Summer and the heat are in the air. Whether you're daydreaming about a staycation by the beach or packing for one, Jennifer McShane recommends five favourites worth downloading on your Kindle (before it goes in the suitcase).
Foreign Affairs by Patricia Scanlan
Do you have a favourite summer read you always go back to? Patricia Scanlan’s Foreign Affairs is my go-to holiday read. It tells the story of Brenda, Jennifer, Paula, and Rachel from young children to adulthood and all the moments in between. Scanlan’s strength has always been her characters; they are so relatable; so vividly written they jump off the page. The plot is fairly standard but what makes the book work is the different characters each at a crossroads in their lives, so distinct from one another. And the fluidity of the writing means that you never feel like the story becomes laborious to read. This is one for those long summer nights and is still my favourite Scanlan novel.
Lie With Me by Sabine Durrant
Like all clever thrillers, Lie With Me is made for binge reading. While on a Greek holiday with his new girlfriend and family, failed writer Paul finds himself fatally caught up in the investigation of a girl who went missing ten years before. Clues are slowly revealed as the former golden boy goes further out of his depth, but can he be trusted? It’s one that will keep you guessing until the very end.
A Separation by Kate Kitamura
While reading Katie Kitamura’s A Separation, think Gone Girl only this time, the roles are reversed. A husband is missing and it’s his estranged wife that travels to Greece to attempt to locate him, due to the insistence of his overbearing mother. What she doesn’t know is that the unnamed narrator has separated from her husband because she’s discovered, he is a compulsive philanderer, and she has gotten sick of his infidelities. And when he ends up dead – murdered – we never know why he insisted she keep it a secret from everyone. What follows is an intriguing mystery and depiction of what happens when things are left unexamined and unresolved. A perfect poolside read.
The Roanoke Girls by Amy Engel
In author Amy Engel’s, The Roanoke Girls, fifteen-year-old Lane Roanoke is sent to live with her estranged maternal grandparents at the family’s rural ranch after mother’s tragic death. Over the course of a humid summer, she gets to live the life of all the mysterious Roanoke girls before her, but the dark truth about them is slowly revealed: every girl either runs away or dies. Lane must then decide and deal with the consequences that come with enduring this terrible legacy. This atmospheric, haunting book will have you instantly hooked.
Sex Object: A Memoir by Jessica Valenti
Jessica Valenti, a US blogger, and writer is easily one of the most recognisable feminists of her generation, and her memoir, Sex Objects, is a funny, sometimes heartbreaking look at her life and her daily experiences with sexism and misogyny. A perfect holiday read.