My family has always enjoyed two big book buys a year. That’s not to say we don’t buy the odd book at other times, but at the start of Summer and at the start of January we have always enjoyed a trip to the bookshop and bought armfuls of books to enjoy. These days about half my books come from Waterstones and the other half from Amazon, book fairs and charity shops. I’ve amassed quite the haul this year, so over the next few weeks I will be sharing my Summer reads for 2016!
First, to the elephant in the room, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. Now, clearly, this book has been read multiple times in the past but I felt with the advent of Cursed Child (which I saw last week!) it deserved yet another reading. As finales go, Deathly Hallows is among the best. With surprises, catharsis and the final conclusion of Harry’s teenage tale, it did not disappoint in 2007 and and it still does not now. As Cursed Child is billed as the eighth story, beginning nineteen years later, it felt important to have the events of Deathly Hallows fresh in my mind as I entered the theatre. If you’re off to see the play, or plan on reading the script – I definitely recommend grabbing a copy of DH for a read.
I heard a lot about Eligible before its publication, and was torn between resisting the hype and indulging my love of all things Darcy. I saw it on the shelf in Waterstones and couldn’t resist it. It’s a hefty tome (and doesn’t need to be, the font is large and spacing wide) but that somehow adds to its charm. The truth that is universally acknowledged is still proven accurate in small town America, and the characters are updated and aged up to add resonance in the 21st Century. Despite its intimidating size, Eligible is a light and easy read with plenty of referential humour for the Austen fans, and well developed and humorous characters for those not familiar with Pride and Prejudice. If you plan on reading this whilst on holiday or on the commute then I’d recommend a Kindle version, but if you’re curling up with a glass of Pimms on a summer evening then grab the hardback.
Studying music has meant Stravinsky is a name that holds many associations for me; awe and fear being just two. The story of Coco and Igor was too tempting to resist when I saw this at a Summer Fayre book stall (the perfect place to pick up books you didn’t even know you wanted). So I picked it up and found myself fantasising about a glamorous Parisian affair in the roaring 1920s. Whilst the novel is a work of fiction, facts about the lives of Coco Chanel and Igor Stravinsky are peppered throughout, giving an intense realism to the characters. It is a seductive, glamorous and very sophisticated romance novel.
Over the last few years my summer has not been complete without purchasing the latest book by Giovanna Fletcher. This year’s offering is Always With Love, the sequel to her debut, Billy and Me. Billy and Me contained my favourite characters by Giovanna, and so I was delighted she revisited them for Always With Love. A tale of a village girl being whisked off her feet by a gorgeous film star, Billy and Me gave you everything you could want from a summer read – bunting, cupcakes, sunshine and a leading man you wished would leap of the pages. Always With Love offers a conclusion to the story of Sophie and Billy; it is charming, adorable and has real moments of tension in their relationship. Whilst a complete fantasy life for the likes of you and me, there is something about Sophie, Billy and Giovanna’s development of their characters that makes them instantly feel like people you could know.
One Hot Summer is a book I shamelessly bought as an easy read on the beach. It ticks all the boxes for a beach read, and I breezed through it in an afternoon.