Best beach reads for the summer

Looking to relax with a good book? We've got you covered.

Whether you’re jetting off to the other side of the world, or just driving up the coast, your holiday luggage just wouldn’t be complete without a good book (or several).

If you love spending a day on the beach buried in a novel, or want to kill some time while travelling, we’ve put together the top 10 best holiday reads for you to dig your literary teeth into this summer.

Me Before You
Jojo Moyes

You may have seen some posters of this one dotted around everywhere recently. The movie adaptation, starring Emilia Clarke of Game of Thrones fame, has rocketed this book back up the best-seller list. It is definitely one of the must-reads for this summer.

It tells the story of Lou Clark a bright but unambitious woman who is caring for Will Traynor, a quadriplegic who was previously a career man with a very active lifestyle, before being hit by a car. Their relationship brings out the best in one another … however, do be prepared to ugly-cry right on the beach.

The Girl on the Train
Paula Hawkins

This thriller follows Rachel, an overweight, divorced alcoholic, who takes the same train everyday into London and back. The train stops at the same signal each morning and Rachel obsessively watches a couple, the perfect couple, with the perfect life – at least in Rachel’s head. Until she see’s the perfect wife kissing a man who is not her husband, and a day later, the paper reports she’s gone missing.

This is another book that’s about to get it’s big screen adaptation, but it’s probably best to read the book first … they’re always better!

Hugh Howey

The outside world is a toxic wasteland and what’s left of humanity is confined to an underground silo. There is a carefully balanced power structure and rhythm to their self sufficiency. The only rules? Don’t ask about the past, don’t mention the uprising, and don’t talk about going outside … you might just get exactly what you wish for.

This book paints a wonderfully detailed picture of a dystopian future and captures the imagination from the start. And if you love the book as much as we did you’ll be pleased to hear it’s the first part of a trilogy.

I See You
Claire Mackintosh

Zoe Walker sees her photo in the classifieds of a London newspaper and is determined to find out how it got there. There isn’t much to go off, there’s no explanation and the ad is just a grainy image and a phone number. The next day the same ad has a photo of a different woman. Is it a mistake, or is someone following her every move?

Follow up to the hugely successful ‘I Let You Go’, ‘I See You’ is a psychological thriller that will make you think twice about how much information you share online.

The Trouble with Goats and Sheep
Joanne Cannon

Mrs Creasey is missing and her neighbours, 10 year olds Grace and Tilly are determined to find her. In a classic child-logic move, the two girls decide they must first find God in order to find their missing neighbour, and where best to start than by going door to door?

Set in the summer of 1976, this left-field whodunnit gives a perfect portrait of 1970s life.

The Taming of the Queen
Phillipa Gregory

Kateryn Parr is a 30 year old widow in a secret affair when Henry VIII commands her to marry him. Kateryn is acutely aware of the danger she faces as the King buried four of his previous wives. But eventually her trust in him grows, she succeeds in reuniting the royal family, creates a radical study circle in the heart of court and rules the kingdom as Regent.

Phillipa Gregory is the master of the Tudor fiction novel, her latest in the series based on the wives of Henry VIII paints an intimate portrait of his sixth (and final) spouse.

The Decent Proposal
Kemper Donovan

An L.A. romance novel just wouldn’t be complete without a struggling Hollywood producer. Richard, who falls exactly into that stereotype, has all the boyish charm and self-confidence you’d expect. Elizabeth, however, is a ruthless corporate lawyer who’s only focus is on making partner. Their paths collide in an unconventional way, an anonymous benefactor offers a million dollars in exchange for going on one date a week together, for a year.

Both agree that the plan seems ridiculous, but for a million dollars why not?

I Almost Forgot about You
Terry McMillan

Georgia Young, an optometrist in her early 50s, has sent her daughters off to college and finds herself lost and vaguely dissatisfied with her life. Filled with the desire to reinvent herself, she ups sticks and leaves on the quest for happiness … and perhaps love?

From the bestselling author of ‘How Stella got her Groove Back’ and ‘Waiting to Exhale’ comes a very relatable novel for all those who ever wonder … what if?

Black-Eyed Susans
Julia Hearberlin

As a teenager Tessa Cartwright was found in a field, barely alive, amongst a scattering of bones with only fragments of a memory as to how she got there. The only surviving victim of a serial killer, Tessa was nicknamed ‘Black-Eyed Susan’ after the carpet of wild flowers that covered the shared grave of the other victims.

Her testimony put a man on death row. But, almost two decades later, Tessa finds a freshly planted patch of black-eyed Susans outside her bedroom window. Is this a message from a killer that should be safely behind bars?

The Girls
Emma Cline

Evie Boyd spots a group of girls in the park, dirty and dumpster diving, she is nevertheless enamoured by their free-spirited lifestyle.

Set in Northern California during the 1960s,  Evie finds herself drawn into the soon-to-be infamous cult of the Manson family. Her obsession grows the more time she spends on the ranch, but little does she know she’s been set on the path to unthinkable violence.

Reportedly Cline was given a two million dollar advance in order to write the novel and it’s been receiving critical acclaim since it’s release in June. And let’s face it, who isn’t mildly fascinated by cults?

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Abbie Dickinson


  1. Laura wrote on

    Currently gripped by I See You. Loved Me Before You too. One of my favourite books ever.

  2. Nicola wrote on

    Love this blog, so informative, great eclectic mix of genres, so I’m off to buy my next read. Thanks.

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