The Books You Have To Have Read This Summer

It wouldn’t be summer without a stack of great books. For your next far-flung getaway or a long, sunny day in the park, these are the 15 books that should definitely be on your reading list…

1. The Death of Mrs Westaway

When Harriet (Hal) Westaway receives an unexpected letter telling her she’s inherited a substantial bequest from her Cornish grandmother, it seems like the answer to her prayers. There’s just one problem – Hal’s real grandparents died more than twenty years ago. Claiming the inheritance she’s not entitled to, Hal makes a choice that will change her life forever…

2. The Greek Escape

With her life thrown off-balance by her ex-boyfriend showing up in town, a new interesting man on the scene and an accident forcing her to step into a new job, Chloe Marston escapes to Greece to give her the time and space to decide where her future truly lies. But that’s when the mystery really begins…

3. Clock Dance

A bittersweet novel of hope and regret, fulfilment and renewal, Clock Dance brings us the everyday life of a woman who decides it’s never too late to change direction and choose your own path.

4. My Year of Rest and Relaxation

My Year of Rest and Relaxation is a shocking, hilarious and strangely tender novel about a young woman’s experiment in narcotic hibernation, aided and abetted by the half-mad psychiatrist Dr Tuttle…

5. The Female Persuasion

Greer Kadetsky is a shy college student when she meets the woman who will shape her life. Faith Frank, dazzlingly persuasive and elegant, has been a pillar of the women’s movement for decades. The Female Persuasion is about the spark we all believe is flickering inside us, waiting to be seen and fanned by the right person at the right time.

6. Motherhood

In a compellingly direct mode that straddles the forms of the novel and the essay, Motherhood raises radical and essential questions about womanhood, parenthood, and how – and for whom – to live.

7. The Mars Room

Romy Hall is at the start of two consecutive life sentences, plus six years, at Stanville Women’s Correctional Facility. Inside is a new reality to adapt to: thousands of women hustling for the bare essentials needed to survive, the absurdities of institutional living, daily acts of violence by guards and prisoners alike and unexpected allegiances…

8. Killer Intent

When an attempted assassination sparks a chain reaction of explosive events across London, Britain’s elite security forces seem powerless to stop the chaos threatening to overwhelm the government…

9. The Mermaid and Mrs Hancock

One September evening in 1785, the merchant Jonah Hancock hears urgent knocking on his front door. One of his captains is waiting eagerly on the step. He has sold Jonah’s ship for what appears to be a mermaid. In this spell-binding story of curiosity and obsession, Imogen Hermes Gowar has created an unforgettable jewel of a novel, filled to the brim with intelligence, heart and wit.

10. So Much Life Left Over

So Much Life Left Over is a sweeping, heart-breaking novel following Daniel in his troubled marriage with Rosie as they navigate the unsettled time between the World Wars.

11. White Chrysanthemum

White Chrysanthemum is the story of two sisters suddenly and violently separated by war, examining a dark and devastating corner of history. But pulling you back into the light are two women whose love for one another is strong enough to triumph over the evils of war.

12. Fierce

When an ordinary day at the zoo turns into a nightmare, Joan finds herself trapped with her beloved son and must summon all her strength to protect him at all costs – even if it means crossing the line between right and wrong, between humanity and animal instinct…

13. A Place for Us

A Place for Us catches an Indian Muslim family as they prepare for their eldest daughter’s wedding. But as Hadia’s marriage – one chosen of love, not tradition – gathers the family back together, there is only one thing on their minds: can Amar, the estranged younger brother of the bride, be trusted to behave himself after three years away?

14. Heads of the Colored People

In her debut collection, Nafissa Thompson-Spires interrogates our supposedly post-racial era. She exposes the violence, both external and self-inflicted, that threatens black Americans, no matter their apparent success.

15. Beautiful Animals

During a white-hot summer on the idyllic Greek island of Hydra, two girls fall into one another’s lives to devastating effect. When Samantha, a young, impressionable American, meets Naomi, a Brit with a taste for danger, their relationship quickly takes on a special intensity…

 

Book lover? Discover our latest interviews with authors Chidera Eggerue and Caitlin Moran