Summer 2015 holiday reads

Heading off on your dreamy summer holiday and need something stimulating to stop you falling asleep in the sun? Check out these new books that I recommend.

I Take You by Eliza Kennedy.

Do you love chick-lit characters who have jobs as cupcake bakers, pine for men they will never approach and sit at home every night shining their halo to perfection? Then you definitely won’t like this book! Lily loves sex, alcohol, her best pal and is pretty sure she loves her fiancé…. although she’s pretty sure he wouldn’t like her sleeping with other men. I found this book incredibly refreshing, especially the array of female characters who all have careers and opinions but are still there for each other. Plus it is a surprisingly insightful look at monogamy and modern relationships.

The Leipzig Affair by Fiona Rintoul.

If you enjoyed the film The Lives Of Others, this might be a holiday read for you. I’m fascinated by this period in history and how people adapted to the end of the Soviet era. This book was actually published in 2014 but has been one of those sleeper titles, slowly building an audience, mainly thanks to Radio 4. It follows the dual paths of a young East German linguist in 1985 trying to find any way out and a Scottish man in the present trying to piece together what happened when he went on exchange to Leipzig in the 80s. I thought this story was really well researched and structured, making it realistically thrilling.

The Versions of Us by Laura Barnett.

A triptych that explores the ‘what if?’ scenario of two characters. What if they hadn’t gotten married and had kids? What if they’d never met on that particular day? What if they had broken up early on? What would have happened to them? The author explores this in a Sliding Doors meets One Day structure: over the course of half a century we see three different versions of their lives, dropping in every few years to see how everything develops. It’s very well structured and only slightly confusing at times. Thematically, it’s a concept that I like. I’m a bit of a daydreaming ‘what if?’ person and the author does well to make sure that no ‘version’ is any more ideal than the other, they are all filled with happiness and sadness.

In My House by Alex Hourston.

This is the author’s debut novel and it’s an interesting start. Although the premise suggests that the story is a high-stakes thriller about human trafficking, the set-up actually doesn’t really figure much in the actual story. This is more in Notes On A Scandal territory, exploring the mature-aged character’s loneliness and obsession. I was quite surprised by the twists and turns as we grow to know more. It’s an elegant character study that challenges your assumptions. If you want something a little slower paced, this is a read for you.

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