Holiday reads 2023: the best books for summer

From sun-soaked romances to the most gripping crime and thriller books, here are the very best 2023 holiday reads across every genre.

Whether summer 2023 is about jetting off to a far-flung destination, day trips with the family, or long lazy days in the garden with friends, we’ve carefully curated our edit of the best books to get lost in this holiday season. From immersive literary reads to fantasy novels that will take you to another world, chilling thrillers to feel-good stories of friendship and romance, here are the best holiday reads of 2023 to add to your packing list.

If you like your summer reads with a feel-good factor or a large helping of romance, try one of these new novels.

More Confessions of a Forty-Something F**k Up

by Alexandra Potter

Book cover for More Confessions of a Forty-Something F**k Up

Nell’s back. Her life still isn’t going to plan. And she’s still asking the big questions and getting none of the answers. Like, for example: why is falling in love so easy, but staying in love so hard? What do you do when your friendships are put to the ultimate test? In this hilarious, un-put-downable follow-up to the bestselling Confessions of a Forty-Something F##k Up, now the basis for the major TV series, Not Dead Yet, there are laugh-out-loud lessons to be learned, truths to be told, adventures to go on and joys to discover. But first, Nell has some more confessions . . .

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The Love of My Life

by Rosie Walsh

Book cover for The Love of My Life

The Love of My Life is a tale of love, deception, and hidden pasts from Rosie Walsh, author of The Man Who Didn't Call. Emma adores her husband Leo and their daughter Ruby. Yet, beneath their seemingly idyllic life, Emma has spun a web of lies. When Emma falls seriously ill, Leo, an obituary writer, uncovers the truth. As he peels back the layers, he discovers that Emma's entire existence is a sham, including her very name. Emma must confront her darkest secrets and prove to Leo that she's the woman he's always believed her to be, all while unravelling the love from her mysterious past life.

A winning combination of big emotions and didn't-see-that-coming twist.
Good Housekeeping

Atlas: The Story of Pa Salt

by Lucinda Riley

Book cover for Atlas: The Story of Pa Salt

Paris, 1928. A boy is found, moments from death, and taken in by a kindly family, but he refuses to speak of who he truly is. As he grows into a young man, evil is rising across Europe and he knows me must soon flee again. The Aegean, 2008. Seven sisters are gathered together for the first time, on board the Titan to say a final goodbye to the enigmatic father they loved so dearly. To their surprise, it is the missing sister who Pa Salt has chosen to entrust with the clue to their pasts. But for every truth revealed, another question emerges. Co-authored by her son, Harry Whittaker, Atlas: The Story of Pa Salt draws the Seven Sisters series, Lucinda Riley's multimillion copy sensation, to its stunning, unforgettable conclusion.

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The Minuscule Mansion of Myra Malone

by Audrey Burges

Book cover for The Minuscule Mansion of Myra Malone

The Minuscule Mansion of Myra Malone is a charming and magical debut novel, with a love story at its heart. Thirty-four year-old Myra Malone blogs about a dolls' house online. Across the country, Alex Rakes, heir of a furniture business, encounters two Mansion fans trying to recreate a room from Myra's stories. To his disbelief, Alex soon recognizes that it's his own bedroom being recreated, in minute scale. Searching for answers, Alex begins corresponding with Myra. Together, the two unwind the lonely paths of their twin worlds. 


by J.F. Murray

Book cover for Fling

Six years since they wed, Colin and Tara feel like the spark has gone in their marriage and that a split is on the cards. On the lookout for excitement and someone new, they both sign up for a controversial new dating app, meeting a 100% match who seems like they must be too good to be true. Funny and heartwarming, Fling is a witty, feel-good story of romance and second chances for fans of Marian Keyes and Nora Ephron. 

The Theory of (Not Quite) Everything

by Kara Gnodde

Book cover for The Theory of (Not Quite) Everything

There are algorithms to help with everything, from finding a job to the perfect outfit. But if only there were a formula that helped the unlucky-in-love find a soulmate. For Art Brotherton, his beloved sister Mimi’s quest for the ideal match is easily solved – with maths. As he sets out to find Mimi’s future husband, he isn’t banking on meeting hopeless romantic Frank, a man who is anything but algorithm-approved. An uplifting tale of sibling love and how life isn’t always logical, this debut novel is guaranteed to put a smile on your face this summer. 

The Pre-Loved Club

by Sue Teddern

Book cover for The Pre-Loved Club

When Ned (left by his wife while shopping in IKEA) and Gemma (found another woman’s sunglasses in the glove compartment) meet at a support group for single parents, they don’t exactly hit it off. However, as they both know from bitter experience, life is full of surprises, and it’s possible they have more in common than either might have suspected. A warm and witty book for anyone who has ever dreamt of finding true love, only to realize life doesn’t necessarily work that way.

