So are you all packed for your summer hol? Bikini? Check. Sun cream? Check. Fifteen pairs of shoes? Check (though you’ll only ever wear two, obv). Holiday reading? Erm… What you need is some top sunlounger page-turners, so I’ve roped in a couple of my fellow Fabulous book fans, Laura and Rosie, to help make choosing that beach read a little bit easier for you. Here are our picks for packing:
The laugh out louder
Getting dumped the night before going on hols isn’t what Sophie imagined when she booked two weeks in Majorca with the love of her life, Callum. In fact, she’d dreamed about him proposing. When his proposal is more of the ‘let’s break up’ variety she is a complete mess, but desperate not to have to tell everyone how miserable she is and to show Callum what a brave, independent woman she is, she says she’s going to Majorca alone. In fact, she stays in her one-bed flat in week-old pyjamas and bed hair. That is until her sister Clare comes round to water her plants and discovers the truth. But Clare decides that if she’s going to pretend to be on holiday, Sophie should do it properly – and so begins a week of fake tan, a beach in the backyard and photos on Facebook in attempt to show Callum what a good time she’s having without him in order to try to win him back!
This is a total giggle-fest and the perfect quick read for a girlie week in the sun. The characters are real and believeable and the tone is just right. The scene where Clare comes into Sophie’s bedroom is so funny, it had me shaking with laughter. You will definitely LOL!
Sunny, happy-go-lucky Lou Clark is 26 and has just lost her waitressing job in The Buttered Bun cafe and needs to help her parents make ends meet. So she applies for a six-month job asking for “care and companionship for a disabled man” . The man turns out to be Will Traynor, a former city trader who has been left a quadriplegic after a motorbike accident and is angry and depressed. His mother thinks he needs some company to cheer him up: that company is Lou. As the pair get to know each other, they develop a close friendship – until Lou finds out that Will has given his parents an ultimatum: he doesn’t want to live his life any longer, he wants out. What follows is an intelligent, well-written story that asks emotive and important questions about how we deal with disability and the choices available.
Published early this year, there’s still a real buzz around this novel – read it, and you’ll understand why. Just make sure you pack tissues and oversized sunnies.
Physio Amy lands a job in Oxford’s largest hospital and offers her services at St George’s rowing club in her spare time in exchange for free membership and the chance to act as cox when needed. And access to hot, muscly men! Quickly she makes friends but finds herself caught in the middle of arrogant posh boy Rollo and his rowing partner, handsome but serious Dan. Both want to win a seat in the Oxford team for the university boat race and to be picked for the Olympics – and both want Amy! But who will she choose? The race is on…
Sexy, light and fun, this addictive book will keep a smile on your face all day. The perfect beach read, it’s Jilly Cooper in a boat – oar-some!
Wanna get your hands on Cox (ahem!)? We’ve got 20 copies to give away here.
The holiday romance
Flora Fielding is unceremoniously dumped on her 30th boyfriend by her love-rat boyfriend while on holiday in San Francisco. She takes solace in all-American café, Apple Pie. There she gets chatting to super-geek Josh, who could be the next Mark Zuckerberg. Shrugging off the obvious spark between them, Flora leaves the cafe behind and tracks down her cousin, Bella, who has been living in San Fran for the last few years. Bella’s part of an Abba tribute band, and Flora is soon drawn into glittery gigs, Swedish wigs and late nights at the Lizard Lounge. Then she bumps into Josh again and starts to forget about her ex…
Editorial Assistant Laura says: This is full of laugh-out-loud moments and wry observations on the craziness of the super-clean-living San Franciscians, but then there’s a dramatic twist, which also gives the story a more serious feel. Allie Spencer’s hilarious writing takes you straight to the heart of San Francisco and leaves you wishing you could be part of what Flora calls her ‘tribe’. Even getting up on stage with Abbadabbatastic, dressed in platform boots to sing Waterloo sounds alluring. And, like Flora, we certainly don’t have the voice of an angel, so that’s saying something! Mamma Mia!
The lounging by the pool read
A Walk In The Park, by Jill Mansell (£6.99, Headline), out July 5
When Lara Carson returns to the town where she grew up for her father’s funeral, she sees her old friend Evie, who promptly invites her to her impending wedding to fiance Joel. A couple of weeks later at the wedding she bumps into Flynn Erskine, the boy she was madly in love with as a teenager. They haven’t seen each other since a huge row 18 years ago, after which she left town, having been kicked out of her home by her angry father and bitter stepmother. What Flynn doesn’t know is that Lara now has a daughter – who’s 18. But before Lara can do more than realise how handsome he still is, Evie calls off the wedding and events are thrown into chaos. Everyone’s lives are about to change, and love is never as straight forward as it seems.
From the very start you feel like you care about the characters in this story, and you want them all to have a happy ending. It’s a charming, grown-up read that will hold your interest all day long. Another sure-fire hit from Jill Mansell!
The reality TV alike:
Set in the glam London borough of Chelsea, ex-model Imogen, Calvary, a former fashion editor, and Yasmin, an ex-party girl are all about designer handbags, platinum credit cards and exotic holidays, dah-ling. But, as perfect as their days sounds, their lives aren’t quite what they seem. Behind the posh accents and fast cars lie personal tragedy and marriage problems. So the three socialites decide to change the power balance between them and their husbands once and for all.
Laura says: An easy and enjoyable holiday romp, which allows you to leave behind your own cares and worries as you’re whisked through the streets of super-rich Chelsea. You’ll find yourself recognising your own group of friends in the characters, albeit with a bottle of cheap plonk rather than a magnum of chanpers in their hands! Yah!
The thought provoker:
This is about brothers Lee and Ned, whose father has gone missing. Ned is deaf, and the brothers imagine that everything is over for them, until Lee gets a job at a funeral home and falls for the girl who drives the florist’s van. Along the way, Lee also meets the terminally ill, the eccentric and the sidelined in their sleepy little village. But there is also something sinister lurking around the corner…
Entertainment Assistant Rosie says: Every so often you come across a book that is completely different from anything else you’ve ever read, and it’s so refreshing! I tend to read period books (yeah, I’m a Victorian lit geek), so picking newer stuff out scares me. This book is perfection, though. It’s just a longer than a novella, so I devoured it in a day. It’s a moving book all about love, loss, death and family. You’ll cry, but it’s really funny too, and the oddball characters are totally unforgettable and haunting.
The cute-as love story
The villagers of Long Dansbury have heard a rumour that Lady Lydia Fortescue has put her massive home Longbridge Hall up for sale and there’s talk at the estate agents that Stella Hutton has only got a job there because her family own the agency. Lady Lydia does indeed want to sell, but for her own secret reasons, and she’s has heard that Stella is THE person to sell her home, so she signs her up. Then there’s Xander, who grew up in the Hall and has his own reasons for not wanting it sold, and literally bumps into Stella on her way into the village. With all the stories and gossip flying around, no one quite knows the truth, but it will always come out in the end…
This is a fab read full of lovely moments, especially the scenes where we get to know and understand eccentric Lady Lydia. At its heart is a girl-meets-boy love story, but as we all know, the course of love never did run smooth, so expect lots of twists and turns. Sweet with a bit of a kick!
So, which books will you be taking on holiday? Tweet me about your faves @FabFrosty