The conclusion, the finish, the culmination, the crescendo, the finale, the denouement; whatever you choose to call it, we all love a really good ending to our novels and can feel let down by rushed, or unexpected ones that feel tacked on to a good story and spoil our whole experience of an otherwise wonderful novel.
In fact so many of you are incensed by a lazy ending that one of our most successful polls to date covered exactly that, The Worst Endings Ever. Fortunately, this time, we’re focusing on the endings that we loved, the ones that left us with a warm glow of satisfaction and a feeling of contentment, or pleasurable shock. Over 450 of you responded to our request for your favourite ending ever and over 100 different titles were mentioned but here we have focused on your top 50 books with the best ending ever. Read, enjoy and let us know if your favourite ending made the list.
A Thousand Splendid Suns – Khaled Hosseini
Khaled Hosseini’s A Thousand Splendid Suns was the choice of over eighty of you. The tale of Mariam, an illegitimate child forced to grow up with the stigma of the circumstances of her birth and Laila, a generation younger and from a completely different background whose lives collide when Laila is forced into marriage with Mariam’s husband, no matter what trial and tribulations you may go through reading this, at least you know you’ll not feel let down when you reach that final page.
The Great Gatsby – F. Scott Fitzgerald
In second place the story of a mysterious man who is determined to get the girl and be damned just how he gets her. A cautionary tale of decadence and idealism the rather violent final few pages are a warning against living an excessively extravagant lifestyle and following the American dream.
Gone with the Wind – Margaret Mitchell
With 66 votes and in third spot is the dramatic story of Scarlett O’Hara, her love interest Rhett and the horrors of the American Civil War. Will she get the guy? Will she live happily ever after? Whichever it is, you all thought it was the perfect ending for this classic.
To Kill A Mockingbird – Harper Lee
Next on your top 50 is Harper Lee’s story of a man wrongly accused, a lawyer willing to stand up for what is right, the damage that the cruelties of one person hellbent on ruining a person’s life can cause, and a little girl’s dream of meeting her reclusive hero to be. The tension that builds up throughout the book is released in a brilliant climax that made Harper Lee a name that will never be forgotten.
Nineteen Eighty-Four – George Orwell
Orwell’s dystopian future where Big Brother watches over everything you do Winston Smith rails against the totalitarian government of Oceania who have banned individuality and pursues a relationship with Julia, of course this brings him to the attention of those in power who then decide to reform this non conformist. Does it end well for Winston? Well if not, 38 of you felt he was due his comeuppance.
Gone Girl – Gillian Flynn
Gone Girl was right at the top of our poll for The 20 Books Voted ‘The Worst Ever Ending’ so however the ending goes, it is obviously divisive and certainly the book must go out with one heck of a bang for it to have left you all with such a difference of opinion.
The Dark Tower (series) – Stephen King
The Dark Tower series by Stephen King must be one of the few books where the author warns you that you probably won’t like the end, gives you numerous opportunities to get while the going is good and even offers you an alternative ‘almost ending’ that would have been perfectly adequate if a little tame when ending a 7 book saga. Of those who pushed past King’s warnings 32 of you were in agreement with me, this is the best ending to a book ever in the history of book endings.
The Grapes of Wrath – John Steinbeck
In eighth we have Steinbeck’s harrowing story of America during the depression and the horrors of life for those migratory workers who, desperate for employment journey to California in the hope of finding jobs end up in camps instead. The Joads struggles are laid out in excruciating detail and the conclusion of the story is probably the only one there could have been without Steinbeck’s readers searching him out and throttling him.
And Then There Were None – Agatha Christie
Our penultimate pick for the featured top ten is probably the best whodunnit there is. Agatha Christie excels in this her best selling novel and the ending whilst exactly what you might expect from Agatha, is utterly brilliant.
Wuthering Heights – Emily Brontë
And the final entry in our top ten is Wuthering Heights, Cathy and Heathcliff’s tumultuous lives are brought to a conclusion with all the required angst and sadness that was a requirement of the era and this seemed to be the absolutely perfect way to say goodbye to Emily’s only novel according to 24 of you.
11. Shutter Island – Dennis Lehane
12. A Tale of Two Cities – Charles Dickens
13. Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen
14. James and the Giant Peach – Roald Dahl
15. Atonement – Ian McEwan
16. Lord of the Rings – J.R.R Tolkien
17. Life of Pi – Yann Martel
18. Water for Elephants – Sara Gruen
19. Shawshank Redemption – Stephen King
20. Harry Potter (series) – JK Rowling
And after the featured top 20, here we take the list to complete the top 50 books:
The French Lieutenant’s Woman – John Fowles
TFIOS – John Green
Jane Eyre – Charlotte Brontë
The Kite Runner – Khaled Hosseini
Voyage of the Dawn Treader – C.S. Lewis
Me Before You – Jojo Moyes
The Mortal Instruments – Cassandra Clare
The Memory Keeper’s Daughter – Kim Edwards
100 Years of Solitude – Gabriel García Márquez
The Alchemist – Paulo Coelho
The Count of Monte Cristo – Alexandre Dumas
Breaking Dawn – Stephenie Meyer
The Book Thief – Markus Zusak
The Notebook – Nicholas Sparks
Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas – Hunter S. Thompson
The Hunger Games – Suzanne Collins
11/22/63 – Stephen King
The Nightingale – Kristin Hannah
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory – Roald Dahl
Crime and Punishment – Fyodor Dostoyevsky
Tuesdays With Morrie – Mitch Albom
One plus One – Jojo Moyes
The Girl With All the Gifts – M.R. Carey
The Pact – Jodi Picoult
The Historian – Elizabeth Kostova
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo – Stieg Larsson
The Choice – Nicholas Sparks
Rebecca – Daphne du Maurier
PS I love You – Cecelia Ahern
A Monster Calls – Patrick Ness
A rather impressive and eclectic list of 50 Books with the Best Ending Ever chosen by you all, wouldn’t you agree?