Red, White & Royal Blue

by Casey McQuiston

Book cover for Red, White & Royal Blue

Alex Claremont-Diaz is handsome and charismatic, and the son of the President of the US. There’s only one problem. When the tabloids get hold of a photo involving an altercation between Alex and Prince Henry, U.S./British relations take a turn for the worse. Heads of family and state devise a plan for damage control: stage a truce. But what begins as a fake, Instagrammable friendship grows deeper, and soon they are hurtling into a secret romance that could derail the presidential campaign and upend two nations. Now also an Amazon film, this feel-good romance is sexy, witty and hilarious. 

I took this with me wherever I went and stole every second I had to read!
Christina Lauren

Owner of a Lonely Heart

by Eva Carter

Book cover for Owner of a Lonely Heart

Gemma is petrified about slowing down, because she'd have to face how lonely she is since she lost the love of her life. Her days are crammed with work and taking her dog, Bear, to visit young patients at the local hospital. Dan is the life and soul of the party, but he’s sure that if people find out what he’s done, everything will dissolve. And Casey is Dan’s twelve-year-old daughter – though they hardly know each other. She’s starting four weeks of treatment for a benign tumour, and thinks the summer might be her last. When the three meet one hot July, the connection is instant. Fate – and a little scruffy terrier – have brought them together, but do they have the courage to connect?

Single Bald Female

by Laura Price

Book cover for Single Bald Female

At the point of turning thirty, Jessica Jackson has everything in place: a job, a great boyfriend and a snug London flat they share with their cat. Then a sudden diagnosis of breast cancer causes Jess's world to implode. As friends move forward with baby scans and weddings, Jess feels alone and left behind. And then she mets Annabel, a mysterious young woman with incurable cancer. Annabel may not have long left to live, but she wants to show Jess how it's possible to make every day meaningful.

The Wedding Planner

by Danielle Steel

Book cover for The Wedding Planner

Faith Ferguson is one of New York’s most sought after wedding planners. Usually, she thrives on realizing dreams and making magic happen, but this year she faces both professional and personal challenges. And when the Alberts' showstopper wedding is nearly derailed by both a last minute invitee and the groom himself, Faith cannot avoid the warning signals. Desperate to provide the perfect day for all her clients, Faith has often neglected her own love life, but amidst planning –  and saving – this tumultuous wedding she will learn to 'never say never'.

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In the Summertime

by Maeve Haran

Book cover for In the Summertime

With her marriage falling apart and her longed-for holiday cancelled, Georgina Greenhills gets an unexpected offer: a holiday in the small seaside town nestling in the beautiful South Downs where she grew up. There is only one catch: she must try and solve the mystery of the valuable antiques disappearing from the remote manor house belonging to an old lady called Maudie. Gina gathers her childhood friends, scatty Ruth and feisty Eve, to help her and Gina realizes how much she missed them and how happy she is to be back here in the summertime. Not least because of bumping into Daniel Napier, her shy and awkward teenage dancing partner, now an alarmingly attractive man. Although there is the small problem of his annoying girlfriend . . .

An Almost Perfect Holiday

by Lucy Diamond

Book cover for An Almost Perfect Holiday

It’s time for the summer holidays, and in Cornwall Lorna’s cottages are fully booked. Three women have planned what they hope will be the perfect getaways, but not everything goes quite to plan.

Em has planned a holiday with her new boyfriend Greg, but with their children coming along, can their romance survive? Maggie is hoping a holiday will help fix her relationship with her daughter, but then her ex turns up out of the blue . . . And Olivia is looking for an escape, but the past always catches up with her. Will this holiday be a scorcher, or just too hot to handle?

Do I Know You?

by Emily Wibberley

Book cover for Do I Know You?

What better occasion to read a book set on a luxury retreat than when basking in the sun yourself? But husband and wife Eliza and Graham's getaway isn't as idyllic as things seem. After five years of marriage, their relationship is breaking down and a gifted holiday in a romantic destination is the last place they want to be. That is until a well-meaning guest mistakes them as being single and introduces them at the hotel bar and suddenly Eliza and Graham find themselves flirting like it’s their first date. It's this turn of fate that could be the very thing that saves their marriage. 

The Last Summer

by Karen Swan

Book cover for The Last Summer

Spirited Effie Gillies has always lived on the little Scottish island of St Kilda. When the island is visited by Lord Sholto, heir of the Earl of Dumfries, sparks fly between him and Effie. She shows the handsome stranger her island for a week, and then a storm hits and shatters her world. Three months later, and the islanders are being evacuated. Effie is offered a position on the Earl's estate, and now the differences between them seem impossible, especially when a terrible secret is uncovered back on the island. Based on the true story of St Kilda, this novel takes the reader back to both island life and high society in the 1930s.

