, and this year is no exception! Beautiful, vivacious Tess and stoic, responsible Dan are a perfect match!
I have to admit that Tess wasn't exactly my favorite heading into this novel. In the first novel, she was even a pseudo-villain, though she did improve in the second book. Still, I wasn't sure if I could get behind her as the heroine of a novel. (Spoiler alert: I could.) While I couldn't exactly identify with her problem of not being taken seriously because of her beauty, I did admire her drive to improve herself and support her nation. And her romance with Dan had a super-sweet, slow-burn quality to it that I really enjoyed.

5. Jane of Austin by Hillary Manton Lodge (my review)

Rarely do I meet a Jane Austen adaptation I don't like, but Jane of Austin quickly vaulted to the top of my list of favorites!
While the basic players and events from Sense and Sensibility are present in Jane of Austin, it's a great story in its own right. I love the focus on tea and the description of Jane's baking; I would totally visit Valencia Tea Company if it really existed. I thought the relationship between Jane and Celia was very realistic. And I absolutely adored Callum's dog.

4. Looking Glass Lies by Varina Denman (my review)

If you asked me to name a book that was hard and uncomfortable to read but was ultimately worth it, I'd immediately say Looking Glass Lies.
Don't go into this book expecting a light romance: it deals with serious topics like pornography, infidelity, body-shaming, bullying, self-harm, and suicide. But it is an incredibly engaging novel that is 100% worth the read.

3. For Love and Honor by Jody Hedlund (my review)

From the very beginning of Jody Hedlund's medieval YA series, Sir Bennet has been my favorite character. He finally got his chance at love in For Love and Honor, and it did not disappoint!
Though Bennet's motives for marrying Sabine have to do with responsibility and duty, the reader (as well as the other characters in the novel) quickly sees that Sabine is his perfect match. She is witty, smart, and caring, and she shares Bennet's love of beautiful artifacts. She is not afraid to assert herself and stand up for those she loves, even at risk to her own safety. Yet she is also horribly insecure about her appearance, a fault which leads to some of the major conflict in the novel.

2. Lady Jayne Disappears by Joanna Davidson Politano (my review)

When I picked up Lady Jayne Disappears, Politano's debut novel, I had no idea of the fun I was in for!
Twists abound in the story, and I found myself surprised by nearly every one—yet, importantly, all the twists made sense. There is, of course, a romance for Aurelie involved (it's actually introduced in the prologue and isn't resolved until the very end), but the romance is definitely secondary to the mystery. Hands down, this is one of the most intriguing books I've read this year, and I can't wait to get my hands on Politano's next book!

1. True to You by Becky Wade (my review)

Ever since I read Wade's Meant to Be Mine, it's been my favorite of her novels. (Ty Porter ... swoon!) But True to You might just be better; maybe I need to read the two books back-to-back to decide 🙂.
This is a classic romance that, despite conflict, seems like it's heading to a predictable conclusion for 3/4 of the novel. Then it takes a sudden turn and delves into deeper, surprising, heart-wrenching waters. I did not for one second anticipate where the story was going, and I literally got chills when I realized what Wade was doing. Masterful storytelling!
Have you read any of these books? What did you think? I'd love to know!

See my lists from 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016.

Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”


  1. Wow, so honored to see Miss DeLancey included among such inspiring authors. Thank you!

    1. You're welcome, Carolyn! I'm so looking forward to your next novel!

  2. Thank you so much for including When Tides Turn! And what great company!

    1. You're welcome, Sarah! Your new book should be hitting my mailbox really soon, and I can't wait :-)

  3. I should've snatched Jane of Austen from you when I was home!

    1. You should've! There's always next time ... or this summer, if I make it out ;-)

    2. Remind me to snatch this one at Christmas...:D


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