Summer reads: Books to help you make that great escape

Don't forget to pack some good books when you jet off on that well-deserved break. Hannah Stephenson leafs through some of this year's hottest picks

A good book can make a holiday a real break – how much you read can be a measure of how much you've managed to fully get away from it all
Hannah Stephenson

ESCAPE into a world of books with the best of bestsellers, award-winning women's fiction, debut novels, historical epics and moving memoirs. Here's just a few you might want to pick up...


:: Jane Green's latest tale Falling (Macmillan, £14.99) centres on an Englishwoman who leaves New York to rent a tiny beach cottage in Connecticut and falls for the local handyman, who has a six-year-old son. But they soon discover it's not easy when two such different lives merge into one.

:: Lisa Jewell's new novel I found You (Century, £12.99) sees a single-mother-of-three take pity on a strange man she finds on a beach in Yorkshire, who is suffering from memory loss due to a shocking event. Meanwhile, in Surrey, the new husband of a young Latvian girl goes missing and police find that he never existed. It's a fascinating read as the storylines slowly merge.

:: Bestselling novelist Lesley Pearse is back with Dead To Me (Michael Joseph, £18.99), a story about two friends from very different backgrounds – one rich, one poor – and how their paths divide as one goes up in the world while the other encounters tragedy, until matters come to a head in 1938.

:: Women's fiction favourite Katie Flynn brings us An Orphan's Christmas (Century, £20, out August 25), set in Liverpool in 1936. Two orphans become firm friends, only to be separated by war – but will they meet again?


:: Ex-SAS officer Chris Ryan's new action-packed novel Bad Soldier (Coronet, £18.99, out August 25), sees Islamic State militants smuggling themselves into Europe on migrant boats, and it's down to hero Danny Black to stop a sickening Christmas Day atrocity in London.

:: Burning Angels (Orion, £18.99) is the second in a trilogy from TV survivalist Bear Grylls, in which his hero Will Jaeger tackles germ warfare, a jungle island overrun by rabid primates, conservation and poaching, illegal arms dealing, and a hunt for his lost wife and son.


:: The 100th anniversary of the Battle of the Somme has spawned a plethora of books. Among the ones to watch are First Day Of The Somme by Andrew Macdonald (HarperCollins, £15.99), a top-to-bottom account of that tragic day as told from both British and German perspectives; and Douglas Haig: From The Somme To Victory by Gary Sheffield (Aurum Press, £25), an updated version of the 2011 biography of Field Marshal Haig, shedding new light on the man, the Somme and the First World War.

:: Peter Ho Davies brings us The Fortunes (Sceptre, £14.99, out August 25), his long-awaited second novel divided into four parts, set over 150 years. It tells the stories of four characters of Chinese descent and their experiences in America, using both real and fictional figures in Chinese American history.

:: Three Sisters, Three Queens by Philippa Gregory (Simon & Schuster, £20, out Aug 9) is the queen of historical fiction's latest Tudor epic, focusing on Katherine of Aragon and King Henry VIII's sisters Margaret and Mary.


:: Fans of the Will Trent series will love The Kept Woman (Century, £20), the latest page-turner from Karin Slaughter. It sees the special agent investigating the murder of an ex-cop, whose body is discovered in an Atlanta warehouse owned by the city's most high-profile athlete.

:: The Missing by CL Taylor (Avon, £7.99 paperback) is a gripping psychological thriller about a 15-year-old boy who goes missing, and the family secrets which begin to surface when an appeal for information goes horribly wrong. His mother is convinced he is still alive. But are we?

:: The Good Father author Noah Hawley, creator of Golden Globe-winning TV series Fargo, brings us Before The Fall (Hodder & Stoughton, £14.99), about two multi-millionaires heading home in a private jet with their families. When their plane crashes into the sea, the only survivors are an artist and the four-year-old son of a media mogul, but was it a tragic accident or something more sinister?

:: Lie With Me by Sabine Durrant (Mulholland Books, £16.99, out July 28) will keep you on the edge of your seat with the story of a former literary sensation whose star is on the wane. He tells lies, pretending to lead a charmed life, manages to worm his way into the affections of a rich woman and is invited to spend a holiday on a Greek island. But he's soon to regret it...


:: The Co-op's Got Bananas by Hunter Davies (Simon & Schuster, £16.99). Published in the year this celebrated columnist and author turns 80, he recalls his childhood growing up in Scotland and Cumbria in the Forties and Fifties, capturing gritty working class life with humour and charm and painting a vivid picture of that period of social history.

:: Delta Lady by Rita Coolidge (Harper, £18.99). Find out what really went on with her one-time husband Kris Kristofferson and others on the road, as the original 'Delta Lady' Coolidge lifts the lid on her life in the music industry in the late 60s and beyond, recording with the likes of Eric Clapton, Crosby, Stills & Nash, her highs and lows, failed romances and personal tragedies.


:: Harry Potter And The Cursed Child by JK Rowling, Jack Thorne and John Tiffany (Little, Brown, £20, out July 31). As always, Potter will no doubt be casting his spell on readers worldwide when he reappears as an overworked employee at the Ministry of Magic, with three kids and a complicated past. The book – a play script of the forthcoming West End production – is set to be released hours after the first show.

:: The Muse by Jessie Burton (Picador, £12.99) follows the author's runaway debut The Miniaturist. Set in 1967, it follows the fortunes of a Trinidadian immigrant who starts work as a typist at a London art gallery, where she meets a man who's inherited a mysterious painting, whose provenance is slowly unveiled in another time frame.

:: The Empathy Problem by Gavin Extence (Hodder & Stoughton, £16.99, out August 11) explores the effects of terminal illness through an arrogant, highly successful millionaire. Anyone who loved Extence's brilliant debut funny-tragic novel The Universe Versus Alex Woods will adore this.

:: Blue Dog by Louis de Bernieres (Harvill Secker, £10, out August 4), the author who gave us Captain Corelli's Mandolin, now concentrates on a young boy who is sent to live with his grandfather in the Outback. Life is tough on the cattle station, until he finds a lost puppy...


...Enjoy a runaway duology from Jojo Moyes with Me Before You (Penguin, £7.99), a love story about a quadriplegic and his carer which was recently made into a film, and the sequel After You (Penguin, £7.99)... Controversial new novel The Swimming Pool by Louise Candlish (Penguin, £7.99, out July 28) is set in a London suburb in a heatwave and builds to a catastrophic climax at a party at the local lido... Anyone who didn't read The Girl On The Train by Paula Hawkins first time around can now get it in paperback (Black Swan, £7.99)

Enjoy reading the Irish News?

Subscribe now to get full access