Six books as delicious as the summer sun
September 25th 2021
When even a twinkle of British summer sun peeks out from behind the clouds, all we want to do is grab a picnic rug and book which will whisk us away. Whether your summer sees you at home or holiday, here are six sensational books to make your summer sizzle.
For the hills…
Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia
For fans of Gothic horror, a spooky story set in 1950s Mexico.
High House, a remote mansion in the Mexican countryside, is home to its fair share of secrets. Glamorous socialite Noemi Taboada doesn’t quite know what’s going on there but with the frantic pleas coming from her cousin, she’s pretty determined to find out…
This has got everything you want a true gothic novel to have: the spooky mansion, the mysterious man, the dark secrets. It’s a thrilling, subversive and page-turning read – ominous in atmosphere and unnerving in its ability to stay with you long after the last page. It’s not a book for everyone, but those who love gothic or horror will find in this the perfect book to accompany their summer reading.
For the beach….
Murder on Mustique by Anne Glenconner
A deliciously escapist Caribbean murder mystery.
Mustique, the Caribbean island frequented by Princess Margaret, is home to its fair share of scandal – but murder was never meant to be part of the story. So when starlet Amanda Fortini goes missing, Lady Vee steps in to unravel the clues…but could solving the case actually threaten everything she holds dear?
This is a page turner of simply brilliant quality and the perfect read for anyone wanting to escape to the Caribbean, in mind at least. Glenconner brings such vibrancy and atmosphere to the book: we can smell the ocean, hear the cicadas and taste the vodka martinis in this wonderful portrayal of drama on the private island which in real life was once the holiday spot of Princess Margaret and her famous friends. It’s a fantastic premise that a Lady In Waiting – a woman whose role is to be perceptive, accurate and precise – turns detective à la Miss Marple. Anne Glenconner may have written this, her debut novel, at 87 years of age but it is a truly masterful murder mystery.
For the city break…
Philippa Gregory by Dark Tides
From the master of historical fiction comes a sweeping story of love and greed in the seventeenth century.
Restoration London, the golden streets of Venice and the hotly contested frontier of early America: a story of greed and desire – for love, wealth, for a child and for a home.
If you’re a fan of historical fiction, there doesn’t really come much better than Number One bestselling Philippa Gregory – for her sense of place, ability to draw characters and take you on an epic journey. Packed with twists and turns, with stories of betrayal, defiance and longing, this is a powerful, absorbing, luxurious read. Wherever you spend your summer reading this book, you’ll be whisked away to the most richly drawn places in this novel and find yourself caught up in the passions of its characters. Don’t worry if you haven’t read Tidelands, this gorgeous book stands alone.
For the 'Staycation'...
Olive by Emma Gannon
The debut novel from the woman behind the Ctrl Alt Delete phenomenon.
Thirty-something women have a lot of decisions to make. And when the friends around them are headed in one direction, it can leave some asking: am I lost or do I just want something different?
This brilliant novel is a mirror for any woman who has ever wondered whether she’s making the right decisions in life – and whether she’s even got real control over her decisions to start with. It’s funny, warm, and thought-provoking and brilliant on challenging assumptions and expectations. More than anything, it’s such a human novel – Olive and the challenges she faces are so relatable, so well-drawn by the author. If you’re sick of stories about the glory of motherhood, this will be a breath of fresh air.
For farmhouses and sunlit countryside...
Mr Wilder and Me by Jonathan Coe
From the bestselling author of Middle England, a gorgeous, funny coming of age story.
Calista is a young girl standing on the precipice of adulthood - yet to fall in love, yet to find her passion - when she’s thrown headfirst into the starry world of film director Billy Wilder. Ahead lies a summer of adventure, food, extraordinary stories and friendships that will change her life forever.
Pour yourself a glass of red and pull up a wheel of brie because this glorious, gorgeous book is totally transporting: the perfect escape into sunshine, romance, good food and a brilliant story. It’s richly evocative of time and place and full of warmth, joy, flavour and sunshine. A beautiful coming of age novel is balanced with a nuanced depiction of the long shadows cast on the psyche of European refugees after the Second World War. And the way that the book handles the delicate, powerful love between mother and daughter couldn’t be more moving. A total joy.
For anyone dreaming of (or in) France…
Fresh Water for Flowers by Valerie Perrin
The international No.1, million copy bestseller has arrived in paperback.
Violett Toussaint is somewhat obstinately attached to happiness. Caretaker at a cemetery in a small town in Bourgorgne, her life revolves around the comings and goings of visitors, gravediggers and priests. But when a police chief turns up one day with some ashes to scatter, Violett finds herself on the brink of confronting her past…
An ode to love, grief, loss and beautiful memories, this is a stunning and deeply moving book. Violett is a woman who has been let down by others her whole life but who lives life with such a bittersweet grace, such gratitude and compassion. It’s a beautiful and poetic novel about the things that matter in life – and perhaps a weepy one to enjoy under the sun. Anyone who loves Matt Haig for his thoughtfulness on life and how we live it, will absolutely adore this book.
Whichever book you sink into this summer, we hope you love it just as much as we do.
Vicki & The LoveMyRead Team x