If I Let You Go

by Charlotte Levin

Book cover for If I Let You Go

When her heroic events in a horrifying train crash propel her to celebrity status, Janet Brown seizes the chance to escape her lonely existence cleaning offices. However, as the news spreads and more hear of her actions, her secret threatens to reveal itself, and Janet has to face the reality of her tragic past. A gripping story of consequences and the impact of coercive control, If I Let You Go is a moving and gripping novel you won’t be able to put down this summer. 

Holidays are the perfect time to become engrossed in a long book or to allow yourself to be transported to a different time and place by an immersive novel. These literary books will certainly fit the bill.

Western Lane

by Chetna Maroo

Book cover for Western Lane

Shortlisted for the Booker Prize 2023

Exploring themes of grief and sisterhood, this debut coming-of-age story packs a lot of emotion into just 176 pages. Eleven-year-old Gopi has been playing squash for as long as she can remember. When her mother dies, her father enlists her in a brutal training regimen. Soon, the game has become her entire world, causing a rift between Gopi and her sisters. But on the court, governed by the rhythms of the sport, she feels alive. This novel beautifully captures the ordinary and annihilates it with beauty as we follow a young athlete's struggle to transcend herself. 

Everything's Fine

by Cecilia Rabess

Book cover for Everything's Fine

This stunning debut is a whip-smart exploration of an age-old question: what have you got to lose when you fall in love? When Jess first meets Josh at their Ivy League college she dislikes him immediately: an entitled guy in chinos, ready to take over the world. Meanwhile, Jess is almost always the only Black woman in their class. And Josh can’t accept that life might be easier for him because he’s white. But when they end up working for the same investment bank, their tempestuous friendship soon turns into an electrifying romance, forcing Jess to question who she is and what she's willing to compromise for love. 

The book of the moment . . . It’s so good — funny, sexy, unafraid, brilliantly nuanced, completely unputdownable.
100 Best Books of the Summer 2023, The Times

Young Mungo

by Douglas Stuart

Book cover for Young Mungo

The extraordinary, powerful second novel from the Booker prize-winning author of Shuggie BainYoung Mungo is both a vivid portrayal of working-class life and the deeply moving story of the dangerous first love of two young men: Mungo and James. Young Mungo is a gripping and revealing story about the meaning of masculinity, the push and pull of family, the violence faced by so many queer people, and the dangers of loving someone too much.

To Paradise

by Hanya Yanagihara

Book cover for To Paradise

Exploring an alternative to the American dream through three very different versions of the utopian ideal, To Paradise celebrates the qualities that make us human – love, fear, shame and loneliness – through Hanya Yanagihara’s bold, brilliant prose and masterful characterisation. Taking you on a whistle-stop tour through an alternate past, present and future and as gut-wrenchingly unputdownable as her Booker-shortlisted A Little Life, To Paradise is Hanya Yanagihara’s third novel. 

The World and All That It Holds

by Aleksandar Hemon

Book cover for The World and All That It Holds

Rafael Pinto’s peaceful but humdrum existence is upended when war is declared in 1914, and he finds himself thrust into the trenches and face-to-face with death. After meeting fellow soldier Osman and falling in love, the pair desert the trenches, travelling across continents to escape the war and prejudice they face. An epic love story set against the backdrop of a world at war, The World and All That It Holds has been described as a “masterpiece” by the Booker-shortlisted author of Cloud Atlas, David Mitchell. 

Maps of Our Spectacular Bodies

by Maddie Mortimer

Book cover for Maps of Our Spectacular Bodies

At times both heartbreaking and hilarious, this unique and memorable debut will have you feeling all the feels. The story follows Lia, her husband Harry and their daughter Iris after a sudden diagnosis derails their family life. But the most distinctive character is the first-person voice of a malignant force within Lia as it explores the interior contours of her body. Based on her own experience of growing up with a mother with breast cancer, Mortimer explores how the illness is not something to fight, but an abstract idea to live alongside, told through words that dance and weave across the page. 


by Hernan Diaz

Book cover for Trust

Everyone in 1920s New York knows of Benjamin and Helen Rask, the Wall Street tycoon and the daughter of bohemian aristocrats. They live in a sphere of untold wealth, but what is the true cost of their fortune? This mystery sits at the heart of Bonds, a bestselling 1938 novel that all of New York has read. But, like all stories, there are different perspectives, and Hernan Diaz puts these different narratives into conversation with each other, in a novel that tracks across a century and documents the truth-bending power of money, with provocative revelations at each turn. 

Brilliant . . . Destined to be known as one of the great puzzle-box novels, it’s the cleverest of conceits, wrapped up in a page-turner.


by Raven Leilani

Book cover for Luster

Raven Leilani is a funny and original new voice in literary fiction. Her razor-sharp yet surprisingly tender debut is an essential novel about what it means to be young now. Edie is messing up her life, and no one seems to care. Then she meets Eric, who is white, middle-aged and comes with a wife who has sort-of-agreed to an open marriage and an adopted black daughter who doesn’t have a single person in her life who can show her how to do her hair. And as if life wasn’t hard enough, Edie finds herself falling head-first into Eric’s family. 

