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Literary escapes to dive into this summer

Your reading list just got a lot more interesting with our top picks of novels to dive into this season, all of which are sure to inspire your summer travels

Whether you’re an armchair traveller, are looking for the ideal setting to inspire your next escape or hoping to get lost in a new story while soaking up the sun at an exotic beach destination, we’ve got just the picks for you.

One Italian Summer by Rebecca Serle

Ever tried to envision your parents’ lives in their youth? Author Rebecca Serle explores just that in the dreamy landscapes of Italy in her latest release. The New York Times bestselling author was inspired by her travels to the European country and the time her mother spent there in her youth.

The story begins when Katy’s mother, Carol, dies of cancer ahead of their planned mother-daughter trip to Italy. The protagonist decides to embark on the adventure alone. But as soon as she steps foot on the Amalfi Coast, she runs into a 30-year-old incarnation of Carol. Buoyed by the stunning waters, beautiful cliff sides, delightful residents and delectable food of Positano, Katy feels herself coming back to life with her mother’s presence, although she doesn’t understand what is happening. Over the course of the summer, the women get to know each other deeply, not just as mother and daughter but as friends.

The Paper Palace by Miranda Cowley Heller

Summer after summer, Elle Bishop returns to "The Paper Palace" – the family summer home in the woods of Cape Cod that she visited every year as a child and still does so with her family as a 50-year-old woman. But during this warm sunny day in July, when we meet Elle, things are different as she encounters her childhood love, Jonas. On the verge of a decision that can forever alter their lives and the lives of their families, Elle and Jonas relive their summers gone by.

As we delve deeper, the tender yet devastating tales of Elle's childhood come to light. The author paints a lush picture of her life in the cabin in the woods, with narratives that instantly transport you to its dreamy setting, all the while exploring the bonds between the family.

The Secret Keeper of Jaipur by Alka Joshi

When master storyteller Alka Joshi released her debut novel, it became an instant bestseller. But her success was years in the making as it took over a decade and 30 drafts before The Henna Artist hit the shelves. Keen to keep the story of Lakshmi (the 30-year-old protagonist whom we meet in the first book) going, Joshi released The Secret Keeper of Jaipur, which is equally as riveting as its prequel (with a third book to complete the trilogy on the way).

The Secret Keeper of Jaipur takes us back to the spring of 1969 in beautiful Shimla in India, where we meet beloved characters from The Henna Artist and new faces. The story takes you through rural northern India, through the hills and through the Pink City of Jaipur, where forces are at work to keep some damaging secrets buried. We meet Malik, who is serving as an apprentice at the Facilities Office of the Jaipur Royal Palace. Their latest project – a state-of-the-art cinema – collapses on opening night killing some audience members and injuring others. Blame is placed where it is convenient but Malik, suspecting something far darker, sets out to uncover the truth.

The Club by Ellery Lloyd

Husband and wife duo Collette Lyons and Paul Vlitos, who write under the pseudonym Ellery Lloyd, have released a wickedly clever thriller, which is set in an ultra-exclusive members' club on a remote, once forgotten island.

The story takes us to the English coast, where The Home Group, a collection of private clubs for the rich and famous, is in the final stage of unveiling its most ambitious project yet – Island Home. Billed as an exotic retreat transformed into the height of luxury for its VIP members, every celebrity, socialite and politician is dying to get in. But as the first guests arrive, things begin to take a deadly turn.

Behind the scenes, tensions are at breaking point and dark secrets are revealed. But with everyone having something to hide, the body count quickly rises. As tempers fray and behaviours worsen, some of Island Home’s members will begin to wish they’d never made the guest list.

The Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren

Those in the mood for a holiday rom-com are in for a treat with Christina Lauren's The Unhoneymooners. In this light and enjoyable read, we meet Olive, who is always unlucky in her career, in love and everything in between. For her identical twin, Ami, it's just the opposite. With Ami's wedding set to take place, Olive is forced to endure 24 hours of hell with her sworn enemy, Ethan, who just happens to be the best man.

