10 best summer reads
From Scandi crime noir to family sagas, we got engrossed in page-turners for your holiday
We’ve consulted publishers and book lovers alike to bring you novels – from family sagas to fantasy – that will keep you busy on the beach or by the pool and in-the-know about this summer’s hottest reads - whatever the weather.
1. The Little Paris Bookshop by Nina George: £12.99, littlebrown.co.uk
Jean Perdu’s “literary apothecary” on the Seine is a hub for troubled customers who come in search of soothing tomes, but this uplifting book is about Perdu’s own search for love and contentment. An international best seller, this one will make you happy.
2. Trail of Broken Wings by Sejal Badani: £7.64, amazon.co.uk
Here’s a moving story of fragility, forgiveness and family, told by three daughters and their mother, about the mark domestic violence has made on their lives. This raw, honest tale is one you’ll remember long after your holiday’s over.
3. Blood on Snow by Jo Nesbo: £12.99, vintage-books.co.uk
Jo Nesbo is considered the king of Scandi crime fiction and this short pager-turner shows why. It follows Olav, a hitman who ‘fixes’ anyone who gets in his boss’s way, whose life is complicated when he falls for the wrong woman. Delivered with simplistic brevity, it will wake you up from a siesta.
4. Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee: £9, amazon.co.uk (released 14 July)
Written before To Kill a Mockingbird, yet discovered over 50 years, this revisits the characters twenty years on as they react to the events occurring in America in the mid-1950s. Re-read the original first to re-immerse yourself in Scout and Atticus Finch’s world.
5. Villa America by Liza Klaussmann: £12.99, panmacmillan.com
Imagine being a fly on the wall at a party attended by F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald, Pablo Picasso and Ernest Hemingway. Well, now you can be, thanks to Klaussman’s work starring Gerald and Sara Murphy, the real-life wealthy American couple who entertained the “Lost Generation” at their home on the French Riviera. The 1920s is a seductive era and this tale of love and sacrifice brings it glitteringly alive anew.
6. The Girl In the Spider's Web by David Lagercrantz: £19.99, quercusbooks.co.uk (released August 27)
You’ll have to wait until the August to read the continuation of the late Stieg Larsson’s Millennium series and the lives of Lisbeth Salander and Mikael Blomqvist. Written by Swedish author David Lagercrantz, who went on a plot outline left by Larsson, the details are shrouded in secrecy – we can’t wait.
7. The Well by Catherine Chanter: £12.99, canongate.tv
This dystopian fairy-tale tells the story of Ruth Ardingly and her family during the summer following their purchase of The Well, an unexplainable haven of rainfall within a country that has all but dried up. An apocalyptic tale for our times.
8. The Honours by Tim Clare: £12.99, canongate.tv
Tim Clare’s background in poetry sings from the pages of this dark fantasy novel set in Norfolk in 1936. It follows the extraordinary story of schoolgirl Delphine who becomes an original, irresistible heroine in the secret world she uncovers.
9. An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir: £12.99, harpercollins.co.uk
Game of Thrones fans will relish Tahir’s debut set in a brutal Rome-inspired empire. It follows Laia, a slave and Elias, a young soldier, whose lives are unexpectedly intertwined in this story of freedom, loyalty and love.
10. In The Unlikely Event by Judy Blume: £12.41, panmacmillan.com
If, like us, you grew up with Blume’s books for teenagers, you’ll devour her first adult work in 16 years. The protagonist looks back on a year in the early 1950s when a series of plane crashes changed lives in her New Jersey hometown. Dealing with friendships, family and rites of passage, the characters stick with you.
For an enchanting, uplifting read, try Nina George’s international best-seller The Little Paris Bookshop. It’s the sort of book that acts as a soothing tonic as you read – so the perfect accompaniment to relaxing in the sun. Harper Lee’s Go Set a Watchman may well be as influential as it’s prequel. Order it now so you’re holiday reading ready come mid-July.
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