Has there ever been a summer when we’ve needed beach reads more? With so much of our lives up in the air, there’s nothing better than a sweet story set in a beautiful place that allows us to escape and promises a happy ending. Luckily for us, there is a bumper crop of great books this summer that beg to be taken to the beach or, more likely, your back yard with a cool adult beverage.
Beach Read by Emily Henry: When college rivals and published authors January Andrews and Augustus Everett realize that they are living next door to each other for the summer in cottages on Lake Michigan, the sparks immediately fly. She’s a popular author of women’s fiction and he’s a renowned author of literary fiction and both are experiencing writer’s block and nursing wounded hearts. In an attempt to get over their writerly ruts, they challenge each other to write in the other’s genre. He’ll write a romance and she’ll write something more serious and each will give the other lessons in writing. This was a beach read for folks who don’t think they like beach reads—funny, insightful and heartwarming.
All Adults Here by Emma Straub: After witnessing an acquaintance’s shocking death, 68 year old grandmother Astrid Strick is hit with the realization that life is short and she has some amends to make. Starting with her three dysfunctional adult children, Astrid tries to become a better and more authentic person and it doesn’t always go well. Much like another of my favorite literary characters, Olive Kitteridge, Astrid has rough edges but a well-meaning heart and I rooted for her to make peace and find happiness.
28 Summers by Elin Hilderbrand: On her deathbed, Mallory Blessing instructs her son to call a man whose number is tucked away in her desk drawer. That Jake McCloud is the husband of a presidential candidate is just the first surprise of many for her son in this book told in flashback and set in Nantucket. For Jake and Mallory have had what she calls a ‘same time next year’ relationship for, you guessed it, 28 years and none of her family or friends knew about it. This is a bittersweet story of missed opportunities and making love work on your own terms.
Atomic Love by Jennie Fields: Rosalind Porter was one of the few female scientists working on the Manhattan Project and she loved it. Then the war ended and so did her passionate affair with a fellow scientist Thomas Weaver when he unceremoniously dumped her. She’s put her life back together and is unhappily working at Marshall Field’s jewelry department when Thomas reappears and wants to resume their love affair. At the same time, FBI agent Charlie Szydlo shows up with serious accusations about Thomas’s possible treasonous activity. Caught in between, Rosalind must decide who she can trust and comes to realize that her own life might be at stake if she makes the wrong decision. I picked this book up thinking it was just historical fiction and found myself caught up in the steamy romance between very likeable characters. Set in Chicago in the 1950s, I thoroughly enjoyed strolling through the old neighborhoods with these characters.
Next beach reads on my list to read:
Friends and Strangers by J. Courtney Sullivan
Big Summer by Jennifer Weiner
What You Wish For by Katherine Center
If It Bleeds by Stephen King
Then perhaps I won’t even notice that I’ve spent my entire summer sitting on my deck reading rather than traveling.