Enduring Love – Ian McEwan
That dramatic beginning with a hot air balloon grabbed me by the throat and the story never let me breathe easily throughout. Tense, scary, emotionally harrowing. And sublime writing, of course, by a master.
Birdsong – Sebastian Faulks
It made me cry. But the passionate love story and exquisite writing that placed me in every scene made me feel as though I was living the story during the dark days of WWI. Such an emotional read.
Tigana – Guy Gavriel Kay
Surely one of the best standalone epic fantasy novels ever written. Magnificent storyteller with sublime writing skills and always original ideas. I would read anything of Guy Gavriel Kay and know I’ll never be disappointed, but this is his opus.
The Black Angel – John Connolly
He’s one of those clever writers who comfortably straddles several genres. His storytelling is effortless and thus you never bother to analyse is this horror, contemporary crime, fantasy or flat out thriller? You’re too tense anyway, worrying for the compelling Charlie Parker character.
The Bourne Identity – Robert Ludlum
I was 18 when I read this book and it hooked me onto the thriller that to this day remains a favourite and first choice genre for pleasure reading. Ludlum made me want to travel to all the cities that Jason Bourne does…and I made a promise as a teenager I would. And I kept that promise.
Kane & Abel – Jeffrey Archer
Old style epic, family drama that I’d defy anyone not to get lost in. This was Archer at his storytelling best and captured the imagination of me at 19 years old, forcing me to genuinely worry about larger than life characters that felt alive in my mind. Poignant and tragic.
The Thorn Birds – Colleen McCullough
Family saga that sucks you in and commits the reader into caring about these characters so that we suffer alongside them. Such a compelling, tragic love story threads its way through the drama.
To Kill A Mockingbird – Harper Lee
How could it not be on anyone’s favourite list?
Anything by Bill Bryson
Really…any one of his books is a joy. Warm, helplessly hilarious, engaging storytelling about real life. I’m forbidden to read BB in bed because I laugh too much and shake the bed.
Here Be Dragons – Sharon Penman
Ancient history brought back to life in a compelling way, allowing me to live through long dead, colourful kings and queens. This is one of the most powerful love stories I’ve ever enjoyed about Llewellyn the last great Prince of Wales and his feisty queen, Joanna.
I could go on…