The first on my list of favorites from 2015 (books I read last year, not necessarily books that were published then) is one I mentioned on this blog last January: The Story of Land and Sea by Katy Simpson Smith.
It was one of the first novels I read in 2015, and the story has stuck with me. Smith has a PhD in history and her masterful knowledge of early American history is subtly woven throughout this slim, powerful book.
In three parts, The Story of Land and Sea tells the story of a man named John living in coastal North Carolina during the long revolutionary period. The glories and the tragedies of the newly-emerging United States are reflected in John’s career as a sailor and then a merchant, and in his private life with his wife Helen, daughter Tabitha, and the enslaved woman Moll.
This is marvelous historical fiction. I can’t wait for Smith’s next novel.