If you are heading off for your holidays or just fancy trying out a new book for the summer, check out our selection of best summer reads. From chick lit to literary romantic fiction to taut thrillers, we have found something to please every book worm amongst you.
Then Came You by Jennifer Weiner: Jules Wildgren, 21 and a Princeton college student has a family she’s ashamed of, with good reason, her father is an addict but her friends wound never know as she is outwardly identical to her wealthy high school classmates. She plans to take the ten thousand dollars she’ll receive from donating her ‘pedigree’ eggs and try to save her father from addiction. Annie Barrow, 32 and a married mother of two, scrapes by on her family’s single paycheck. After watching a TV show about surrogates, she thinks she’s found a way to bring in some extra cash. India Bishop, thirty-eight (really forty-three), believes she’s found her happy-ever-after when she marries a very wealthy and much older man, Marcus Croft, but wants a baby. Her attempts at pregnancy fail, so she turns to technology – and Annie and Jules – to help make her dreams come true. However Marcus suddenly dies, and his twenty-three year old daughter, Bettina, is named guardian of India’s unborn child. As the baby’s due date draws near, these four women – with nothing and everything in common – discover what makes each of them a mother in her own right.
Caleb’s Crossing by Geraldine Brooks: Curl up, literary romantics: It’s 1665, and a secret, risky friendship is set to unfold between a Native American graduate of Harvard and a minister’s daughter who herself yearns for education. In 1665 a young man from Martha’s Vineyard became the first Native American to graduate from Harvard College. Caleb’s Crossing revolves around this young man’s spiritual and intellectual elevation in the eyes of English society. Bearing witness to this ‘civilising’ project is a minister’s daughter, Bethia Mayfield, who, on the basis of her gender, is denied the education she craves. Bethia and Caleb—the son of a chieftain—meet in the wilds of Martha’s Vineyard as children and their clandestine but innocent encounters prove to be largely and mutually influential. Bethia teaches Caleb to read and strives to convert him to her Christian god, but he has just as much to offer her, as he shares island secrets and his native language. Caleb’s wide-eyed yet witty questioning of the Christian faith is compelling; their soulful and sweet exchanges are at the forefront of a quietly escalating tension between the native inhabitants and the gradually encroaching colonialists.
Sister by Rosamund Lupton: When her artist sister is found dead, Bee doesn’t buy the suicide verdict. She moves into Tess’s London flat, befriends her friends, and gnaws her way toward the truth. Nothing can break the bond between sisters …When Beatrice gets a frantic call in the middle of Sunday lunch to say that her younger sister, Tess, is missing, she boards the first flight home to London. But as she learns about the circumstances surrounding her sister’s disappearance, she is stunned to discover how little she actually knows of her sister’s life – and unprepared for the terrifying truths she must now face. The police, Beatrice’s fiance and even their mother accept they have lost Tess but Beatrice refuses to give up on her. So she embarks on a dangerous journey to discover the truth, no matter the cost. Taut and tingling.
The Gap Year By Sarah Bird: In The Gap Year, told with perfect pitch from both points of view, we meet Cam Lightsey, lactation consultant extraordinaire, a divorcée still secretly carrying a torch for the ex who dumped her, a suburban misfit who’s given up her rebel dreams so her only child can get a good education. We also learn the secrets of Aubrey Lightsey, tired of being the dutiful, grade-grubbing band geek, ready to explode from wanting her “real” life to begin, trying to figure out love with boys weaned on Internet explicit. When Aubrey meets Tyler Moldenhauer, football idol–sex god with a dangerous past, the fuse is lit. Late-bloomer Aubrey metastasizes into Cam’s worst silent, sullen teen nightmare, a girl with zero interest in college. Worse, on the sly Aubrey’s in touch with her father, who left when she was two to join a celebrity-ridden nut-ball cult. As the novel unfolds—with humour, edge-of-your-seat suspense, and penetrating insights about love in the twenty-first century—the dreams of daughter, mother, and father chart an inevitable, but perhaps not fatal, collision . . .
Nothing Daunted by Dorothy Wickenden: Drawing on a cache of old letters, Wickenden tells the true story of two Smith grads (one of them her grandmother) who venture out to rugged Colorado in 1916 to teach in a frontier school and leave an indelible mark. In the spring of 1916, two society girls from Auburn, N.Y. — Smith graduates who, having already done a European tour, were iffy about charity work but picky about husbands — found by chance the answer to the question of what to do with themselves. A lady who’d come for tea mentioned a friend who had a brother, a Princeton man, who was looking for two college-educated women to teach at a schoolhouse he’d built with his neighbors in the Elkhead Mountains of Colorado. Instantly, both knew they wanted to go. One of them, Dorothy Woodruff, was the grandmother of Dorothy Wickenden. And in “Nothing Daunted,” Wickenden has painstakingly recreated the story of how that earlier Dorothy and her friend Rosamond Underwood embarked on a brief but life-changing adventure, teaching the children of struggling homesteaders. Mining a trove of letters as well as oral histories and period documents, including an autobiography published by their employer, Farrington (Ferry) Carpenter, Wickenden lets their tale of personal transformation open out to reveal the larger changes in the rough-and-tumble society of the West — “a back story,” as she aptly puts it, “to America’s leap into the 20th century.”