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Hot Topic: Summer Holiday Novels


Maureen Brook —

"Smell the sea, and feel the sky. Let your soul and spirit fly" - Van Morrison

As our thoughts turn to holidays and lovely warm weather, it's time to give some attention to all those books we've been meaning to read all year, or perhaps to finding something completely different to our usual favourites. Holidays are a great time to relax and read, guilt-free and undistracted. Here are some suggestions to pop into your suitcase...

The Boy from the Woods. Harlan Woods
Wilde is a former soldier and security expert who is living off the grid. Wilde was living a feral existence as a child - family unknown. When a girl goes missing in the community, Wilde is called upon to use his skills in helping find the child.  When a finger arrives in the mail the search becomes much more serious.

American Dirt. Jeanine Cummins
Lydia Perez lives in the Mexican city of Acapulco where she runs a bookstore. She has a son, Luca, and a husband who is a journalist. Acapulco is a city on edge because of the drug cartels, and when Lydia's husband writes a disparaging article about Javier, a new drug lord, the family must run for their lives, becoming part of the numerous, undocumented immigrants undertaking the dangerous journey to the United States.  

Dear Edward. Ann Napolitano
Twelve-year-old Edward Adler is the sole survivor of an aircraft which crashed, and killed 190 passengers, including Edward's parents and much-loved brother, on a flight between New York and Los Angeles. Edward, injured and immersed in grief, is taken in by his Mother's sister and her husband.  The story weaves between back stories of some of the passengers on the plane and Edward's current life.  When he makes an unexpected discovery he begins to make a way forward.

The Order. Daniel Silva
Gabriel Allon, Head of the Israeli Intelligence Service, is in Venice holidaying with his family, when news breaks of the sudden death of Pope Paul VII. Archbishop Luigi Donati, the Pope's loyal Private Secretary, suspects foul play and summons Gabriel to Rome to help uncover the truth. They discover that a group called The Order, with ties to the European far right, is planning to gain control of the papacy. While Cardinals from around the world gather in Rome for the Conclave, Gabriel is on a desperate search for proof of the Order's conspiracy.

Rodham: a novel. Curtis Sittenfeld
A novel which re-imagines Hillary Clinton's life if she hadn't married Bill Clinton. In this scenario Bill Clinton proposes marriage but Hillary turns him down and leaves town, determined to forge a political career for herself.  The author describes the painful compromises demanded of female ambition in a world ruled by men.  It is tantalising to imagine what Hillary could have achieved on her own without the Clinton name and left to forge her own path.

Real Life. Brandon Taylor
Wallace is a young, black, gay man from Alabama studying a biochemistry degree at a midwestern university.  Feeling out of step in this mainly white environment, Wallace closes in on himself, even from his own circle of friends.  He is also dealing with the effects of a violent childhood and the very real challenge of being black in America.


Small Pleasures. Clare Chambers
Aue. Becky Manawatu
The Giver of Stars. Jojo Moyes
Hamnet. Maggie O'Farrell
Where the Crawdads Sing. Delia Owens
My Dark Vanessa. Kate Elizabeth Russell