The Best Books You Read in 2022

The best recommendations come from readers, so we asked YOU to tell us the stand-out books by women you read in 2022. The response was overwhelming, with readers recommending both new books and classics as their perfect read last year.

The thing about a good recommendation is that it needs to be shared! So we’ve pulled together all the amazing fiction by women you’ve been raving about on our social channels and created a list of books with your seal of approval. These are the books published in 2021 and 2022. Don’t worry, we’ve got all your other suggestions and will create a list of classic fiction soon. Check out the list below and add some new titles to your reading list.

New Books in 2022

Shrines of Gaiety by Kate Atkinson

‘I loved this hedonistic tale’ – reader review

Horse by Geraldine Brooks

‘It’s Terrific!!!! Totally engaging with gorgeous prose!’ – reader review

A Terrible Kindness by Jo Browning Wroe

‘Superbly written, tender, heart wrenchingly sad and beautiful. I’m not lending my copy out but tucking into my bookshelves so I stumble across it again sometime.’ – reader review

The School for Good Mothers by Jessamine Chan

‘One of the most intense stories I’ve read about the value of motherhood.’ – reader review

Bodies of Light by Jennifer Down

‘A confronting but beautifully written book’ – reader review

The Sentence by Louise Erdrich

‘An Erdrich novel always delivers up the unexpected.’ – reader review

The Flames by Sophie Haydock

‘An electrifying blend of fact and fiction’ – reader review

Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus

‘You’ll never look at a pencil the same way again. Mightier than the sword’ – reader review

Stone Blind by Natalie Haynes

‘A retelling that will withstand the test of time, bringing new meaning to the Medusa figure and every woman held within the confines of her myth.’ – reader review

The Sleeping Car Porter by Suzette Mayr 

‘The best book I read this year, period.’ – reader review

The Dance Tree by Kiran Millwood Hargrave

‘Pure genius’ – reader review

Nightcrawling by Leila Mottley

‘It’s passionately written and powerfully affecting.’ – reader review

The Marriage Portrait by Maggie O’Farrell

‘Just brilliant’ and ‘that was sublime.’ – reader review

The Keeper of Stories by Sally Page

‘I love this character driven book – it’s a gem.’ – reader review

At The Table by Claire Powell

‘I absolutely devoured this novel. When I wasn’t reading it, I was thinking about it.’ – reader review

One day I Shall Astonish the World by Nina Stibbe

‘Clever, funny and sharp. I’ve loved all of Nina Stibbe’s novels.’ – reader review

The Little Wartime Library by Kate Thompson

‘A love letter to libraries, librarians and books… wonderful.’ – reader review

Fight Night by Miriam Toews

‘Such a great read!’ – reader review

To Paradise by Hanya Yanagihara

‘At a page-by-page story level, it is compelling, engrossing reading.’ – reader review

Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow by Gabrielle Zevin

‘These characters are, without a doubt in my mind, the two characters I’ve cared about the most over the past decade of my reading life.’ – reading review

New Books in 2021

Ace of Spades by Faridah Àbíké-Íyímídé

‘I am in awe of this book. It was so good!’ – reader review

Burntcoat by Sarah Hall

‘The most exquisitely haunting story I’ve read in a long time.’ – reader review

The Four Winds by Kristin Hannah

‘There are books I enjoy and there are books that touch my soul, this is one of them.’ – reader review

The Paper Palace by Miranda Cowley Heller

‘I loved everything about this book’ – reader review

Orphans of the Storm by Celia Imrie

‘Brilliant writing of a mesmerising story.’ – reader review

The King of Infinite Space by Lyndsay Faye

‘A magic fever dream of a book.’ – reader review

Braver by Deborah Jenkins

‘I have fallen in love with Virginia, Hazel and Harry and I didn’t want their stories to end.’ – reader review

Small Things Like These by Claire Keegan

‘Beautiful writing and an almost lyrical swing to the whole story. Just wonderful.’ – reader review

Devotion by Hannah Kent

‘Anything by Hannah Kent is a must-read for me!’ – reader review

A Town Called Solace by Mary Lawson

‘I was once again moved by Lawson and I could not recommend her novels more.’ – reader review

How to Kill Your Family by Bella Mackie

‘So dark! I couldn’t put it down.’ – reader review

Sorrow and Bliss by Meg Mason

‘So beautiful’ – reader review

The Fell by Sarah Moss

‘Short but beautiful!’ – reader review

The Book of Form & Emptiness by Ruth Ozeki

‘Overwhelming’ – reader review

My Phantoms by Gwendolyn Riley

‘A wonderfully poisonous novel which really nails all the pain that can be contained in dysfunctional mother-daughter relationships.’ – reader review

Beautiful World, Where are You? By Sally Rooney

‘This is a once in a lifetime one, for me.’ – reader review

This One Sky Day by Leone Ross

‘This wondrous tale confidently leads the reader though the stories and lives of its vibrant characters to inspire, enchant and provoke thoughtful reflection.’ – reader review

The Stranding by Kate Sawyer

‘A stunning dystopia’ – reader review

The Island of Missing Trees by Elif Shafak

‘Beautiful descriptions of places, people and events in Cyprus that I’m a little ashamed to say I knew almost nothing about before.’ – reader review

Great Circle by Maggie Shipstead

‘Words cannot really do justice to the scope and ambition of this epic read, which held me in its thrall completely and utterly from start to finish.’ – reader review

Should We Stay or Should We Go by Lionel Shriver

‘Wow. Just wow! Mind-bending.’ – reader review

The Paris Library by Janet Skeslien Charles

‘This book gave me moments of pure happiness, terrible sadness, fear and hope.’ – reader review

Oh William! by Elizabeth Strout

‘A book that captures the everyday lives of people and beautifully captures the details.’ – reader review

Still Life by Sarah Winman

‘Made a huge impression on me… amazing book, very clever ‘ – reader review

The Last House on Needless Street by Catriona Ward

‘Wow what a trippy story’ – reader review

The Dictionary of Lost Words by Pip Williams

‘This book was a pleasure to read.’ – reader review

That is some list and it’s lovely to see some of the 2022 Women’s Prize for Fiction shortlisted novels in there. How many have you read? Head over to the features tab for even more fantastic recommendations!

The Women's Prize Podcast

Tune into host Vick Hope and a line-up of incredible guests on our weekly podcast full of unmissable book recommendations.