Our Wives Under The Sea

by Julia Armfield

Book cover for Our Wives Under The Sea

Part love story and part horror story, this gothic masterpiece is Julia Armfield's first novel. Leah is back from a perilous and troubling deep-sea mission, and Miri is delighted to have her wife home. To have the woman she loves back should mean a return to normality, but Miri can feel Leah slipping from her grasp. Leah has carried the trauma of events that took place on the ocean floor into the couple's domestic life, and Miri soon realizes that the life that they once knew, might be gone. Our Wives Under The Sea is a rich meditation on love, loss and the mysteries of the ocean.

The Exhibitionist

by Charlotte Mendelson

Book cover for The Exhibitionist

Longlisted for the Women's Prize for Fiction 2022, in The Exhibitionist we meet the Hanrahan family. They are gathering for a momentous weekend as famous artist and notorious egoist Ray Hanrahan prepares for a new exhibition of his art. His three children will be there: beautiful Leah, sensitive Patrick, and insecure Jess. And what of Lucia, Ray’s steadfast and selfless wife? She is an artist too, but has always had to put her roles as wife and mother first. But Lucia is hiding secrets of her own, and as the weekend unfolds and the exhibition approaches, she must finally make a choice. 

Other Women

by Emma Flint

Book cover for Other Women

For Londoners Beatrice Cade and Kate Ryan life could not be more different. Beatrice is a young, unmarried woman who, like millions like her, struggles to find her way after the war rips the heart out of her city and life. With her perfect husband and daughter, Kate has the life most women envy, until a chance meeting threatens to rip the façade she’s been living to pieces. A moving and mesmerising novel about the women whose lives were forever shaped by the Great War, Other Women’s twisty plot and story of obsession will have you hooked this summer. 


by Sarah May

Book cover for Becky

Becky Sharp is determined to make a name for herself in the cutthroat world of 1990s tabloid publishing, where you’re only as good as your last scoop. Clawing her way to the top, Becky looks destined to achieve her dreams; until the past threatens to catch up with her and send everything she’s worked for crashing to the ground. Set in a world obsessed with celebrity, spaghetti straps, and the Spice Girls, Becky is this year’s sharpest novel. 

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Travel back in time, from Victorian London to the Blitz, with riveting historical fiction which is sure to keep you spellbound whether at home or away.  


by Kate Morton

Book cover for Homecoming

When she gets a call to say that her elderly grandmother is unwell, journalist Jess takes the first flight from London, her home of twenty years, back to her native Australia to be by her side. Combing through her childhood home as she waits for news, Jess unearths a family secret that leads her to examine everything she knows about herself, her grandmother, and her future. Homecoming, the new novel by international bestseller Kate Morton, has all the hallmarks of a future classic. 

Stone Blind

by Natalie Haynes

Book cover for Stone Blind

As the sole mortal in a family of gods, Medusa begins to realize that she is the only one who experiences change, the only one who can be hurt, and the only one who lives with an urgency that her family will never know. Then, when the sea god Poseidon commits an unforgivable act in the temple of Athene, the goddess takes her revenge where she can – and Medusa is changed forever. Writhing snakes replace her hair, and her gaze now turns any living creature to stone. Unable to control her new power, she is condemned to a life of shadows and darkness. Until Perseus embarks upon a quest. At last, Medusa's story is told.

The Square of Sevens

by Laura Shepherd-Robinson

Book cover for The Square of Sevens

A historical fiction novel packed with fortune-telling, travels and mystery is the perfect book to escape reality with this summer. A girl known only as Red, the daughter of a Cornish fortune-teller, travels with her father making a living predicting fortunes using the ancient method: the Square of Sevens. When her father suddenly dies, Red becomes the ward of a gentleman scholar. But soon, she can't ignore the burning questions about her family. The pursuit of these mysteries takes her across the country in an epic tale of intrigue, heartbreak and audacious twists. 

One of the best pieces of historical fiction I have ever read.


by James Hynes

Book cover for Sparrow

This vivid coming of age story set at the end of the Roman Empire, follows Sparrow – a boy of no known origin living in a brothel. He spends his days listening to stories told by his beloved ‘mother’ Euterpe, running errands for her lover the cook, and dodging the blows of their brutal overseer. But a hard fate awaits him – one that involves suffering, murder and mayhem. To cope he will create his own identity – Sparrow – who sings without reason and can fly from trouble. This is a book with one of the most powerfully affecting and memorable characters of recent fiction, brought to life through James Hynes meticulous research and bold imagination. 