The prospect of returning to her ordinary, unlucky life keeps her going; but things take a turn when the entire wedding party gets food poisoning from eating bad shellfish. The only people who aren’t affected are Olive and Ethan. But that's not all! Now there’s an all-expenses-paid honeymoon in Hawaii up for grabs, which the bride and groom can no longer take.

Putting their hatred aside for the sake of a free vacation, Olive and Ethan head for Hawaii, determined to avoid each other at all costs. But when Olive runs into her future boss, a little white lie results in her and Ethan having to pretend to be newlyweds. But she slowly realises she doesn’t mind playing pretend and starts feeling lucky.

The Lost Apothecary by Sarah Penner

Sarah Penner's debut novel is an enthralling work of mystery, murder, trust, and betrayal, and has won the young author immense praise. Set in London, the immersive story flows skillfully from past to present, with two interconnected plots unfolding in the 1790s and in the present day. The page-turner reveals the heartaches and lost dreams of the captivating main characters with surprises in store right until the final paragraph.

In 1791, we meet Nella, an apothecary who operates a hidden shop behind a wall in a storage room. And it's hidden with good cause as her potions are designed to provide women in need with a deadly option to right a wrong they could not otherwise and make their problems vanish.

In present-day London, aspiring historian Caroline finds the old apothecary, only to realise she’s found a link to the unsolved murders that haunted London over two centuries ago. As she deepens her search, Caroline’s life collides with Nella’s in a stunning twist of fate.

Something in the Water by Catherine Steadman

Dreaming of a tropical getaway? Dive right into Something in the Water, where you can join Erin and Mark on their dream honeymoon in Bora Bora. Erin is a documentary filmmaker on the brink of a professional breakthrough while Mark is an investment banker with big plans.

Happy days seem to lie ahead as the duo take in the sun, sand and sea on the island, until, while scuba diving in the crystal blue sea, they find something in the water.

Suddenly, the newlyweds must make a dangerous choice: to speak out or to forever protect their secret. Their decision ultimately triggers a chain of devastating events, that neither can undo but have to outrun to survive.

We Were Never Here by Andrea Bartz

Andrea Bartz takes us to some of the world's most stunning locales through the adventures of Emily and her best friend, Kristen. The girls have a pact to embark on a backpacking trip every year, which sees the long-distance best friends unite for an unforgettable vacation.

Spending their most recent holiday in the mountains of Chile, things go horribly wrong on the last night of their trip when

Emily enters their hotel suite to find blood and broken glass on the floor. Kristen says she was attacked by another backpacker they met and she had no choice but to kill the perpetrator in self-defence. But what's even more shocking is that the scene is horrifyingly similar to last year's trip, when another backpacker wound up dead. Can lightning really strike twice?

Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens

With the movie based on Delia Owen's bestselling novel, Where the Crawdads Sing, set to hit the screens within a few weeks, now's the best time to get your hands on the book.

Our story begins in Barkley Cove, a quiet fishing village, where we meet Kya Clark, a wild child, unfit for polite society. So when popular local Chase Andrews is found dead, the village immediately suspects Kya. But she is not what they say.

A born naturalist with just one day of school, she takes life's lessons from the land, learning the real ways of the world from the signals of fireflies. But while she has the skills to live in solitude forever, the time comes when she yearns to be loved. Yet, as Kya opens herself to a new world, the unthinkable happens.

The Simple Wild by K.A. Tucker

Part of the popular four-part Wild series, K.A.Tucker's The Simple Wild is where it all begins. Calla Fletcher's mother fled Alaska with her as a baby, unable to handle the extreme, rural lifestyle, leaving behind Calla’s father, Wren. The years fly by and, at 26, a busy life in Toronto is all Calla knows. But when she learns that Wren’s days may be numbered, she makes the long trip back to the remote town where she was born.

She braves the roaming wildlife, the odd daylight hours and the exorbitant prices, all for the chance to connect with her father. While she struggles to adjust to this rugged environment, she meets Jonah, the proud Alaskan pilot keeping her father’s charter plane company afloat. And he’s clearly convinced that she’s too pampered to handle the wild. But Calla is determined to prove him wrong. Soon, she finds herself forming an unexpected bond with the pilot. But Calla is not in Alaska to stay and Jonah will never leave.


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