Wey hey! The summer holidays are almost upon us. Personally I love nothing more than lying on a lounger soaking up the sun getting lost in a good book. 🙂
I know many of you are the same. And as I keep getting asked for holiday reading recommendations I thought it would be good to summarise the top summer reads (in my opinion) that have just been released or due to be published very soon.
So here they are! 🙂
Those Who Are Loved by Victoria Hislop
As I’m sure you all know, Victoria Hislop is the author of the bestselling and award winning The Island. And I’ve got exciting news for you all – her new book Those Who Are Loved is published today; and let me tell you – it is brilliant, utterly brilliant!
Those Who Are Loved is a poignant story detailing the turbulent and painful history of Greece – the German occupation during World War II, the subsequent military dictatorship and civil war that split families apart.
Disgusted with her fellow Greeks that collaborated with the Nazis, Themis is driven to fight for the communists. Although she believes in the communist cause, Themis’s actions during the civil war will haunt her for the rest of her life. She is eventually caught and imprisoned on the notorious islands of exile, Makronisos and Trikeri.
I’m not going to lie, as a reader I struggled with some of Themis’s choices but I also really empathised with her. Seeped in rich historic detail, this a raw portrayal of Greece’s painful past. I love history and I love Greece (it’s one of my favourite holiday destinations and I’ve been loads of times) but I never knew about the country’s turbulent past. That’s the great thing about historic fiction; it educates you. And Those Who Are Loved is poignant yet touching; it is historic fiction at its best.
Those Who Are Loved is published by Headline Review today, 30 May 2019.
Bonnie and Stan by Anna Stuart
Okay, I’m going to be honest with you – I’ve not finished Bonnie and Stan yet, but oh, it’s a cracking read. And it even features Cilla Black! Yes, you read right – a young Cilla Black has a small part in this moving story, when she worked in the cloak room of the legendary Cavern Club before she became famous.
This is the story of Bonnie and Stan who met and fell in love in Liverpool in the swinging sixties. Over fifty years on happily married with children and grand children, they are still in love. However their world comes crashing down when Stan is diagnosed with terminal cancer. Stan is so worried about leaving Bonnie on her own that he starts internet dating; but not for himself. Stan loves Bonnie that much that he desperately wants to find her love once he has gone.
At the moment, I genuinely don’t know what’s the outcome for Bonnie and Stan is as I am only half way through. But this is such a moving, compelling story, I can’t wait to find out. And you can too as Bonnie and Stan is published by Trapeze (Orion Publishing) today, 30 May 2019.
Sea of Bones by Deborah O’Donoghue
Sea of Bones is a simmering psychological thriller set against a backdrop of political intrigue. It reels you in and keeps you hooked right to the end.
Juliet is the Chief of Staff of feminist political party, Progressive Alliance. When her beloved niece Beth mysteriously dies, she is grief stricken and takes leave from her job in London to be in the Highlands with her family. Yet there are things about Beth’s death that don’t seem to add up and Juliet can’t let them go.
Hence Juliet starts to unravel some dark and dangerous truths that will put her in jeopardy and all she holds dear.
This is a stunning debut thriller set mainly in Moray in the Scottish Highlands. Deborah O’Donoghue told me that she chose Moray as she wanted to set it somewhere in the UK, somewhere with that Scandi feel and sense of isolation. Believe me, she achieves this; creating a chilling, atmospheric edge that skillfully moves the story along.
I will be interviewing Deborah O’Donoghue which will feature on my blog the same day that Sea of Bones is published on 1 July 2019 – so watch this space.
In the meantime, go out and pre-order your copy of this brilliant but unsettling read. Sea of Bones will be published by Legend Press.
The Carer by Deborah Moggach
The Carer is the stunning new novel from the author of The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel. It is charming, full of wit with an unbelievable twist. I fell in love with each of its characters and I was totally devastated when I finished it. The Carer is definitely one of my top reads of the whole year!
Mainly told from the point of view of middle-aged siblings Robert and Phoebe, they employ Mandy to care for their elderly widowed father. Initially the brother and sister find Mandy an absolute godsend.
Throughout their upbringing, their father seemed distant, with both Phoebe and Robert feeling they were never quite good enough for their highly intelligent, left-wing academic father. Yet as their father bonds with Mandy (who voices some right-wing views) over soap operas and Pointless, the siblings now struggle to relate to him more than ever. They also start to think that Mandy is not all what she seems.
I have never in my life read a book like The Carer. I cannot emphasise enough how brilliant it is – wry, relatable and truly stunning.
The Carer is published by Tinder Press on 11 July 2019, so please pre-order your copy now. It is so funny, so touching and oh so real.
The July Girls by Phoebe Locke
Wow! The July Girls is by far one of my favourite reads of the year! I read it over a bank holiday weekend when I was busy doing fun stuff. I know this is so awful to say but in a way I resented all the fun stuff as all I really wanted to do was read this. I couldn’t put it down!
Written from the point of view of a Addie, this is the story of a serial killer that snatches women from the streets of London every year on the 7th July.
On Addie’s 10th birthday – the same horrific day of the 7/7 terror attacks, her Dad comes home covered in blood. Addie thinks her Dad was caught up in the bombings, but then Addie’s sister finds a women’s purse hidden in his room.
I can’t emphasise enough what a stunning, atmospheric and chilling read The July Girls is. Addie is such a brilliant character – her vulnerability is so raw and poignant.
Remember The July Girls will be published soon on 25 July by Wildire. Believe me, you’ll need to get a copy as this is definitely going to be one of the top reads of the year!
I hope you’ve enjoyed my summary of top summer reads. I will also be reviewing each and every one of these books in more detail – because believe me, they all deserve glowing, unique reviews.
In the meantime, I hope you’ve found this blog post helpful.
Happy reading everyone! 🙂