The Pillars of the Earth

by Ken Follett

Book cover for The Pillars of the Earth

Set in medieval England, this classic of historical fiction tells the story of a cathedral as it is being built, and the skill, ambition and chaos surrounding it. Ken Follett brings history to life through human stories, and this is his most popular book, introducing readers to the world of Kingsbridge, the city where the cathedral is constructed. An epic, spellbinding tale of ambition, anarchy, and absolute power set against the sprawling medieval canvas of twelfth-century England, The Pillars of the Earth is Ken Follett's historical masterpiece.

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The Maiden

by Kate Foster

Book cover for The Maiden

Arrested in Edinburgh in October 1679 for the murder of her lover, Lady Christian is jailed, scandalised in the press and branded an adulteress. A taught and twisty historical thriller set in Restoration era Scotland, in The Maiden, Kate Foster weaves a tale of one woman’s quest to prove the truth and clear her name. Inspired by a real-life case in seventeenth-century Scotland, The Maiden gives a voice to a woman silenced by history. Until now. 


by Hannah Kent

Book cover for Devotion

It's Prussia, in 1836. Fourteen year old Hanne is longing for nature and the outdoors, as the world of womanhood begins to close around her. Then she meets Thea, and discovers what it is to have a kindred spirit. Her family are Old Lutherans who have to worship in secret, their community under threat. So when they are given safe passage to Australia, it seems seems prayers have been answered. But the journey will have huge consequences for Hanne and Thea, who form a bond too strong for even nature to shatter.

Extraordinarily daring . . . a remarkable novel, an almost visionary celebration of the death-defying power of the women’s love.
Sunday Times

The Attic Child

by Lola Jaye

Book cover for The Attic Child

It's 1907, and twelve-year-old Celestine is locked in the attic of a house by the sea. He has been forcibly removed from his home in Africa and is treated as a servant. He dreams of home and family, even as his mother's face, and his real name, begin to fade. Decades later a young orphan girl is banished to the same attic. Under the floorboards she finds mysterious artefacts, and on a wall there is a sentence etched in a language she does not recognise. What she does recognise though, is that she is not the first child to be held captive in the attic. This dual-narrative tale of love, loss and family secrets shines a light on the early Black British experience. 

The Dance Tree

by Kiran Millwood Hargrave

Book cover for The Dance Tree

Strasbourg, 1518. In the intense summer heat a solitary woman starts to dance in the main square. She dances alone for days without rest, but soon she is joined by hundreds of other women. 

The city authorities declare a state of emergency, and bring in musicians to play the devil out of the dancing women. Meanwhile, pregnant Lisbet who lives at the edge of the city is tending to the family's bees, but as the dancing plague intensifies she is drawn into a net of secret passions and deceptions. 

Inspired by true events, this is a compelling story of superstition, transformative change and women pushed to their limits.

The Nightingale

by Kristin Hannah

Book cover for The Nightingale

Soon to be a major motion picture, The Nightingale is a multi-million copy bestseller across the world. It is a heart-breakingly beautiful novel that celebrates the resilience of the human spirit and the endurance of women. This story is about what it was like to be a woman during World War II when women’s stories were all too often forgotten or overlooked . . . Vianne and Isabelle Mauriac are two sisters, separated by years and experience, by ideals and passion and circumstance, each embarking on her own dangerous path towards survival, love and freedom in war-torn France.

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Escape into a gripping new thriller or crime novel this summer. Here are the books that are sure to keep you on the edge of your sunbed.

Good Bad Girl

by Alice Feeney

Book cover for Good Bad Girl

In a tale of intertwining crimes, a baby's abduction two decades ago connects to a murder in a care home. Unravelling the truth rests on the shoulders of a complex yet intriguing character, the 'good bad girl.' Edith, determined to escape her nursing home, forms a bond with Patience, a caretaker harbouring secrets. Meanwhile, Edith's daughter Clio remains distant, and a looming presence approaches Clio's doorstep with ill intentions. With mistrust brewing, the women must navigate a web of suspects, murders, and a singular victim, unearthing the fates of the vanished baby, the grieving mother, and the ties that bind them all.

Simply Lies

by David Baldacci

Book cover for Simply Lies

Simply Lies is the latest thriller from David Baldacci, featuring Mickey Gibson, a former New Jersey detective and single mother of two. She also works for global investigation company, ProEye, to track down assets of the wealthy who have tried to avoid their creditors. One day she gets a call from a colleague, asking her to visit the home of a notorious arms dealer who has cheated some of ProEye’s clients in the past. Mickey arrives at the mansion to discover the body of a man hidden in a secret room and soon discovers that nothing is at it seems. 

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The Villa

by Ruth Kelly

Book cover for The Villa

You'll be glad you're not staying in this killer holiday destination by the time you reach the end of Ruth Kelly's addictive new thriller. Death and mayhem erupt on an exclusive island as it plays host to a reality television show like no other, where every moment is streamed live to a global audience who have unprecedented control over those competing for the cash prize. Amongst the contestants is Laura, an undercover reporter, who soon discovers she's far from the only one with a secret.

