Lucy Diamond's favourite books about holidays

Lucy Diamond is loved for her warm, witty novels, including An Almost Perfect Holiday. Here she shares her favourite books about holidays that she'll be reading for some escapism this summer. 

17/06/2020

It’s not really surprising that holidays are on my mind. I’m writing this eleven weeks into UK lockdown and all I can think about is escaping. Getting away from it all. Even looking at another view would be wonderful right now. With massive irony though, having written a book called An Almost Perfect Holiday, I’ve just had to cancel our own family holiday and am trying really hard not to torture myself by thinking about how much I’d been looking forward to diving into a swimming pool under bright blue skies. 

Never mind. There will be other summers and other holidays. In the meantime, I’m contenting myself by revisiting some of my favourite fictional holidays instead, and getting away from everything via the pages of a great book. I so enjoyed choosing this selection – I think there’s something about being away from usual routines and environments that makes people behave differently (badly, quite often!) – and when you add in the pressure of characters being contained in one small space together, there’s scope for some very juicy storylines . . . 

Ladder of Years by  Anne Tyler

The family holiday of this novel is turned on its head when Delia Grinstead – a wife, mother, sister, aunt, who is no longer sure of her place in the world – walks off the beach one day, away from the rest of the family, and keeps on walking. Hitching a ride to a strange town, she reinvents herself as a single woman and starts over. Come on, who hasn’t fantasised about doing this at least once during a big family holiday?!

Buy Ladder of Years

 

A Room With A View by E M Forster

There’s so much to love about this book, not least the wonderful scenes in and around Florence. The story follows young Lucy Honeychurch, in Italy with her brilliantly martyrish cousin Charlotte, and the consequences of them meeting the tourists and ex-pats at their pensione. Highlighting the conflict between Edwardian manners and the yearning rush of first love, it’s funny, romantic and satirical with a triumphantly hopeful ending. 

Buy A Room With A View


Summerwater by Sarah Moss

Due to be published this August, the events of this slim, devastating novel take place over a single day, amidst the cabins of a Scottish holiday park. As the rain pours down, stories unfold amidst the holidaymakers, building to a stunning climax. Sarah Moss weaves the narratives together so skilfully you’ll feel you are there, holding your breath as the tension rises . . . 

Buy Summerwater

 

The Vacationers by Emma Straub

Emma Straub is rapidly becoming one of my favourite authors, and this is pretty much a perfect holiday read. Manhattanites Jim and Franny have been looking forward to their villa holiday in Mallorca with friends, and nearly grown-up children, seeing the sights and soaking up the sun, culture and cuisine. But you know what they say about the best-laid plans… and soon the holiday – and relationships – are fast unravelling. 

Buy The Vacationers

 

The Hunting Party by Lucy Foley

From the heat of summer to an icy chill… this brilliant thriller takes place in a remote hunting lodge in the Scottish wilderness as a group of friends take a winter holiday together to see in the New Year. But as the snow falls, alcohol is consumed and past grievances come to light, then things take a sinister turn – and a body is found… I absolutely loved this book. As the narrative switches between characters and secrets gradually emerge, you’ll be guessing right until the very end.

Buy The Hunting Party