One of the perks of life as a writer is getting a chance to read books weeks and even months before they’re released. Having spent much of the spring immersed in the upcoming crop of summertime reads, I can tell you that booklovers are in for a real treat this summer, as well as a conundrum.
Page-turning tales are popping up like dandelions in a freshly-cut lawn this summer; that’s the treat. The conundrum comes with sorting through that bumper harvest and picking which books to read for yourself.
This list of my favorite upcoming summer reads will help narrow the field. There’s something here for everybody – mystery, history, laughter, love, and suspense – and each one is a riveting, worthwhile read.
Since one of the joys of reading is the chance to travel the world from the comfort of your armchair (or beach towel), start with a journey to New Orleans. Immerse yourself in an unsolved mystery, and meet ghosts who demand answers – some more benevolent than others – in The House on Prytania, the second, highly-anticipated book in Karen White’s bestselling Royal Street series. While working to restore a Creole cottage, Nola Trenholm is haunted by ghosts of the past – literally and figuratively – and risks everything to claim her future, right old wrongs, and help restless specters find final rest.
Speaking of travel, who wouldn’t love spending the summer at a charming lakeside lodge near Asheville, North Carolina? Almost anyone except Esme Cahill, the funny, driven, recently fired book editor whose life is turned upside down in Esme Cahill Fails Spectacularly. During an unplanned homecoming that forces her to reconnect with her dysfunctional family, Esme unearths a forgotten chapter in her late grandmother’s history – that of a gifted artist who never received her due – finding parallels that will help her reconcile her past and rewrite her future.
And who is the author, you ask? That would be me, Marie Bostwick. Lest you consider me biased, consider what a reviewer from the American Library Association’s Booklist magazine recently said, “Bostwick once again expertly writes on themes of finding your own path, healing relationships, and living a life you love.” Would a librarian steer you wrong? I don’t think so.
As long as we’re lakeside, let’s make a stop at Camp Holly Spring, a girl’s camp owned by June Moore, one of the characters in Kristy Woodson Harvey’s poignant, thoughtful novel, The Summer of Songbirds. Four very different women, each at a crossroads in life, band together to save the summertime haven that played a pivotal role in making them who they are. It’s a celebration of sisterhood and a love letter to summer, lushly written and satisfying as a sigh.
If you’re in the mood for spies, secrets, and suspense, pick up a copy of A Shadow In Moscow by Katherine Reay. This utterly engrossing, masterfully written story of two compellingly complex female characters from different eras, the 1950s and the 1980s, both of whom are recruited to spy upon and in Russia, is full of twists and turns, and capped by a climactic ending that I never saw coming. In short, it’s the definition of an unputdownable novel.
Another terrific tale of adventure and espionage, set in the Cold War among the seaside mansions of New England, where the wealthy one-percent live alongside those of modest means, is The Beach at Summerly by Beatriz Williams. A world of possibility is opening up for young Emilia Winthrop. But when the FBI comes calling, demanding her help in capturing a Soviet spy who is transmitting intelligence from somewhere inside the Summerly estate, Emilia’s family and future are put at risk.
If you think that summer isn’t summer without a good love story, then Annabel Monaghan’s nostalgic, humorous novel, Same Time Next Summer, is for you. Thirty-year-old Sam is about to get everything she ever wanted, including marriage to a stable (if slightly staid) doctor. So her life is perfect, right? But while investigating beachside wedding venues, an encounter with the man who broke her heart a decade before has Sam remembering the girl she was, and asking herself what she wants now.
Finally, historical fiction fans are going to love Tracey Enerson Wood’s mid-August release, The President’s Wife. It tells the compelling and well-researched but little-known story of Edith Bolling Wilson, who’s late-in-life marriage to Woodrow Wilson made her a somewhat reluctant but nevertheless influential First Lady, determined to protect her husband and her country.
In my world, a great book is a must-have summer accessory, right up there with sunglasses and strappy sandals. With one (or all seven) of these riveting summertime reads in hand, you’ll be the best accessorized booklover at the beach.