Just picture it: you’re lying on a sandy beach, the sun shining down on you, a cool drink in one hand and a great book in the other.
But there’s just one question – which book is it?
A decent beach read can be hard to find – you need one easy-going enough to make sure your brain isn’t working too hard on holiday, but meaty enough to last a whole day in the sun.
And with suitcase space at a premium, that all important book needs to fit the bill perfectly.
We’ve scoured the summer reading lists to come up with five holiday-ready hits.
From chick-lit with a sophisticated edge to moody thrillers, here are our summer picks.
Carrie Soto is Back by Taylor Jenkins Reid (Hutchinson)
Taylor Jenkins Reid isfast emerging as the go-to novelist for smart, sophisticated beach reads – her previous novel, Malibu Rising, was the stealth hit of last year.
This highly anticipated latest is the story of Carrie, a legendary tennis player prompted to come out of retirement at the age of 37 when a British player beats her record of 20 grand slam titles.
If you’re still in mourning for Wimbledon, this is the novel for you.
The Family Remains by Lisa Jewell (Century)
The queen of compulsively readable psychological thrillers returns with another up-all-night page-turner, once again combining her signature brand of social realism with gravity-defying plot twists.
When a bag of human bones is discovered on the foreshore of the Thames, the detective in charge of the case is surprised to find among them the seeds of a rare tree.
Events leads him on a twisty trail to a historical murder in which three people were found massacred in a Chicago mansion 30 years ago as a baby lay awake upstairs. A novel full of family secrets.
The Wilderness by Sarah Duguid (Tinder Press)
Two teenage girls are adrift in a boat somewhere off the coast of Scotland.
Something has gone terribly wrong but you’ll have to wait quite a while to find out exactly what in this pungently atmospheric novel about a married couple who have to abruptly uproot to a Scottish island to look after their two nieces, whose parents have been killed in a car accident.
Be warned, the beautiful descriptions of the landscape and the wildlife it is home to may well tempt you to do the same.
Square One by Nell Frizzell (Bantam Press)
On paper, Nell Frizzell’s new book sounds the stuff of chick lit, with its story of Hannah, appalled to find herself still single and childless at the age of 30 while her friends are posting wedding invites and sharing pregnancy scans.
Yet Frizzell is a more sophisticated writer than that genre implies and Square One shares a similar space to recent hit books by Daisy Buchanan and Meg Mason.
A smart and witty portrait of modern female relationships.
Under The Same Stars by Alexandra Heminsley (Little, Brown)
Alexandra Heminsley already has a following thanks to her non-fiction books about running, wild swimming and the gender transition of her former partner, with whom she co-parents their son.
Her debut novel is the story of a young woman who discovers she has a stepsister and goes to Norway to find her. Heminsley has form in exploring the relationship between women’s bodies and the landscape, as well as complicated family dynamics.
This promises to be a corker.
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