Here are some of our top picks for summer reads, whether you’re jetting off to the continent or indulging in a UK staycation.
Summer reads for holidays in Europe
Running away from heartbreak, Chloe Marston leaves London for a new start working at a luxury concierge company in New York. A trip to Greece to help mysterious and charismatic client Joe Lincoln find the perfect holiday home comes just in time when her ex turns up unexpectedly.
The Greek Escape is the new summer novel by Sunday Times bestselling author Karen Swan. Best enjoyed on a lounger next to the pool of your very own Greek villa.
After falling for Michael, a handsome, complicated artist, Anna left her life in London behind to follow him to Spain where they began a new life together, renovating a beautiful finca in the mountains. But her world came to a standstill when Michael left with barely a word.
Homesick Anna hopes that local Simon’s offer to rent her house will provide an escape route, but he is not who he says he is, and when a body washes up on the beach, she begins to question his motives. This page-turning thriller from the author of Kiss Me First will keep you glued to your sunbed for hours.
From Kate Mosse, bestselling author of Labyrinth, comes this thrilling new story set in sixteenth-century Languedoc. Mysterious letters and dangerous missions bring Minou Joubert and Piet Reydon together as they are drawn deeper into a dark conspiracy and long-buried secrets are uncovered.
A perfect complement to exploring Languedoc’s atmospheric medieval towns, The Burning Chambers is a must-read on any trip to the south of France, or indeed anywhere this summer.
Three childhood friends are reunited by the death of a much-loved woman from their past, as deep family secrets are revealed and lives are changed forever. Set in the seaside town of Larnaka, Nadia Marks’ newest novel is a tale of deception, forbidden love and undying loyalty under the Cypriot sun, an engrossing read for days spent lazing on Cyprus’s golden sands.
A family saga set on Crete and the nearby island of Spinalonga, home to a leper colony in the 40s and 50s, The Island is the story of two sisters, their lives and loves in the face of this cruel disease, and a young woman trying to discover her history. Perfectly conjuring up the Cretan culture, this is an absorbing read for a stay on the island, and you can even take a day trip to Spinalonga itself.
Max Skinner, a recently unemployed financier from London, leaves his old world behind to pursue a new life as a wine-maker in Provence when he inherits a vineyard from his late uncle Harry. Problems are overcome, friendships established and romance flourishes amid vivid descriptions of the country’s landscapes, food and wine. The perfect light read to dip into while relaxing in your château between wine tastings.
Summer reads for holidays in the UK
Beginning with the death of actor Sir James Hamilton, who leaves behind a letter containing a dark, devastating secret, The Love Letter is a twisty-turny thriller from bestselling author Lucinda Riley. Journalist Joanna Haslam is in a race against time to uncover the truth, but there are forces at work who will stop at nothing to keep the past hidden. Set in 90s London, this page-turner will keep you entertained on even the most rainy of British summer days.
Two lives collide in this magical tale set on the Cornish coast, from bestselling Miranda Dickinson. Seren is struggling with grief and struggling to keep her late father’s seaside business afloat, while widower Jack Dixon is trying to make a better life for himself and his daughter. When they end up on the opposing sides of a battle over a local landmark, who will win? And will either find what they are really looking for?
Set in rural Surrey, In a Country Garden is an entertaining read for a country cottage holiday. Claudia, Ella, Laura and Sal have all celebrated the milestone of their sixtieth birthdays, and the lifelong friends decide that there’s no better way to keep growing older and enjoying life than to live together in a country manor house. With the exception of Laura, who is busy exploring the new world of online dating apps.
A charming story of friendship and love set in South Wales, A Cottage by the Sea sees old friends Grace, Ella and Flick reunite in a cottage by the coast with their respective partners, as over the course of a week, amid exploring their surroundings, new relationships are formed and secrets are unveiled. Beautifully evoking the Pembrokeshire countryside, this is a holiday in a novel.
Emily loves her life as a single career woman working as a midwife, but is craving a change of scenery, so when her pregnant friend asks her to help out in the kitchen of her puffer boat for the summer she jumps at the chance. Soon she’s getting stuck in on deck and making friends with the locals, including Alasdair, the handsome local doctor . . . A charming summer romance perfect for a Scottish getaway.