2022 was a great year for books and reading. So many new books came out that were fantastic, and I was able to get to many of the backlist books I had on my TBR list, especially in the Outlander series.
I read 146 books in 2022, around the same number as last year. I guess that is my sweet spot in reading! I wish I could have made it to 150 – the round number just sounds better! – but I am happy with 146. I was split pretty evenly between print and digital but only read one audiobook. Not surprising, that seems to be all I can fit in during a year since I listen to so many podcasts!
As for genres, I read mostly historical fiction, romance, and general fiction. I was shocked that my historical fiction numbers were lower than the romance total, but of the historical fiction I read, four were over a thousand pages. Plus since I was writing and pitching a contemporary romance this year, I read more of those books than normal. I enjoyed them – they just make me happy! – but I hope to get back to more historical fiction in 2023.
Another change I want to make is in the number of middle grade and YA books I read. I only read three middle grade and three YA books this year. With my blog focused on family trips, I need to make more of an effort to read these books.
My average star rating for the year was 4.2 and I only DNF’ed (did not finish) three books. I had a one star book and only a couple of two star books so that tells me I know my reading tastes well! My top recommendation source was Cindy at Thoughts from a Page podcast. I love being part of her Patreon community where we get access to advanced review copies of books!
I’m able to pull out these statistics thanks to the reading tracker that comes as a Patreon bonus from the Currently Reading podcast. It is so cool to see your reading in charts and graphs! I love all of the details it provides!
Here are my favorite books read in 2022. I’ve broken them down by superlatives so it’ll be easier to pick the ones you want to read! I’ve also linked to my more thorough Instagram reviews so you can read even more about these favorite books!
All links are Amazon affiliate links. You can also purchase the books through my Bookshop.org shop (affiliate link).
Favorite Historical Fiction
Top Book of 2022
Marmee by Sarah Miller
Not only is this book a retelling of the classic, Little Women, from the mother’s perspective, it’s also a searing look at what women endured on the homefront during the Civil War. It’s the perfect book for me and was my top read of the entire year! The Civil War is my favorite time period to study and by reading Marmee, you get an insider look at the agony of waiting for news from the front, the financial hardships that plagued every household, and the mental strain women endured as the men were off in battle, leaving them with little resources. I hope to reread this in 2023 in conjunction with a Little Women reread! Review linked here.
Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon (Books six through nine)
I began reading these books last year but read books six through nine in 2022 to catch up in the series. Each book keeps getting better and better, and I think the eighth book (Written in My Own Heart’s Blood) is my favorite of the series so far (besides the first book)! Now I am tackling Gabaldon’s novellas in anticipation of the tenth (and presumably last) book in the series. Reviews linked here, here, and here.
Favorite Time Travel Books
One of my favorite tropes, I couldn’t pick just one!
What the Wind Knows by Amy Harmon
This romantic book about love and family during Ireland’s early 20th century struggles was fantastic. I was captivated by how Harmon weaved together the stories separated by decades, and the love story in it made my heart happy! Review linked here.
11/22/63 by Stephen King
This book lived up to its hype! The story about a teacher traveling through time to prevent the JFK assassination was propulsive and thought-provoking. I keep talking about it with my kids, asking them what they would do if they thought they could change history. Review linked here.
Favorite World War II Books
Sisters of Night and Fog by Erika Robuck
I absolutely adored this book about two strong women who fought against the Nazi invasion of France. One of my top books of the entire year! Review linked here.
The Librarian Spy by Madeline Martin
It was so interesting learning about a completely new part of WWII, the neutrality of Portugal and how both refugees and Nazis fled there. Review linked here.
Favorite North Carolina Books
I love reading about my home state, and in 2022, I read two outstanding books about its history.
The Tobacco Wives by Adele Myers
Coming from a state where tobacco was king, I really enjoyed this story about the wives of mid-century tobacco executives. Review linked here.
The Wedding Veil by Kristy Woodson Harvey
I loved the premise of this book, a wedding veil linking families through the decades. I especially enjoyed learning more about the Vanderbilts of Biltmore House fame! Review linked here.
Favorite Historical Destinations Books
I love finding a book about a place I’ve visited or plan to visit.
Hamnet by Maggie O’Farrell
Since I was visiting Stratford-upon-Avon this summer, I wanted to read this masterpiece about Shakespeare’s son and his untimely death from the plague. I was worried it would be too sad but it was beautiful and breath-taking instead. I loved every word! Review linked here.
The Grand Design by Joy Callaway
I love visiting The Greenbrier and this book about its famous interior designer, Dorothy Draper, was such a lovely read! Review linked here.
Favorite Books about Bookstores
Books about bookstores in history remain a crowd pleaser!
Bloomsbury Girls by Natalie Jenner
I loved visiting all of the dusty bookshops during my two trips to London in 2022. This novel about a bookshop in the famous literary area of Bloomsbury brought me right back! Review linked here.
The Mayfair Bookshop by Eliza Knight
The infamous Nancy Mitford worked at a bookstore in London that you can still visit today! It’s on my must-visit list for my next trip. Review linked here.
