To me reading is the best escape. It doesn’t matter, if snuggled up inside or relaxing on the beach – I just have to have a book with me. Now that summer is arriving, I can’t imagine a better situation than sitting outside in nature, breathing the fresh air and reading a new story. And since we already have a few summer vacations booked that involve gorgeous beaches, I started to put together my summer reading list.
I love novels and fiction books the most, especially romantic stories that make me escape the real world. There are a few perfect summer beach reads on my list that will transport you to coastal places (including Charleston, New England and Florida). But since 2020 is truly a special year with lots of eye opening happenings, I also decided to educate myself further. I decided for two books on white privilege and anti-racism that will be a valuable resource for sure. And I consciously chose two fiction novels by black authors that I read so many great things about. Finally I included a book that I wanted to read for a while and that speaks about simplicity and fulfillment.
I truly can’t wait to start with this list and of course am so excited to take some of these books on vacation. Please let me know, if you have any more recommendations for good summer reads! I’m always looking for the next book.
For my American readers I included a wonderful new concept I found via my friend Ashley Brooke. I linked to a new platform and online bookstore called Bookshop.org that supports local independent bookstores. Since people mostly buy their books online, it’s a wonderful concept to support your local store instead of buying via Amazon. They receive more than 75% of the profit margin and you can even try to find a specific local bookstore via the map. Unfortunately they’re only shipping to the US as of right now, but I really hope they’ll make this a worldwide concept. Until then I will go to my local bookstore with this list and order from them (no Amazon links here!).
28 Summers by Elin Hilderbrand
When Mallory Blessing’s son, Link, receives deathbed instructions from his mother to call a number on a slip of paper in her desk drawer, he’s not sure what to expect. But he certainly does not expect Jake McCloud to answer. It’s the late spring of 2020 and Jake’s wife, Ursula DeGournsey, is the frontrunner in the upcoming Presidential election. There must be a mistake, Link thinks. How do Mallory and Jake know each other? Flash back to the sweet summer of 1993: Mallory has just inherited a beachfront cottage on Nantucket from her aunt, and she agrees to host her brother’s bachelor party. Cooper’s friend from college, Jake McCloud, attends, and Jake and Mallory form a bond that will persevere — through marriage, children, and Ursula’s stratospheric political rise — until Mallory learns she’s dying. Based on the classic film Same Time Next Year (which Mallory and Jake watch every summer), 28 Summers explores the agony and romance of a one-weekend-per-year affair and the dramatic ways this relationship complicates and enriches their lives, and the lives of the people they love.
On Ocean Boulevard by Mary Alice Monroe
It’s been sixteen years since Caretta “Cara” Rutledge has returned home to the beautiful shores of Charleston, South Carolina. Over those years, she has weathered the tides of deaths and births, struggles and joys. And now, as Cara prepares for her second wedding, her life is about to change yet again. Meanwhile, the rest of the storied Rutledge family is also in flux. Cara’s niece Linnea returns to Sullivan’s Island to begin a new career and an unexpected relationship. Linnea’s parents, having survived bankruptcy, pin their hopes and futures on the construction of a new home on Ocean Boulevard. But as excitement over the house and wedding builds, a devastating illness strikes the family and brings plans to a screeching halt. It is under these trying circumstances that the Rutledge family must come together yet again to discover the enduring strength in love, tradition, and legacy from mother to daughter to granddaughter. Like the sea turtles that come ashore annually on these windswept islands, three generations of the Rutledge family experience a season of return, rebirth, and growth.
Girls of summer by Nancy Thayer
Lisa Hawley is perfectly satisfied living on her own. Having fully recovered from a brutal divorce nearly two decades earlier, she has successfully raised her kids, Juliet and Theo, seeing them off to college and beyond. As the owner of a popular boutique on Nantucket, she’s built a fulfilling life for herself on the island where she grew up. With her beloved house in desperate need of repair, Lisa calls on Mack Whitney, a friendly–and very handsome–local contractor and fellow single parent, to do the work. The two begin to grow close, and Lisa is stunned to realize that she might be willing to open up again after all . . . despite the fact that Mack is ten years her junior. Juliet and Theo worry that Mack will only break their mother’s heart–and they can’t bear to see her hurt again. Both stuck in ruts of their own, they each hope that a summer on Nantucket will provide them with the clarity they’ve been searching for. When handsome entrepreneur Ryder Hastings moves to the island to expand his environmental nonprofit, Juliet, an MIT-educated web designer, feels an immediate attraction, one her rocky love life history pushes her to deny at first. Meanwhile, free spirit Theo finds his California bliss comes to a brutal halt when a surfing injury forces him back to the East Coast. Upon his return, he has eyes only for Mack’s daughter, Beth, to whom he is bound by an unspeakable tragedy from high school. Can they overcome their past? As the season unfolds, a storm threatens to shatter the peace of the golden island, forcing Lisa, Juliet, and Theo to decide whether their summer romances are destined for something more profound.
The Water Keeper by Charles Martin
Murphy Shepherd is a man with many secrets. He lives alone on an island, tending the grounds of a church with no parishioners, and he’s dedicated his life to rescuing those in peril. But as he mourns the loss of his mentor and friend, Murph himself may be more lost than he realizes. When he pulls a beautiful woman named Summer out of Florida’s Intracoastal Waterway, Murph’s mission to lay his mentor to rest at the end of the world takes a dangerous turn. Drawn to Summer, and desperate to find her missing daughter, Murph is pulled deeper and deeper into the dark and dangerous world of modern-day slavery. With help from some unexpected new friends, including a faithful Labrador he plucks from the ocean and an ex-convict named Clay, Murph must race against the clock to locate the girl before he is consumed by the secrets of his past–and the ghosts who tried to bury them.
Tiny Imperfections by Alli Frank & Asha Youmans
At thirty-nine, Josie Bordelon’s modeling career as the “it” black beauty of the ’90s is far behind her. Now director of admissions at San Francisco’s most sought after private school, she’s chic, single, and determined to keep her seventeen-year-old daughter, Etta, from making the same mistakes she did. But Etta has plans of her own–and their beloved matriarch, Aunt Viv, has Etta’s back. If only Josie could manage Etta’s future as well as she manages the shenanigans of the over-anxious, over-eager parents at school–or her best friend’s attempts to coax Josie out of her sex sabbatical and back onto the dating scene. As admissions season heats up, Josie discovers that when it comes to matters of the heart–and the office–the biggest surprises lie closest to home.