Summer Reading Recommendations 2019

When I started this post it did not feel like summer – rain, rain and more rain. Testament to the changeability of the weather in Paris (and my procrastination) we are now experiencing a heatwave…

But whether you are home or away this summer, in sunshine or in rain (I hope it’s the former) I hope you’ll have time to get lost in a good book.

So, here are my summer reads; the first are books that I have read, loved and am excited to recommend. The second section are the books that I am looking forward to reading this summer…

So happy summer, happy reading…and I’d love to hear your thoughts on these picks.

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Summer Reading Recommendations

Queenie, Candice Carty-Williams

This book has been hailed as ‘Bridget Jones meets Americanah’ which is high praise indeed. I listened to a great interview with Carty-Williams who talked about the gap in mainstream publishing of black female protagonists. She’s got a point. And her response was Queenie, which is a great read; it’s disarmingly honest but also very funny. Like Bridget Jones, Queenie has a group of superbly drawn female friends. Also, like Bridget, one of them is named Darcy…but in this book, the ‘Darcy’ who saves her is a woman and a friend.

Love is Blind, William Boyd

Oh I do love William Boyd and I was so exciting about this, his latest novel. Not only is it (partly) set in Paris (which is where I am living at the moment) it’s also set at the turn of the 20th century, which is one of my favourite periods to read about.

Did I love this book? Yes, reader, I did! I was completely immersed in Brodie Moncur’s world right from the start. This is absolutely a love story – a sweeping, dramatic love story – and it carried me along so quickly that I was having to ration myself as I didn’t want it to be over.

Boyd is a huge fan of Chekhov…and the man himself makes an appearance, as well as in the epigraph. I loved this ‘meta’ element of the novel – it didn’t take away from the story, just added to my enjoyment of it.

Transcription, Kate Atkinson

Kate Atkinson is one of my favourite novelists writing at the moment. Transcription is a great read; a spy novel, but one in which Atkinson manages to subvert the genre. The theme of identity which ran through A God in Ruins (my favourite of her novels) and Life After Life is also a key here; what makes up a life when identity has been changed right at the beginning? I loved Juliet’s inner voice and her funny, clever and often irreverent running commentary. Atkinson is such a clever and wise writer but also a thrilling one – this is definitely a page turner.

City of Girls, Elizabeth Gilbert

Eat, Pray, Love was the publishing phenomenon which made Elizabeth Gilbert famous. And no, I haven’t read it (or seen the film). However when I saw this, her latest book, it sounded up my street – 1940s, New York, showgirls, glamour – I’m in!

This is an absolute romp of a novel with a fabulous cast of characters; the dialogue sparkles and I loved the attention to period detail.  It is about sexual awakening and female desire, but it is also a warm and wise treatise on female friendship. I hugely enjoyed this and read it over the course of a weekend – a perfect beach read, but so much more than ‘just’ a holiday book.

In a Summer Season, Elizabeth Taylor

No, not ‘that’ Elizabeth Taylor. I have been reading and hearing about this novelist for ages but had yet to read anything by her; she was English author who wrote the majority of her novels in the 1950s and 60s. I picked this book up in the library and I’m so glad I did! She is an author in the Jane Austen vein; small scale, domestic dramas with a hefty dose of caustic wit. Books that are so effortless that you know that their author is prodigiously talented.  Philip Hensher describes her as a ‘one of the hidden treasures of the English novel’ – go and find one of her books. You’ll be rewarded.

 

My Summer Reading List

The list of books I want to read is long and getting longer! Here are a few of them that I definitely plan on getting though this summer. As I haven’t yet read them, the information below is from the publisher.

The Confessions of Frannie Langton, Sara Collins

‘They say I must be put to death for what happened to Madame, and they want me to confess. But how can I confess what I don’t believe I’ve done?’

1826, and all of London is in a frenzy. Crowds gather at the gates of the Old Bailey to watch as Frannie Langton, maid to Mr and Mrs Benham, goes on trial for their murder. The testimonies against her are damning – slave, whore, seductress. And they may be the truth. But they are not the whole truth.

For the first time Frannie must tell her story. It begins with a girl learning to read on a plantation in Jamaica, and it ends in a grand house in London, where a beautiful woman waits to be freed.

But through her fevered confessions, one burning question haunts Frannie Langton: could she have murdered the only person she ever loved?

A beautiful and haunting tale about one woman’s fight to tell her story, The Confessions of Frannie Langton leads you through laudanum-laced dressing rooms and dark-as-night back alleys, into the enthralling heart of Georgian London

The Snakes, Sadie Jones

Bea and Dan, recently married, rent out their tiny flat to escape London for a few precious months. Driving through France they visit Bea’s dropout brother Alex at the hotel he runs in Burgundy. Disturbingly, they find him all alone and the ramshackle hotel deserted, apart from the nest of snakes in the attic.

When Alex and Bea’s parents make a surprise visit, Dan can’t understand why Bea is so appalled, or why she’s never wanted him to know them; Liv and Griff Adamson are charming, and rich. They are the richest people he has ever met. Maybe Bea’s ashamed of him, or maybe she regrets the secrets she’s been keeping. 

Tragedy strikes suddenly, brutally, and in its aftermath the family is stripped back to its rotten core, and now neither Bea nor Alex can escape…

Swan Song, Kelleigh Greenberg-Jephcott

Over countless martini-soaked Manhattan lunches, they shared their deepest secrets and greatest fears. On exclusive yachts sailing the Mediterranean, on private jets streaming towards Jamaica, on Yucatán beaches in secluded bays, they gossiped about sex, power, money, love and fame. They never imagined he would betray them so absolutely.

In the autumn of 1975, after two decades of intimate friendships, Truman Capote detonated a literary grenade, forever rupturing the elite circle he’d worked so hard to infiltrate. Why did he do it, knowing what he stood to lose? Was it to punish them? To make them pay for their manners, money and celebrated names? Or did he simply refuse to believe that they could ever stop loving him? Whatever the motive, one thing remains indisputable: nine years after achieving wild success with In Cold Blood, Capote committed an act of professional and social suicide with his most lethal of weapons . . . Words.

Hopefully there is something that takes your fancy here…for more ideas check out the reading recommendations for Summer 2018 and Summer 2017

Happy reading!

2 Replies to “Summer Reading Recommendations 2019”

  1. Thanks for these books, there are some I’ve not yet encountered and they look great!

    1. makingherehome says: Reply

      Thank you Connie

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