Favorite Historical Mystery Book
This is a new genre for me, and I found several books that I really enjoyed!
The Lost Book of Eleanor Dare by Kimberly Brock
An atmospheric tale of female power through the generations, this book was a wonderful story about family, faith, and love woven together with the unsolved historical mystery of what happened to the Lost Colony of Roanoke. Review linked here.
Ashton Hall by Lauren Belfer
This historical mystery linking a modern-day mother with a 16th century skeleton was haunting! The ending still gives me goosebumps! Review linked here.
Favorite Books that Help Explain Current Events
With the Russian invasion of Ukraine, these books are especially timely to read!
The Baba Yaga Mask by Kris Spisak
A book full of Ukrainian folklore and history, I loved this dual timeline story about how family can help you understand the past. Review linked here.
The Diamond Eye by Kate Quinn
This fast-paced novel about a Russian female sniper will have you looking up the places of her battles on Google maps – and they’re all in Ukraine and in the news currently. It gives you a better lay of the land for the ongoing conflict. Review linked here.
As an aspiring author myself, I love supporting a new author.
All the Lights Above Us by M.B. Henry
Henry weaves together the stories of five different women on one eventful day – D-Day. From an older French woman fighting to get to her family to a British nurse to the German and French women working in occupied French towns, the five stories all converge in one of the most important events in all of history. Review linked here.
For Those Who are Lost by Julia Bryan Thomas
This captivating book about the evacuated children from the Channel Island of Guernsey is both heartbreaking and hopeful. Review linked here.
Most Uplifting Book
The Matchmaker’s Gift by Lynda Cohen Loigman
Historical fiction novels tend to cover hard and tragic moments in history. It is rare to find one that is uplifting and leaves you with a smile but this one about a Jewish woman who served as a matchmaker in early 20th century New York City did the trick! Review linked here.
Favorite Historical Romance Book
A Lady’s Guide to Fortune-Hunting by Sophie Irwin
I loved this fun novel about a down-on-her-luck debutante and the duke she spars with in her quest to land a rich husband. It’s more sweet than spicy, perfect for those who swoon over romantic gestures and gallant lords. Review linked here.
Favorite History Nonfiction
I loved this narrative nonfiction book about my favorite first lady to study, Mary Lincoln, and her formerly enslaved dressmaker. Review linked here.
Mary Churchill’s War: The Wartime Diaries of Churchill’s Youngest Daughter, edited by Emma Soames
Hearing about World War II through the eyes of teenage Mary was so interesting, especially about her work in the defense of London. Review linked here.
Favorite Contemporary Romance Books
Book that made me want to hug it
Meet Me in the Margins by Melissa Ferguson
This sweet romance about Savannah, a book editor, and a mysterious person who is helping her revise her own romance novel is so delightful, I read it with a grin on my face! One of my top books of the year! Review linked here.
Book about a second chance for love
Nora Goes Off Script by Annabel Monaghan
I absolutely loved this book about divorced mom, Nora, a screenwriter who falls for the sexy actor portraying her ex-husband in a movie she wrote. We need more romances about women in their thirties and forties (and beyond!).
Most heartfelt romance that will leave you crying
The Happy Ever After Playlist by Abby Jimenez
This novel about Sloan who lost her fiancé in a tragic accident and pop star, Jason, is both steamy and heartbreaking. Jimenez is always one of my favorite romance authors!
Favorite Contemporary Books
Most gut-wrenching novel
Always, in December by Emily Stone
This novel about a woman who meets a mysterious man as she’s mailing her annual Christmas letter to her dead parents is fun and sweet but stomps on your heart in the best of ways. Have tissues handy!
Most hopeful novel
The Two Lives of Lydia Bird by Josie Silver
I loved this book about a widow struggling through her grief as she learns that her husband is still alive in her dreams. Poignant and heartfelt!
Wrong Place Wrong Time by Gillian McAllister
I can’t believe I have a thriller on my best of list! I usually am not a huge fan of the genre but this cleverly plotted novel about a mother witnessing her son commit a horrible crime struck me on so many levels. I still think about its characters and the premise all of the time. One of my top books of the year! Review linked here.
Bomb Shelter: Love, Time, and Other Explosives by Mary Laura Philpott
A must-read collection of essays about the vulnerability of motherhood. Review linked here.
Clanlands: Whisky, Warfare, and a Scottish Adventure Like No Other by Sam Heughan and Graham McTavish
My only audiobook of the year, it’s a must-listen for Outlander fans and anyone traveling to Scotland.
Glad You’re Here: Two Unlikely Friends Breaking Bread and Fences by Walker Hayes and Craig Allen Cooper
This book about friendship and God’s redeeming love by one of my favorite singers is just the hopeful book we need in this time of so much conflict and strife. Review linked here.
I love the nine steps Vanderkam discusses as a way to take control of the chaos of life and am working to implement them in the new year!
What was your favorite book of 2022? Is it as hard for you to narrow down your selections as it was for me?