Welcome to your Candis summer reads…
We may not need to pack our favourite titles for a far-flung vacation, but that doesn’t mean you can’t be transported to wherever the pages take you! Check out these 12 fabulous books…
Miss Benson’s Beetle by Rachel Joyce (£16.99 HB, Doubleday)
In 1950, teacher Margery Benson plans a trip to look for a rare golden beetle. She advertises for a companion to accompany her to New Caledonia. Not her first choice, Enid is as talkative and gregarious as Margery is prim and socially awkward. But friendship blossoms on their voyage of self-discovery. Beautifully written, quirky and humorous with wonderful characters.
The Tuscan Contessa by Dinah Jefferies (£7.99, Penguin)
In Tuscany in World War Two, Sofia the local contessa agrees to shelter a British radio engineer, keeping him hidden from her husband. When Maxine, an Italian American working for the Resistance, arrives on her doorstep, the women forge an uneasy alliance and are soon entangled in a dangerous game with the Nazis. A captivating novel of friendship and love with rich historical detail.
The Storm by Amanda Jennings (£7.99, HQ)
Hannah and Nathan appear to have the perfect marriage, but Hannah is fearful of her controlling husband. As her past unfolds, we learn how events in 1998 keep her in the marriage and why Nathan is so jealous. When an old flame comes back into her life, Hannah has to face her demons, with explosive consequences. A thought-provoking, suspenseful thriller.
Grave’s End by William Shaw (£14.99 HB, Riverrun)
A body is found in a freezer, but nobody seems to care who it is or how they got there. DS Alexandra Cupidi finds out that the discovery is linked to a housing crisis and environmentalism politics. Add into the mix her activist daughter, Zoe, and scatty colleague Constable Jill Ferriter and the DS really has her work cut out to solve the case. A taut, atmospheric mystery with a complex plot.
My One True North by Milly Johnson (£14.99 HB, Simon & Schuster)
After losing their partners on the same night, Laurie and Pete meet at a counselling group. As they get to know each other, they begin to find happiness once again. But when terrible secrets about that fateful day emerge, their relationship is threatened. The wonderful characters and magical storyline make this an uplifting book.
Beach Read by Emily Henry (£7.99, Viking)
January is a hopeless romantic. Augustus is a serious literary type who thinks true love is a fairy tale. The two shouldn’t get on but find they have more in common than they thought. Both need to write a bestseller before summer’s end and both have writer’s block. To top it all, they have to swap genres to have a chance of winning the writing contest they’ve entered. A fun romcom with a unique storyline and hilarious moments.
The Women Who Ran Away by Sheila O’Flanagan (£18.99 HB, Headline)
After meeting on a ferry from Ireland to France, two women decide to take their futures into their own hands after discovering disturbing truths about the men they loved. Deira and Grace form an unlikely friendship on their journey of self-discovery as they drive through France and Spain and away from their pasts – or so they hoped. If you’re looking for complete escapism, this riveting book with captivating characters and an evocative storyline is perfect.
The Missing Pieces of Nancy Moon by Sarah Steele (£18.99 HB, Headline Review)
Florence Connelly is heartbroken after the death of her gran and the breakdown of her marriage. She finds a box of dress patterns in her gran’s wardrobe, each of which contains a fabric swatch, a postcard from Europe and a photo of a woman, Nancy Moon, wearing the dress. Flo recreates Nancy’s tour of 1962, and unravels a love story that may even help to stitch her own life back together. A story filled with hope.
The Shelf by Helly Acton (£12.99 HB, Zaffre)
When her boyfriend, Jamie, surprises her with a holiday, Amy is sure he’s going to pop the question. But the dream soon turns sour when she finds herself on the set of a reality TV show called The Shelf and Amy and five other women are dumped on live TV. Tasks are set as the women compete for prize money, but as they bond, Amy begins to love and accept herself for who she is. With moments of hilarity and endearment, this book takes a satirical look at modern culture and car-crash TV.
All the Lonely People by Mike Gayle (£14.99 HB, Hodder & Stoughton)
Widower Hubert Bird is lonely. In weekly calls to his daughter in Australia, he portrays a different picture, filled with fun and good friends. One day, he receives some good news, but it’s news that will force him out into a world he’s long since turned his back on. He also has to make his real life resemble the fake life he has created! A charming story packed with endearing characters and plenty of humour and insight.
If I Can’t Have You by Charlotte Levin (£14.99, Mantle)
Constance is lonely and desperate to fall in love. She’s attracted to Samuel, the new doctor at the medical centre where she works, and is thrilled when her feelings are reciprocated. But when he ends their relationship, she is devastated and long-buried emotions from her troubled childhood come to the fore. A powerful obsession ensues and the story builds to a shocking end as Constance will stop at nothing to get what she wants. A gripping and stylish debut.
Don’t Turn Around by Jessica Barry (£12.99 HB, Harvill Secker)
Cait and Rebecca are driving across America. Rebecca is fleeing from something but Cait doesn’t ask questions as she knows what it is like to be followed. Her job is to transport women to safety, but secrets Rebecca is keeping could put them in jeopardy. As they leave Texas, it becomes obvious that something is following them! With strong characters and a tense and twisty plot, this is an edge-of-your-seat thriller culminating in a roller-coaster ending.