Set to be the hottest read of 2023, The Villa is a scorching, smouldering, turbo-charged cocktail of sun, sex and secrets. Ruth Kelly has redefined the airport thriller for our times. Fantastic!
Veronica Henry


by Jane Harper

Book cover for Exiles

Jane Harper’s thrillers are true page turners, and her new novel, Exiles, is no exception. When investigator Aaron Falk searches for missing woman Kim Gillespie, who vanished without a trace on a busy summer night, he soon realises that the case is not as simple as it may seem. Uncovering secrets that her community doesn’t want to be revealed, Falk has his work cut out to find Gillespie and discover the truth at the heart of the case. 

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The Club

by Ellery Lloyd

Book cover for The Club

The grand opening of Island Home – a forgotten island transformed into the height of luxury – is set to be the celebrity event of the decade. But as the first guests arrive, the weekend soon proves deadly – because it turns out that even the most beautiful people can keep the ugliest secrets and, in a world where reputation is everything, they'll do anything to keep it. The Club is an exhilarating, addictive read, telling a story of ambition, excess, and what happens when people who have everything – or nothing – to lose are pushed to their limit.

Red Queen

by Juan Gómez-Jurado

Book cover for Red Queen

The novel that inspired the new Amazon Prime Original series, Red Queen is the first book in the internationally bestselling thriller series starring Antonia Scott. A Lisbeth Salandar-esque heroine who takes the law into her own hands, Scott’s private existence is disturbed when she hears visitors outside her Madrid apartment. Soon, she realises that she is in more danger than she ever feared. With its sunny Spanish setting and unputdownable plot, Red Queen will transport you, whether you’re travelling or staying at home this summer. 

The Murders at Fleat House

by Lucinda Riley

Book cover for The Murders at Fleat House

When a pupil suddenly dies at an exclusive boarding school in deepest Norfolk, the headmaster is keen to brand it a tragic accident. But the local police are not so sure, and Detective Inspector Jazmine ‘Jazz’ Hunter returns to the force to investigate. Together with trusty sergeant Alastair Miles, she enters the closed universe of the school. And as Jazz begins to probe Charlie Cavendish’s unsettling demise, things take a deeply troubling turn . . . 

Into the Dark

by Fiona Cummins

Book cover for Into the Dark

DS Saul Anguish, a brilliant detective with a difficult past, must face his own demons as he untangles the painful story behind the sudden disappearance of an entire family. 

The kettle is still warm, all the family’s phones are charging on the worktop, but the house is deserted. In fifteen-year-old Riva Holden’s bedroom, scrawled across the mirror in blood, are three words: Make Them Stop. In a gorgeous Art Deco home looking out to the bay of Midtown-on-Sea, a terrible crime has come to light. An entire family – Piper and Gray and their two teenage children – has vanished. 

When I Was Ten

by Fiona Cummins

Book cover for When I Was Ten

Dr Richard Carter and his wife were murdered in what was one of the most infamous double murders of the modern age. Their daughter, ten-year-old Sara Carter, spent eight years in a children’s secure unit for the crime, and is now living a quiet life under an assumed name.  with a family of her own. On the anniversary of the crime, journalist Brinley Booth is tasked with tracking down Sara and her older sister Shannon. But Brinley isn’t just a journalist – she’s also the sisters’ childhood friend. And confronting what really happened on the night of the murders will have consequences for them all. This is another gripping read from thriller writer Fiona Cummins.

Black Thorn

by Sarah Hilary

Book cover for Black Thorn

Holidays call for a page-turner, and there is no better choice than Sarah Hilary's compulsive psychological thriller.  An exclusive new housing development, Blackthorn Ashes, is the new home for six families hoping for a peaceful life on the cliffs overlooking the Cornish sea. But six weeks later, paradise is lost. Six people are dead. One of its surviving residents, Agnes Gale, is determined to find out the truth about what happened. Even if that truth is deadlier than she could have ever believed possible. 

Picture You Dead

by Peter James

Book cover for Picture You Dead

In the latest installment in the bestselling Roy Grace series, Detective Superintendent Roy Grace finds himself plunged into an unfamiliar and rarefied world of fine art; but beneath the veneer lurks greed, deception and violence. Harry and Freya are an ordinary couple who dreamed for years of finding an overlooked treasure at a car boot sale, until the day they did. Behind the drab portrait they bought for a few pounds, they find a stunning landscape that might be worth millions, and one collector will stop at nothing to get what he wants. 

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If you can't get away from it all in a literal sense, make your escape in the form of some fantasy reading.

The Atlas Six

by Olivie Blake

Book cover for The Atlas Six

Few magicians are invited to join the prestigious and secretive Alexandrian Society, and those who are gain a lifetime of privilege and prestige amongst the magic order. When six candidates are asked to compete to guard the ancient knowledge the society harbours, they travel to London to prove their mettle. As they learn about the challenges they face, the six realise that the stakes are higher than they could have ever imagined . . . 

