What’s your summer reading vibe? Languid hours in your favourite nook/hammock/chair/beach possie? Or stealing a few minutes here and there among chaos/kids/work/life in general? Whatever your reading habits this summer, the good people at Penguin Books have offered up six diverse titles to help take the heat out of choosing.
Read on to discover an alternate history, septuagenarian detectives, a journey of redemption, a missing girl, and a glorious portrait of contemporary life. Or maybe you just want a book to wrap you up in its warm embrace. There’s one of them too. Here are six recommended summer reads from some people in the know.
The Godmothers by Monica McInerney
Eliza Miller grew up in Australia as the only daughter of a troubled young mother, but with the constant support of two watchful godmothers, Olivia and Maxie. She always felt loved and secure, until, just before her eighteenth birthday, a tragic event changed her life.
Thirteen years on, Eliza is living her safest life. Then an unexpected invitation leads her into the middle of a complicated family in Edinburgh. Amid the chaos, she begins to blossom. All of a sudden, she’s not only hopeful about the future, but ready to explore her past, including the biggest mystery of all: who is her father?
The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman
In a peaceful retirement village, four unlikely friends meet up once a week to investigate unsolved murders. But when a brutal killing takes place on their very doorstep, the Thursday Murder Club members find themselves at the centre of their first live case.
Elizabeth, Joyce, Ibrahim and Ron might be pushing 80 but they still have a few tricks up their sleeves. Can this unorthodox but brilliant gang catch the killer before it’s too late?
Girl, Woman, Other by Bernardine Evaristo
Grace is a Victorian orphan dreaming of the mysterious African father she will never meet. Winsome is a young Windrush bride, recently arrived from Barbados. Amma is the fierce queen of her 1980s squatters’ palace. Morgan, who used to be Megan, is blowing up on social media, the newest activist-influencer on the block…
The dual 2019 Man Booker Prize winner (shared with Margaret Atwood’s The Testaments), Girl Woman, Other tells the stories of twelve very different people, mostly black and female, across more than a hundred years of change. Bernardine Evaristo presents a gloriously new kind of British history: ever-dynamic, ever-expanding and utterly irresistible.
The Invisible Girl by Lisa Jewell
When Saffyre Maddox was ten, something terrible happened, and she’s carried the pain of it ever since. The man who she thought was going to heal her didn’t, and now she hides, learning his secrets, invisible in the shadows.
Owen Pick is invisible too. He’s never had a girlfriend; he’s never even had a friend. Nobody sees him. Nobody cares. But when Saffyre goes missing from opposite his house on Valentine’s night, suddenly the whole world is looking at Owen.
The Last Migration by Charlotte McConaghy
How far you would you go for love? Franny Stone is determined to go to the end of the earth, following the last of the Arctic terns on what may be their final migration to Antarctica.
As animal populations plummet and commercial fishing faces prohibition, Franny talks her way onto one of the few remaining boats heading south. But as she and the eccentric crew travel further from shore and safety, the dark secrets of Franny’s life begin to unspool.
From the west coast of Ireland to Australia and remote Greenland, through crashing Atlantic swells to the bottom of the world, this is an ode to the wild places and creatures now threatened, and an epic story of the possibility of hope against all odds.
Rodham by Curtis Sittenfeld
What if Hillary Rodham hadn’t married Bill Clinton?
‘Awfully opinionated for a girl’ is what they labelled Hillary Rodham as she grew up in her Chicago suburb. Then she goes to college, and her star rises. At Yale Law School, she continues to be a leader – and catches the eye of driven, handsome and charismatic Bill. But when he asks her to marry him, Hillary gives him a firm ‘No’.
Rodham is a brilliant reimagining, and truly a novel of our times. With her sharp but always compassionate eye, Curtis Sittenfeld explores the loneliness, moral ambivalence and iron determination that characterise the quest for high office, as well as the painful compromises demanded of ambitious women in a world ruled by men.
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