Whether or not you are able to head for the beach this year, summer is the time for so-called beach reads, isn’t it? I have selected a few of my favorites for you to devour on holiday or at home dreaming of sunnier climes. Here are my five best beach reads for 2020.
The Weekend by Charlotte Wood
Sylvie, Jude, Wendy and Adele have a lifelong friendship of the best kind: loving, practical, frank and steadfast. But when Sylvie dies, the ground shifts dangerously for the remaining three.
These women couldn’t be more different: Jude, a once-famous restaurateur with a spotless life and a long-standing affair with a married man; Wendy, an acclaimed feminist intellectual; Adele, a former star of the stage, now practically homeless.
Struggling to recall exactly why they’ve remained close all these years, the grieving women gather for one last weekend at Sylvie’s old beach house. But fraying tempers, an elderly dog, unwelcome guests and too much wine collide in a storm that brings long-buried hurts to the surface – a storm that will either remind them of the bond they share, or sweep away their friendship for good.
I haven’t yet read this novel, but it sounds intriguing to me. I also love the cover, and the reviews I’ve read are all favorable. So I’m taking a bit of a risk in recommending this book to you. Feel free to let me know in the comments below if you like it – or not!
The Day She Came Back by Amanda Prowse
When her grandmother dies suddenly, eighteen-year-old Victoria is bereft. Both of her parents died of drug overdoses when she was a baby, and she has no other family. How will she manage to live in her grandma’s sprawling house on the outskirts of London on her own? Just organizing the funeral takes all her strength and she has to lean on her own best friend, and her family, just to get through the day. The lonely life she sees ahead of her frightens and perplexes her.
As if losing her beloved grandma wouldn’t be hard enough, Victoria is thrown into a heart-rendering situation when a woman turns up at the funeral, claiming to know her by a different name, Victory.
Still a teenager, Victoria has to deal with old deeply buried secrets, which means she has to question everything that has gone before and deal with a totally different future she had imagined for herself.
You may have guessed from the excerpt of my review above that this isn’t a traditional beach read, (you can read it in full on Goodreads) but it’s still a great book for the holidays whether you spend it by the seaside or at home lounging on the sofa in front of a cozy fire.
28 Summers by Elin Hilderbrand
I cried buckets when reading the latest offering by this US author. I’ve loved nearly every book I’ve read by Hilderbrand, ‘The Godmother of Beach Reads’, but I think this one is now my favorite.
For the past 28 years, Mallory and Jake have met in Nantucket to rekindle a passionate affair they began decades ago. They both have partners, even marriages, still, they keep meeting up on Labor Day weekend, come what may.
Each twelve-month period between the Rendez-Vous, bring fresh challenges separately for the pair. We follow the loves of all the people involved with Mallory and Jake. The reader is kept on tenterhooks whether their secret is revealed, or whether they will miss a year.
I loved the period descriptions as well as the various relationships between the main characters. With several points of view, the reader can delve deeply into the characters’ motivations, likes and dislikes – loves and hates.
You cannot go wrong with picking up any of Elin Hilderbrand’s books for a beach read, and 28 Summers is no exception.
The Woman in the Frame by JJ Marsh
Those of you who read my blog regularly know that I’m a huge fan of this next author. And as luck would have it, JJ Marsh has written a book set in one of the hugely popular summer destinations in Europe, Mallorca! Perfect for a little escapism …
Crystalline Mediterranean waters lap the rocky northern coast of Mallorca, blessing the town of Deià with blood-orange sunsets, balmy night skies and the legacy of a poet.
This former artists’ colony now attracts the rich and famous looking to party in privacy. It’s the perfect place for a honeymoon until your morning coffee is interrupted by a dead body.
Who would want to murder the muse of a world-famous artist?
Enter Beatrice Stubbs, ex-Scotland Yard detective turned private investigator, who never rejects a job if it involves good food and fine wine.
Someone – an esoteric church leader, a wild-eyed ex-muse, the woman who forgets nothing, the artist’s agent or that covetous neighbour – knows what really happened and why.
But when locals and incomers point the finger at one another, how can Beatrice distinguish between lies, truth and artistic licence?
A little knowledge can be a dangerous thing.
Murder in Avignon by Susan Kiernan-Lewis
Another author whose books I buy as soon as they are out is Susan Kiernan-Lewis. Reading the latest installment of her Maggie Newberry series, set in Provance, is part of my holiday routine. (If I can wait, and not sneak a read in before we even leave home.)
Susan Kiernan-Lewis’ latest novel, Murder in Avignon, doesn’t disappoint. As well as the obligatory case for the intrepid Maggie, these books also follow the love and lives of her ruggedly handsome French vintner husband, their three children and assorted friends.
With each book, you get to know the characters a little more and in the end, it feels as if you are visiting a set of very good friends while reading the stories. For me, these murder mysteries are just pure escapist relaxation! Who wouldn’t want to live on a vineyard with a handsome Frenchman, while investigating murders in the vicinity?
Every great play needs a drama queen. Preferably alive.
The French city of Avignon is known for many things: its Papal Palace, the annual summer theatre festival, its Medieval bridge of nursery rhyme fame…and now murder.
When a popular actress is killed during Avignon’s famous summer theater festival, all the evidence points to the police needing a fast resolution–regardless of the truth. It will be up to Maggie to find the killer who wanted the city’s most popular actress dead—and before he turns his attention on her.
As Maggie desperately scours this beautiful medieval city for clues to uncover the killer’s identity it soon becomes clear that failing will put her center stage with her most ruthless adversary yet–with the final curtain about to come crashing down on everything she holds dear.
I hope you enjoy traveling through these books to lovely summery destinations, even if you can’t get to the beach or other holiday locations this year! Getting yourself a beach read is the next best thing …
Would you like a free short story?
The Day We Met is a prequel story to my Love on the Island Nordic fiction series.
Bored during a medical conference at Uppsala University, near Stockholm, British doctor Liam skips a lecture in favor of a quiet coffee. When he sees a leggy blond head for his table in the busy student canteen, he’s instantly smitten.
With a migraine hovering at her temples, the last thing Alicia wants is to make conversation. But she can’t resist the English doctor’s charming manner and infectious smile.
Join my Readers’ Group and get a free copy of The Day We Met today!