21 Jul 10 of the Best Top Summer Reads!
Like everyone else, I’ve had to forego trips abroad this year, but I haven’t let go of my beach reading – and thanks to some glorious weather here in Dundee these past few days, I’ve been catching some sunshine while I do it.
There are so many lovely summery books to choose from – I’ve already written about some of them in The People’s Friend Summer Special and My Weekly Summer Special – but here are some more of my recommendations, out this month and next.
An Endless Cornish Summer by Phillipa Ashley
Newly-recovered from a life-threatening illness, Rose wants nothing more than to say thank you to the generous bone marrow donor who has given her a new lease of life. Following the few clues she has, her quest to find that person takes her to the little Cornish fishing village of Falford, where she is soon drawn into local life.
When she meets Finn and Joey Morvah, she realises one of the brothers could be the man she is looking for – but things are too complicated to come out and ask them straight. She’ll have to get to know them first – no hardship when they’re equally handsome!
A gorgeous romantic tale that evokes the spirit of Cornwall and the strength of the human spirit in equal measure.
Chasing The Italian Dream by Jo Thomas
This romantic escape to Italy is a feast for the senses in all ways, as Lucia makes her annual visit to her grandparents home in Italy, only to learn that Nonno and Nonna plan to pass on the family pizzeria to her ex-husband Giacomo!
Aghast at the thought of losing all family tradition, and disillusioned with her corporate life back home, Lucia offers to take over the pizzeria herself.
Soon she and Giacomo are working side by side in competition to prove their worth as Nonno’s successors – but will proximity in the pizzeria alienate them further, or reignite the spark that attracted them to each other in the first place?
With a romance that sizzles like a pizza on the peel, this is a super summer read!
You and Me on Vacation by Emily Henry
Poppy Wright and Alex Nilsen are complete opposites – she’s zany, outgoing and loves to travel and meet people while Alex is introverted, serious and wants nothing more than to settle down and raise a family. When the two first meet they don’t even like each other – but you know what they say about opposites attract …
The friends’ story is told through a series of holidays they take together. As we get to know them, we see just how right they are for each other. But will either of them realise it?
This was such a warm, funny hug of a book! Both Poppy and Alex are brilliant characters, and their relationship is explored in a series of madcap escapades that are as entertaining as they are hilarious. And yet within the narrative runs a deep emotional core as their feelings for each other are explored.
The Never Ending Summer by Emma Kennedy
The parents of 20-year-old Agnes and her best friend, Bea think they’re holidaying in Europe but in reality they’re out on the town in London, looking for adventure, love and sex – and not necessarily in that order! For this is 1971, the age of female emancipation and the brave new world of the sexual revolution.
A series of escapades follow as Agnes and Bea take on various temp jobs. It’s all great fun – but it can’t last of course, and a shocking event threatens to put an end to their adventures, and worse, an end to their friendship.
An exploration of love and friendship, The Never Ending Summer is an often funny, sometimes heart-breaking and always emotional roller-coaster ride
Looking for the Durrells by Melanie Hewitt (out August 5)
Brought up on the Durrell family’s madcap antics, Penny flees the heartbreak of her father’s death and a broken engagement for the solace of Corfu, the Greek island where the famous Durrell family once made their home.
As she follows in their footsteps around the island, visiting their familiar haunts, she makes friends, just as they did, with locals and ex-pats alike – but will she find as much happiness as they did on the island?
With characters mirroring the Durrells, like young animal-daft young Theo (a ringer for Gerald Durrell), handsome marine biologists Nic Constantine and brooding but very sexy sea captain Dimitris, the scene is set for fun, heartbreak, healing and romance!
A Very French Wedding by Maeve Haran
Ooh la la! Steph, Jo and Meredith may be in France, but they’ve no time for leisure – not with a romantic chateau to restore and transform into a wedding venue offering lucky brides and grooms their dream day.
Fortunately, there is help on hand from local villagers, and when handsome chef Phillippe and his son Christophe enter the mix, all the ingredients for romance come together before the first guests even arrive!
Great characters and a fast-paced plot from the assured pen of Maeve Haran make this an engrossing, romantic read.
Agatha Christie Midsummer Mysteries
Oh, this is the perfect beach read! A series of summer-themed short stories from the Queen of Crime herself that are easy to pick up and put down from the comfort of your sunlounger.
Poirot puts in an appearance, as does Harley Quin (I’d almost forgotten this marvellous Christie creation) along with Tommy and Tuppence Beresford and the inimitable Miss Marple in a collection of finely plotted crime tales that take us from Cornwall to Egypt, from Delphi to the prosaic sounding Kimpton-on-Sea.
Expect murder and mayhem, humour and wit, and some truly wicked plot twists!
Under The Italian Sun by Sue Moorcroft
This lovely romantic novel from one of my favourite writers offers a virtual escape to the vineyards of Umbria, where heroine Zia is searching for answers to long-held family secrets.
Her quest takes her to the outskirts of the little town of Montelibra, where her hosts, Durante and Lucia, may be able to provide some answers about her unknown father.
As Zia becomes involved in their lives, the truth about her past becomes clearer, but her future starts to become more complicated when she finds herself falling for their very sexy neighbour, Piero.
A light romantic read, with a mystery at its core, this is the perfect book for sunny days.
The Summer Seekers by Sarah Morgan
When 80-year-old Kathleen decides to fulfil her bucket-wish list of travelling Route 66 from Chicago to California, her daughter Liza is horrified, Undeterred, Kathleen engages the driving services of a young woman, Martha, and sets off on her biggest adventure!
Told from the different viewpoints of Kathleen, Martha and Liza, the narrative explores the challenging issues in their lives – Kathleen, not good at showing her emotions, is becoming aware of her own selfishness, while Liza, too selfless by half, is taken for granted by her husband and daughters. Underneath her bright and breezy exterior, Martha is a seething mass of insecurities. Can the three women help each other live their best lives?
The story emphasises the importance of being true to yourself and to your dreams, and of never turning your back on opportunities – whether you choose to travel Route 66 or stay at home, you can still take control of your life journey.
Sunny Days and Sea Breezes by Carole Matthews
When successful interior designer Jodie Jackson’s personal life falls apart, her brother Bill offers her refuge on his houseboat “Sunny Days” on the Isle of Wight. There, Jodie plans to lick her wounds in peace and private, come to terms with her husband’s betrayal and deal with the other great unspoken tragedy in her life.
But she’s reckoned without Bill’s cheery housekeeper Marilyn, and sculptor Ned who lives on Sea Breezes, the houseboat that bobs alongside Bill’s.
Soon Jodie is drawn into their local community, and discovering the joys of island life. When it’s time to return to London and to reality, will she be able to leave her new friends and growing closeness to Ned behind?
This is a wonderful summer read – who wouldn’t be beguiled by the romance of houseboat living? – with strong, sympathetic characters. The houseboat may be moored, but still it takes the reader on a strong emotional trip with tears, laughter, fun and friendship along the way.
I hope you enjoy my summer reading choices. All the above books (apart from the Agatha Christie, which is hardback) are available as paperbacks and ebooks from Amazon and bookshops.