The Best Books I Read in 2022
My goal in 2022 was to read 100 books.
Once again, I fell short of my target, but I still managed to read 94. That’s the most I’ve read in the six years I’ve been keeping up with the Goodreads Reading Challenge. So, we’ll call that a success!
Out of all the books I’ve read over the last year, some have left their mark more than others.
I was originally going to list five of the best. However, that number kept rising, meaning we’re up to the ten best books I read in 2022.
Have you read any of these?
The Windsor Knot by SJ Bennett
Queen Elizabeth II as a sleuth in a cosy mystery? Sign me up.
A mysterious death at Windsor Castle gets the Queen’s antennae twitching, and she intervenes when the professionals start to look in the wrong direction. With the help of her APS, Rozie, she leads the investigation to the right conclusion.
I read this early in the year, before the Queen’s passing. I adored the characterisation and the plot, and it worked as a homage to the Queen without being too gushy. I subsequently read the next one in the series and am holding on to the third for a rainy day.
Killers of a Certain Age by Deanna Raybourn
The premise of this one hooked me immediately and I knew I had to read it.
Four deadly (female) assasins are retiring and are sent on a cruise to celebrate. Unfortunately, they’ve suddenly become the hunted, and they need to figure out what’s going on to survive.
I loved this book as much as I hoped I would. The four assasins are individuals with their own quirks and complicated histories, plus the supporting characters are neatly drawn without overpowering the main plot. There’s some excellent LGBTQ rep in here too - it’s well worth a read.
A Murder Inside by Frances Brody
A historical series starter set in a women’s open prison in Yorkshire.
Frances Brody is best known for her Kate Shackleton Mysteries (which I adore), but this new series has the potential to be as good - if not better. It’s set in a facility in Yorkshire that is being transformed into a modern prison for women. Unfortunately, the death of a man in the grounds causes major headaches for new governor, Nell Lewis.
It’s true that new series can take a little while to get off the ground, but I think Brody hit the ground running with this one. By the end of it, I was thoroughly caught up with Nell’s character, and I can’t wait to read more. I sincerely hope there will be more!
The Sinner by Tess Gerritsen
The third book in the Rizzoli & Isles Series is a tough read but an engrossing one.
Set in a convent, the novel opens with the discovery of one dead nun and another critically injured. That bleak premise is followed up by a winding story with the kind of complex characters and motivations that Gerritsen excels at.
I’m gradually working my way through the Rizzoli & Isles Series. I’ve enjoyed all three so far, but this was the first that left me a lingering sense of unease. If you asked me right now, I couldn’t tell you who the murderer was, but I know how this book made me feel.
Something to Talk About by Meryl Wilsner
This was one of my favourite lighter reads of the year.
It tells the story of a Hollywood powerhouse and her assistant who accidentally fuel rumours of a romance while on the red carpet. Of course, as they spend more time together, things get more complicated.
Sometimes you need a simple romantic read to escape into, and this was just perfect.
Malice by Heather Walter
What happens when an evil sorceress falls for a princess?
A dark retelling of Sleeping Beauty, this fantasy novel sees Princess Aurora cursed to die within a year unless she is kissed by her true love. Alyce, a dark fairy who finds herself drawn to Aurora, doesn’t believe that could ever be her.
I don’t often read books like this, but I invariably enjoy them when I do. It was very evocative and bleak, while still being sweet in places. If I saw the twists coming, it didn’t detract from my enjoyment, and I’m looking forward to reading the second book.
The Warehouse by Rob Hart
A giant tech company has taken over the American economy, but at what cost?
This novel is set in the near-future, and it’s obvious which company it’s inspired by. Nevertheless, it creates a fully realised world where the company is everything and controls everything. When Zinnia is paid to infiltrate them, she discovers bigger secrets than she expected.
While there are definitely elements of this novel that don’t work brilliantly, I still enjoyed reading it, and I’d recommend it for the thought-provoking narrative alone.
House of Cards by Michael Dobbs
This is a deserved political fiction classic that I finally got around to.
It follows the Chief Whip, Francis Urquhart, who has held numerous secrets to his chest for just the right moment. He wants to be Prime Minister, and not even a tenacious political correspondent is going to stop him.
Given my interest in politics, it’s no wonder I enjoyed this one. I think the reason I avoided it before was due to the American TV series and all the issues about that, but taken as a piece of British fiction, it works beautifully. I’m saving the other books in the trilogy for a later date.
Held in Contempt: What’s Wrong with the House of Commons? by Hannah White
How can the House of Commons be reformed and why does it need to happen?
White looks closely at why Westminster fails at the things it is supposed to do, and what should be done to reform it. However, as sensible as the conclusions are, the fact that politicians are left to make the final decisions on things like this leaves the reader with a growing sense of despair.
I’ve read plenty of books about Westminster and how it works by this point. I found White’s analysis to be accessible and informative - I just wish change would happen, that’s all.
Show Me the Bodies: How We Let Grenfell Happen by Peter Apps
I won’t lie - this is not an easy read.
The 2017 fire at Grenfell Tower shocked the nation, but this book explores the decisions and policies that led to it. Published before the conclusions to the official inquiry have been released, it’s nevertheless an appalling and meticulously researched book that deserves an audience.
It asks questions about our society and how the systems designed to protect us can be bypassed or circumvented for profit and convenience. Read with caution for your mental health, but read if you can.