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I read 73 books last year, and while I enjoyed most of them, there are a handful that really stood out. Here are my top 10 favorites, with links to my reviews (in no particular order):

The Women in the Castle by Jessica Shattuck

All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

Darcy by Any Other Name by Laura Hile

The Honorable Mr. Darcy by Jennifer Joy

The Best Part of Love by A. D’Orazio

A Lie Universally Hiddenby Anngela Schroeder

T

he Darcy Monologues edited by Christina Boyd

Rules for a Successful Book Club by Victoria Connelly

These Dreams by Nicole Clarkston

The Particular Charm of Miss Jane Austen by Ada Bright and Cass Grafton

Honorable Mentions (in no particular order):

Wait for the Rain by Maria Murnane

Attempting Elizabeth by Jessica Grey

Darcy’s Hope at Donwell Abbey by Ginger Monette

Mendacity & Mourning by J.L. Ashton

A Most Handsome Gentleman by Suzan Lauder

What were your favorite books of 2017? Please tell me in the comments!

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Source: Review copy from author

Wasn’t reading about other people’s mistakes a welcome relief from living your own? To know that countless other people out there — even if they were fictional — were making great fat miserable mistakes was wonderfully reassuring because it meant that you were not alone.

(from Rules for a Successful Book Club)

Rules for a Successful Book Club is the second installment in Victoria Connelly’s new Book Lovers series. It features the characters from The Book Lovers but is a standalone novel. The focus this time is on Polly Nightingale, a member of the Nightingale clan and Sam’s sister. She spends a lot of time helping out at her siblings’ bookshops and is helping Sam establish his book club in the village. When she’s not at the bookshops or her part-time teaching job, she is a single mother to six-year-old Archie.

Polly’s family worries about her since the disappearance of her husband, Sean, three years ago. Without knowing what happened to him, whether he is dead or alive, Polly is in limbo, afraid to move on with her life. When Jago, a younger musician, enters her and Archie’s lives, Polly isn’t ready to let herself feel again. Slowly, Jago tears down the walls she has built around her heart, but eventually Polly will have to deal with the past, with the truth, and figure out what is best for her son and herself.

I absolutely loved The Book Lovers, and I found myself even more in love with Rules for a Successful Book Club. Again, Connelly focuses on the strong bond of the Nightingale family, especially their love and concern for Polly. I can’t imagine what Polly endured not knowing what happened to her husband for so long and how she managed to get through each day. I couldn’t help but admire her courage, not only in allowing love back into her life but also in overcoming her worries about the thirteen-year age difference. This time, Connelly tackles some serious issues, but she manages to balance it out with plenty of lighthearted and romantic moments, not to mention the hilarious banter among the book club members.

I was so sad when this book ended; it’s been several weeks since I finished it, and I still find myself thinking about these characters. Connelly made them come alive, and I really wish there were a way to jump into the book and become part of the family myself! Needless to say, I can’t wait to read the next installment, Natural Born Readers, and the upcoming Christmas with the Book Lovers. This was definitely one of my favorite books of 2017!

Disclosure: I received Rules for a Successful Book Club from the author for review.

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