‘Otherlands’ by Thomas Halliday is the story of our planet. Halliday is a paleobiologist who explains the history of our world in a way that has opened my eyes. He goes back in time, showing how Earth has changed and developed over millions of years. Using ecosystems and creatures we may or may not be familiar with, he makes us realise that we are but a tiny part of it all.
Halliday writes in a very accessible style. It is not just dry facts, but imaginative and truly fascinating. I learned so much and thoroughly enjoyed it.
I was given this Arc for review.
This year has been another difficult one, but authors have stepped up and given us some amazing stories. I struggled to whittle my favourite books of the year down to a reasonable number. There was no way I could stop at a Top Ten, but I managed a Top Fifteen. These are the books that made my year, and I highly recommend each and every one. Here they are, listed in no particular order:
- The Tell Tale by Clare Ashton
2. A Corruption of Blood by Ambrose Parry
3. The Island Between Us by Wendy Hudson
4. The Fair Botanists by Sara Sheridan
5. Ignis by KJ
6. The Man Who Died Twice by Richard Osman
7. Everyone In This Room Will Someday Be Dead by Emily R Austin
8. The Rose Code by Kate Quinn
9. The End Of Men by Christina Sweeney-Baird
10. Her Last Request by Mari Hannah
11. The Dead Of Winter by Nicola Upson
12. Song Of Serenity by Brey Willows
13.The Appeal by Janice Hallett
14. Katharine Parr, The Sixth Wife by Alison Weir
15. Shiver by Allie Reynolds
‘The Fair Botanists’ by Sara Sheridan is the standout novel of the year for me. It’s the wonderful story of two women and the connections they make in Edinburgh in the early 1800s. Elizabeth is a widow moving to Edinburgh to live with her husband’s family, and hoping for a better life. Her interest in botany and especially illustration, brings her into contact with those working at the new botanical gardens. The imminent flowering of a special tree has the city fascinated, as has the expected visit of the King. Belle has a secret identity and a plan for the future. She knows her present career will be short lived, so is using her interest in botany to ensure her comfort later. These two very different women find a common bond, forming a friendship that defies society’s expectations .
Elizabeth and Belle’s stories weave in and out with those of other prominent and not so prominent members of Edinburgh society. It is this that captured my attention and did not let go until the last page. Sara Sheridan builds each layer, and connects each strand, with beautifully written descriptive pose. It’s a story of life, of friendship and of love. Highly recommended.
I was given this ARC to review.