During the summer months, we hear lots of chatter about “beach reads.” Those light, uncomplicated books where we skip through the pages. We don’t have to work hard to focus on characters and plot lines.
Sometimes, that’s exactly the type of book I crave. A delicious story I dissolve into while lounging on the porch or patio. But, often, I want more. I want to learn a little about actual events while an intriguing story unspools.
Whatever your preference, I hope one of these novels is the perfect summer read for you.
A few weeks ago, while toddler-sitting, I settled into an evening routine. I’d tuck my granddaughter into bed, pour myself a glass of rosé, and escape into this easy, breezy summer read. My favorite “beach read” of the season so far.
But Leonard – Leah’s father, Vivian’s husband – disagrees. At Hollander Estates, the successful winery he founded in New York state, he dismisses any change as reckless and unnecessary.
Besides, a winery is a man’s world, and the women in his family don’t need to worry their pretty heads about spreadsheets and grapes and deliveries.
Readers soon learn appearances are deceiving. Behind the doors of their grand estate, life for this picture-perfect family isn’t all it seems.
And everyone longs for what they don’t have.
Cheers to a fun read!
Louise, Betty, and Helen cling to the same dream. They all hope to represent the U.S. at the 1936 Olympics in Berlin, Nazi Germany.
With some skipping around between time periods and characters, this historical fiction novel was difficult to follow at times. But that didn’t make it any less enthralling.
The three athletes faced a surplus of obstacles. Some of the scenarios were hard to believe and tough to swallow. I confess I skipped ahead to the author’s notes. I wanted to confirm these events had happened and were not imagined to enhance the story.
And I discovered they were real.
When I enjoy a book, I like to explore other works by the author. And I now look forward to reading The Other Alcott, also by Ms. Hooper. This story revolves around art, ambition, and the actual women behind Little Women’s March sisters.
“It’s exhausting trying to be the person you think you want to be, when all you really want is to be happy being the person you are.”
Three couples, all friends, jet to Portugal for a seaside wedding weekend. Before their plane is in the air, the lies and betrayals and secrets emerge.
A reminder that – behind our shiny exteriors – we all have a story. And we shouldn’t be too quick to judge.
After relaxing with this novel, I plan to add this London author’s The Other Woman to my reading list. Now out in paperback, The Other Woman was a New York Times bestseller and a Reese Witherspoon book club pick.
“Only one night at sea,” the brochure boasted.
If you’ve traveled to Savannah, Georgia, you’ve admired the weeping willow trees. You’ve fallen in love with the city’s charm, elegance, and history. And you’ve endured the heat and humidity and mosquitoes.
Back in the 1800s, Savannah’s wealthy residents sought refuge from the brutal southern summers. Many headed north to cooler destinations.
In 1838, passengers boarded the Pulanski. The luxury steamship would gather more passengers in Charleston and then make its way to Baltimore and summer homes. Along the route, a boiler exploded, and entire families perished at sea.
Without enough lifeboats onboard, this tragedy – dubbed the Southern Titanic – changed maritime law. Some characters in this novel are real, some imagined. All facts regarding the Pulaski are true.
Almost 200 years after the disaster – as Ms. Henry wrote this meticulously researched historical fiction novel – divers discovered the wreck.
In my opinion, a five-star read.
“Given the right set of circumstances, even normal people are capable of heinous acts.”
In this exaggerated, wild ride of a story, it’s almost impossible to imagine any intelligent adult behaving as these Seattle parents do. But take a close look. See if you don’t recognize bits and pieces of unbelievable behavior from people you know. Or even yourself.
Susie Orman Schnall described this novel as “Big Little Lies meets the college admissions scandal.” Hold on tight. For these over-the-top parents, all that matters is their teenage children are accepted to the college of their dreams – the parents’ dreams.
Breezy, light, and uncomplicated, the book rolls along in a Rush (by Lisa Patton) or Kevin Kwan’s Crazy Rich Asians sort of way.
True confession – I didn’t love it. I felt like I should love it. Voracious readers whose opinions I trust loved it. All that aside, I still blazed happily through the book.
Look for the upcoming series on Discovery.
“Anything is possible if you want it badly enough.”
Olive hailed from small-town Minnesota. Hers was a family of planners and organizers, with routines and set dinnertimes. Even the meals they ate rotated on a schedule.
She craved variety and excitement and novelty. She longed to sing and dance to adoring crowds each night.
At the Ziegfeld Follies, she got her wish. Amid the glamour and mayhem of New York City’s Roaring Twenties, Olive lived the raucous life of her dreams. A lifestyle her parents opposed for the “nice girl” they’d raised.
Olive thinks she knows exactly what she wants. But sometimes we change. And we end up desiring something completely different.
I was lucky to get an advanced copy of this book, and I couldn’t wait to shout its praises to others. Since it arrives in the world on August 10, this is the perfect time to put it on hold at your local library.
Do you read more in the summer or winter months? Are you a fan of “beach reads” or lighter books? Any recent books you’ve read and can recommend to our community?
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