A Reviewer’s Review of the Year

Well Christmas is over, and we’re heading into the New Year; a time for reflection, fresh starts and renewed hope.

I started this blog six months ago. I have always loved to write, and my first ambition was to be a writer. I love to tell stories as much as I love to read them. But it’s hard to fit writing into a life that also contains a full time job, an evening class, church, volunteer commitments, and a social life. When I started this blog, I hadn’t written anything that wasn’t an email or a grant proposal in a long time. I missed it. I missed my imagination. So I made a commitment; I was going to start a blog, and I was going to write a post at least once a week. I was going to write, to think about what I wrote, to experiment, to take pleasure in my writing; finally put myself out there in the public domain, fight my fear of other people reading my writing and finding it wanting, and just go with it. And so I did. And six months on, here I am, and I can’t tell you how shocked I am to be writing to an audience. I expected only me, and my dear, faithful friend Helen, to be reading.  This wasn’t about getting comments or receiving free books; these have been wonderful, unexpected bonuses. It was about finding my voice. And I have. It’s thrilling.

I don’t usually make things overly personal on here; this is a blog about books, first and foremost, but I think the books a person reads says a lot about the person reading them. The past six months I have read my way through books that have comforted me, cheered me, encouraged me, and allowed me to have a reason to cry, and I have needed them, so badly. I have looked through the list of books I have reviewed here, and one theme has stood out; the search for a happy ending. Book after book about women striving, struggling, dreaming, hoping, wishing, escaping, has passed through my hands. Books about adventure, and mystery, and love, and romance, and every day drudgery, but all of them, all of them, in search for that elusive happy ending, that moment where everything comes together and life makes sense, if only for a little while.

I have been treading water for much of this year; just getting from one day to the next, blindly feeling my way through the fog. It’s been one of those seasons of life where things are just a struggle, for no definable reason. I have been blessed in many ways, and I have a full, and interesting, and busy life, but somewhere, at the core of things, I lost heart. Too many disappointments, perhaps; too much reality without the strength to dream. If I were a book character, the 2009 me would probably most resemble Lucy Gayheart. I think the reason I cried so much at that book was because I saw too much of myself in its pages.

But it’s almost a New Year, and the fog is starting to lift. I don’t know what 2010 holds; I don’t know what books I’ll be reading, or down which paths my life will lead me. I hope there will be happiness; I hope there will be adventure, and fresh opportunities. What I do know is that this blog, and its lovely, brilliant, witty, intelligent and dear readers, will be a constant, and for that, I am eternally grateful. It is such an encouragement for me to know you are all out there, and that you enjoy what I write. Thank you, thank you so much, for reading along with me in 2009, and I hope to see you all in 2010! Here’s to new beginnings!



  1. I'm really glad I discovered your blog. I truly enjoy your reviews and think that you are an amazing writer. Happy New Year!

  2. Rachel — I also am glad I found your blog. I've been reading it for a couple months and really enjoy your writing. Hope you find time to post more frequently. Have a wonderful New Year. Carol

  3. Rachel~Your blog is my favorite. I don't know how you find time to write such wonderful reviews and posts about life, but I enjoy reading them. It reminds me similar souls out there and I am grateful. So happy happy new year to you and all the readers. May 2010 bring us more undiscovered friends and books.

  4. I love your blog Rachel and I always look forward to your posts. You're a wonderful and talented writer and you should really keep doing it. Happy New Year to you and your family! I look forward to reading more from you in 2010.

  5. I love your blog too! It was great to meet you in person as well. I look forward to seeing what you decide to read in 2010 and hope that we can find the time to meet up and talk about books at some point in the New Year.

  6. What a lovely blog – it's so nice to read that starting this blog has meant so much to you and brought so many good things to you. I love reading your blog and look forward to reading more in 2010!

  7. Is it only six months? I do so enjoy reading your blog, Rachel, it (or rather, you) has/have one of the most distinctive voices of all the blogs I read. Here's to 2010!

  8. Rachel I think that is one of the most touching posts that I have read in ages, its honest, funnt, heartfelt, touching and just lovely. Here's to 2010 and lots more of your posts!

  9. What a lovely post. I'm sorry to hear things are sometimes a struggle, but you are certainly not alone there. Thankfully there are books that help uplift or guide or just make you laugh sometimes! I'm so glad you are blogging as I really enjoy your posts and I hope 2010 is better in every way for you. Happy reading in 2010–can't wait to see what you read next! 🙂

  10. I'm always pleased when I see in my Google Reader that you've put a new post up – I'm glad blogging has been so great for you and look forward to reading your reviews in the near year. 😉

  11. There is certainly nothing wanting here. I feel fortunate to have discovered you and your blog recently. As noted, yours is a distinctive voice, and if your life is in a bit of a fog of late, one could never tell from your well-chosen words here. Wishing you a happy new year!

  12. Someone as lovely as you are Rachel, is bound for good things. You will find your way so enjoy the ride, patience is a virtue but not always easy! I'm looking forward to reading about the books on your tbr pile and I will definitely be in your audience, rooting for you. Happy New Year!

  13. Hi! I'm with everyone up there who said that you have a wonderful blog. I'm glad I was introduced to it.:) Happy New Year!

  14. …and add me to this long list of people who particularly enjoy reading your posts. I wish you a very happy new year and 2010. PS I love that Edward Hopper picture (think I'm correct).Ruth x

  15. Love your blog as well, and hope the fog lifts completely and 2010 is filled with happiness, not disappointments. Here's to new beginnings – hope you have a fantastic new year, and keep blogging. x

  16. Just stopping by to say how much I have enjoyed reading your blog the last couple of months, and that I look forward to reading more in 2010 🙂

  17. Thank you all for your lovely comments; it has been especially nice to hear from people who have been reading but don't usually comment – thank you so much for letting me know you are out there! I am so grateful that you all take the time to read my blog and enjoy what I write – it means an awful lot to me! It really has warmed my heart to read your good wishes and I am so flattered by your compliments. I shall have to be careful not to get a big head! Here's to more bookish chat in 2010!

  18. I'm really happy to have found your blog, I feel our 2009s have lacked a similar kind of spirit everyone needs to really start making strides in life. Wishing you good things in 2010.

  19. I feel quite lucky to have stumbled on your blog, and look forward to reading your posts. I hope 2010 is a good year for you, and that it brings you wonderful books and what you're looking for.

  20. Great to discover your book blog through comments in Stuck in a Book. Nice to have a taste for classics! I have inherited some which I am working through like Trollope – brilliant. My new book blog is the Passionate Bookworm!Good luck with your writing in the New Year.

  21. Arrived here from your blogging friend, Gaskella's site, and was fascinated to learn more about DW in an earlier post as well as being touched by this one. Very belated best wishes for 2010, Rachel. I, too, have gone through some hard times these past few years – so I hasten to wish you well.PS Am reading so many approving posts about DW that must try out her novels for myself!

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