A TikTok sensation, The Atlas Six is a must-read novel for fans of all things fantasy. 

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A Restless Truth

by Freya Marske

Book cover for A Restless Truth

When Maud Blyth is asked to accompany an elderly acquaintance on an ocean liner voyage, she jumps at her chance to see the world. But when the old lady is found murdered the day after they set sail, Maud finds herself searching for the killer alongside a mysterious fellow passenger, magician Violet Debenham. Racing against the clock to make sure they don’t become the killer’s next victims, Maud and Violet realise they need to team up to crack the case. A magical locked room mystery for fans of Knives Out, A Restless Truth has all the ingredients a holiday read needs.


by Genevieve Cogman

Book cover for Scarlet

Revolutionary France is no place to be, especially for aristocrat vampires facing the guillotine. But the League of the Scarlet Pimpernel are determined to rescue them. And they have an ace up their sleeve: Eleanor, a lowly maid from an English estate with a striking resemblance to French royalty. For Eleanor, the League and their legendary deeds are little more than rumour – until she’s drawn into their most dangerous plot yet. Revolution's a bloodthirsty business . . . Scarlet is a thrilling reinvention of the tale of The Scarlet Pimpernel with the addition of magic and even more mayhem.

Scarlet is utterly stunning. The intrigue and adventure keep you turning the page in this exciting tale of revolution, vampires and the guillotine.
T. L. Huchu

The Women Could Fly

by Megan Giddings

Book cover for The Women Could Fly

Kidnapped? Murdered? A witch fleeing persecution? Josephine Thomas hasn’t seen her mother since she was fourteen. Now, at twenty-eight, she is finally ready to move on – but to what? Ambivalent about marriage in a country where single women must submit to monitoring by the State, unwilling to conform in a world where magic is real and unusual behaviour can lead to accusations of witchcraft, Jo’s ability to control her own life is on the line. So when she’s offered an opportunity to honour a final request from her mother’s will, Jo takes the chance to feel connected to her one last time.

Children of Blood and Bone

by Tomi Adeyemi

Book cover for Children of Blood and Bone

Tomi Adeyemi conjures a stunning world of dark magic and danger in her West African-inspired fantasy debut Children of Blood and Bone. Zélie remembers when the soil of Orïsha hummed with magic. When different clans ruled – Burners igniting flames, Tiders beckoning waves, and Zélie’s Reaper mother summoning forth souls. But everything changed the night magic disappeared. Under the orders of a ruthless king, anyone with powers was targeted and killed, leaving Zélie without a mother and her people without hope. Only a few people remain with the power to use magic, and they must remain hidden. 

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Be transported to another world with these science fiction books, perfect for summer holidays. 

Sea of Tranquillity

by Emily St. John Mandel

Book cover for Sea of Tranquillity

Sea of Tranquility immerses the reader in parallel worlds and multiple possibilities. It's 1912, and Edwin St. Andrew is on a journey across the Atlantic. Arriving in British Columbia, he enters a forest, mesmerised by the Canadian wilderness. All is silent before the notes of a violin reverberate through the air. Two centuries later, acclaimed author Olive Llewelyn is travelling over the earth. At the heart of her bestselling novel, a man plays a violin for spare change in the corridor of an airship terminal, as a forest rises around him. Award-winning author, Emily St. John Mandel doesn't disappoint in this triumph of sci-fi storytelling. 

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In the Lives of Puppets

by TJ Klune

Book cover for In the Lives of Puppets

A delightful and fantastical queer retelling of the story of Pinocchio, In the Lives of Puppets will transport you the a magical world of an android family created from spare parts. When fatherly android inventor Gio and human Vic salvage an unloved robot, Hap, Vic soon learns that the two already know each other and have an unsavoury past as human hunters. When Hap and Gio’s secret is revealed, they find themselves on the run from pursuers, and Vic must decide whether his feelings for his family are worth sacrificing himself for. 

Lords of Uncreation

by Adrian Tchaikovsky

Book cover for Lords of Uncreation

The final part in Adrian Tchaikovsky’s epic Final Architecture space opera, Lords of Uncreation is the book that science-fiction fans have been waiting for all year. When Idris Telemmier discovers a secret that could end the war between humanity, he is in a race against time to reveal it and bring the fighting to an end. With the Architects trying to keep their weakness under wraps, the galaxy erupts into a conflict that will change everything, and Idris has to decide on the course of action he must take to save the galaxy. 

Not Alone

by Sarah K Jackson

Book cover for Not Alone

A dystopian thriller that brings the climate emergency into sharp focus, Not Alone is as gripping as it is terrifying. Set in a world where most of the population and wildlife have been killed by a toxic microplastics storm, Katie has to forage the desolate landscape to find food to feed her five-year-old son. Having never stepped outside their tiny flat, Harry has no idea what the world used to be like, until a mysterious stranger arrives on their doorstep, and the family embark on a journey to be reunited with Harry’s father.  

