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The weather’s heating up, the days are getting longer. Even if it’s not sunny, even if it rains all the time (Thank you, Belgium), we still have our summer reads to get us in the summer-mood.
Here are five books I’d recommend.
Tigers in Red Weather – Liza Klaussmann (buy)
Nick and her cousin, Helena, have grown up sharing sultry summer heat, sunbleached boat docks, and midnight gin parties on Martha’s Vineyard in a glorious old family estate known as Tiger House. In the days following the end of the Second World War, the world seems to offer itself up, and the two women are on the cusp of their ‘real lives’: Helena is off to Hollywood and a new marriage, while Nick is heading for a reunion with her own young husband, Hughes, about to return from the war.
Soon the gilt begins to crack. Helena’s husband is not the man he seemed to be, and Hughes has returned from the war distant, his inner light curtained over. On the brink of the 1960s, back at Tiger House, Nick and Helena—with their children, Daisy and Ed—try to recapture that sense of possibility. But when Daisy and Ed discover the victim of a brutal murder, the intrusion of violence causes everything to unravel. The members of the family spin out of their prescribed orbits, secrets come to light, and nothing about their lives will ever be the same.
This book is all about secrets. Everyone has details about their life they’d rather keep hidden. I loved the atmosphere in this book, it felt like I was there on that island. Don’t expect a super in dept murder mystery because that’s not what this is. It’s about a family that doesn’t really get along. About putting on masks to protect yourself. Intrigued? Go on, give it a go…
This is what happy looks like – Jennifer E. Smith (buy)
When a young movie star accidentally sends a small-town girl an email about his pet pig, the two teens strike up a witty correspondence during which they share their views on everything without revealing their actual identities, an episode that causes a relationship to develop which ultimately transforms when the actor chooses the girl’s hometown for the setting of his latest film.
This was cute and fluffy and the story takes place over the summer. I’m not a big contemporary reader but there’s just something about summer and contemporary fiction that makes them fit together perfectly.
Outlander – Diana Gabaldon (buy)
The year is 1945. Claire Randall, a former combat nurse, is just back from the war and reunited with her husband on a second honeymoon when she walks through a standing stone in one of the ancient circles that dot the British Isles. Suddenly she is a Sassenach—an “outlander”—in a Scotland torn by war and raiding border clans in the year of Our Lord…1743.
Hurled back in time by forces she cannot understand, Claire is catapulted into the intrigues of lairds and spies that may threaten her life, and shatter her heart. For here James Fraser, a gallant young Scots warrior, shows her a love so absolute that Claire becomes a woman torn between fidelity and desire—and between two vastly different men in two irreconcilable lives.
I’m putting this on my list because I started reading it while on holiday in the Provence. I FLEW through it. I haven’t read any of the other books in this series since but I really enjoyed this one! If you want something you can immerse yourself in, this might be the one.
The Secret Life of Bees – Sue Monk Kidd (buy)
Set in South Carolina in 1964, The Secret Life of Bees tells the story of Lily Owens, whose life has been shaped around the blurred memory of the afternoon her mother was killed. When Lily’s fierce-hearted black “stand-in mother,” Rosaleen, insults three of the deepest racists in town, Lily decides to spring them both free. They escape to Tiburon, South Carolina–a town that holds the secret to her mother’s past. Taken in by an eccentric trio of black beekeeping sisters, Lily is introduced to their mesmerizing world of bees and honey, and the Black Madonna. This is a remarkable novel about divine female power, a story women will share and pass on to their daughters for years to come
This.is.such.a.great.book!!! I LOVED this book when I read it and I can still see myself sitting in the sun being completely overwhelmed by this story. If you haven’t read it yet, you’re missing out!
Station Eleven – Emily St. John Mandel (buy)
One snowy night a famous Hollywood actor slumps over and dies onstage during a production of King Lear. Hours later, the world as we know it begins to dissolve. Moving back and forth in time—from the actor’s early days as a film star to fifteen years in the future, when a theater troupe known as The Travelling Symphony roams the wasteland of what remains—this suspenseful, elegiac, spellbinding novel charts the strange twists of fate that connect five people: the actor, the man who tried to save him, the actor’s first wife, his oldest friend, and a young actress with the Traveling Symphony, caught in the crosshairs of a dangerous self-proclaimed prophet. Sometimes terrifying, sometimes tender, Station Eleven tells a story about the relationships that sustain us, the ephemeral nature of fame, and the beauty of the world as we know it.
If you would like something more thrilling to read on those hot summer days, this is one to put on your list. I know that a lot of people have already read this one but I couldn’t not include it. This is a beautiful dystopian story about the different ways someone can ‘survive’. It’s also the next book for Sanne‘s #EndOfTheWorldBookClub , you might want to check that one out 😉