About Tea Cooper:
Tea Cooper is an established Australian author of contemporary and historical fiction. In a past life she was a teacher, a journalist and a farmer. These days she haunts museums and indulges her passion for storytelling. She is the bestselling author of several novels, including The Horse Thief, The Cedar Cutter, The Currency Lass, The Naturalist’s Daughter and The Woman in the Green Dress.
To find out more, visit Tea on her website.
My Favourite Books of the Year
I spend a lot of time reading for research purposes—old journals, letters, newspaper reports, advertisements, pamphlets, so I very much treasure my escape reading. When I reached the end of this list I discovered that my reading was less varied than I thought, gravitating towards multiple timelines, mysteries and historical fiction based in truth. In 2020 I might have to be more adventurous! The books which stood out for me this year, in no particular order, were:
The Huntress by Kate Quinn. Courageous women who didn’t follow the path expected of them, and three great storylines woven together beautifully with a great suspense thread. It reminded me a little of one of my favourite books Carve Her Name With Pride—the story of Violette Szabo, which I first read as a teenager and have revisited many times.
The Collaborator by Diane Armstrong. Again, a book that masterfully wove together the past, the present and the hope for the future. I was stunned by it. I thought my knowledge of WW2 was good and I’m old enough to remember the stories I was told as a child, but I had never heard of a rescue train that took hundreds of Jews to Switzerland, nor the man who managed to wrangle the deal.
The House of Brides by Jane Cockram. I’ve always gravitated to gothic-flavoured stories and this was such a clever twist on one of my favourite books—Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier.
And while on the subject of gothic—I loved Devil’s Lair by Sarah Barrie. Set in Tasmania, the perfect location for this suspenseful drama, the twists and turns kept me turning the pages. I couldn’t put it down.
The Orange Grove by Kate Murdoch Full of rivals and secrets and power games. Brilliantly researched and a cast of fascinating characters that leapt off the page.
The Ex by Nicola Moriaty. I was captivated by this domestic thriller from the first page and then to top it off it had the best plot twist!
The True Story of Maddie Bright by Mary Rose MacColl. A complex and cleverly executed multiple timeline—1918, 1920, 1981 and 1987—with a mysterious character and wrapped in real historical events. What wasn’t to love about it?
The Accusation by Wendy James. A gripping story full of twists and turns that fascinated me, even more so when I discovered it was based on an historically accurate crime story updated to the modern era.
The Things We Cannot Say by Kelly Rimmer. A photograph, a letter and a relic from the past, an historical fiction and a dual timeline. I was in heaven! Alina’s story has gone straight onto my keeper shelf!
The Van Apfel Girls are Gone by Felicity McLean. In a matter of pages the questions, accusations, suspense and intrigue drew me into the story of the Van Apfel Girls