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Here we list some non-fiction books to ground you on those long summer holiday days.


by Laurent Richard

Book cover for Pegasus

Can foreign governments see your data or and what might they do with it? How dangerous is the personal information that private companies hold about us? How much should we care? Learn the answers to these questions and more in Pegasus, the behind-the-scenes story of the modern world of constant cyber surveillance and the company behind the world’s most sophisticated software. Written by journalists who discovered the software’s threat and exposed it to the world, Pegasus lifts the lid on how governments and private companies use our data for good and bad. 

Black and British

by David Olusoga

Book cover for Black and British

In his award-winning book Black and British, historian and broadcaster David Olusoga examines how black and white Britons have been intimately entwined for centuries. Drawing on new genetic and genealogical research, original records, expert testimony and contemporary interviews, in Black and British shows how black British history is woven into the cultural and economic histories of the nation.

The Snakehead

by Patrick Radden Keefe

Book cover for The Snakehead

The masterful author of Empire of Pain lifts the lid on a secret criminal underworld in The Snakehead, an unputdownable story of an unlikely kingpin. A charismatic grandmother with a decades-old noodle shop in Manhattan’s Chinatown, Cheng Chui Ping was the last person anyone would expect would be the mastermind behind a people-smuggling ring. The Snakehead follows the FBI’s decades-long investigation to uncover Ping’s criminal empire and shines a light on the experience of undocumented immigrants as they fight to survive in the United States. Written like a gripping thriller, this is a book you’ll find yourself utterly absorbed in this summer. 

Bad Blood

Book cover for Bad Blood

How far can you get with no expertise, technology that doesn’t work, and an extraordinary sales pitch? Disturbingly far. Bad Blood is the story of one of the biggest corporate fraud cases of the 21st century. Journalist John Carreyrou explores the rise and shocking fall of tech start-up Theranos, which was valued at $9 billion based on its innovative medical technology before it was all revealed to be a lie. Read everything you need to know about the Theranos scandal here. 

Nothing but the Truth

by The Secret Barrister

Book cover for Nothing but the Truth

Having laid bare the darkly comic and tragic truth of how our legal system fails the people that need it the most, the Secret Barrister's new memoir tracks their transformation from hang 'em and flog 'em austerity-supporter to celebrated, campaigning, bestselling author. This diary that takes us behind the scenes of an outsider's progress down the winding path towards practising at the Bar, via painfully archaic traditions and the Hunger Games-style contest for pupillage.

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Holidays are the perfect opportunity to take some time for ourselves. These inspiring and educational self-help books make inspiring holiday reads. 

Closer to Love

by Vex King

Book cover for Closer to Love

We’ve never had more ways to meet people, but sometimes it can feel like we are less connected than ever. Vex King is determined to change that. In this practical guide to building stronger bonds, bestselling King shares his approach to understanding your role in relationships, using mindfulness to deepen your connections with others, and tips for building an authentic connection with someone. Whether you’re looking for a summer romance or more harmony in your existing relationship, Closer to Love is for you.

To My Sisters

by Courtney Daniella Boateng

Book cover for To My Sisters

They’re with us through all of life’s ups and downs, but often our friendships aren’t as celebrated as the other relationships in our lives. With their new book, podcasters Renee Kapuku and Courtney Daniella Boateng plan to change that. Part manifesto and part manual, in To My Sisters Kapuku and Boateng share how to make your relationships with your sisters more meaningful than ever. With practical advice, personal stories and tips for meeting new friends and nurturing existing relationships, To My Sisters is the modern guide to platonic friendship that everyone needs. 

The Kindness Method

by Shahroo Izadi

Book cover for The Kindness Method

In these difficult times, we could all benefit from showing ourselves a little kindness. If you want to use this time to make a change, Behavioural Change Specialist Shahroo Izadi believes there’s only one way to make change last, and that’s to be kind to yourself. The Kindness Method was developed through a combination of professional training and personal experience and will leave you feeling empowered, positive and ready to make a change, whether it’s weight loss, cutting down on alcohol or improving your relationships.

That Little Voice In Your Head

by Mo Gawdat

Book cover for That Little Voice In Your Head

Mo Gawdat's That Little Voice in Your Head is a practical guide to rewiring your brain for joy. He reveals that by talking down the negative voice within, we can change the way we think, turn greed into kindness, transform apathy into compassionate action and create our own happiness. Gawdat's brain exercises draw on his experience as a former Google engineer and Chief Business Officer, as well as from his neuroscience studies. And he explains how – despite their complexity – our brains generally behave in predictable ways. Drawing inspiration from the life of his late son, Gawdat has written a manual for happiness that is steeped in empathy.

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