The 15 Best Beach Reads Of 2019

The 15 Best Beach Reads Of 2019

Often a chick-lit read is exactly what you want to pack with you on holiday. Other times, it’s the only chance to catch up on a heavy-hitting hardback. From page-turning thrillers you’ll get through in one afternoon, to genuinely funny rom-coms and uplifting tales about female friendship, these are the beach books to pack in your suitcase…

The Flat Share by Beth O’Leary

Tiffy Moore needs a cheap flat, and fast. Leon Twomey works nights and needs cash. Their friends think they're crazy, but it's the perfect solution: Leon occupies the one-bed flat while Tiffy's at work in the day, and she has the run of the place the rest of the time. But with obsessive ex-boyfriends, demanding clients at work, wrongly imprisoned brothers and, of course, the fact that they still haven't met yet, they're about to discover that if you want the perfect home you need to throw the rulebook out the window. Funny and heartwarming, this is one you’ll race through on your sun-lounger.

“The last book to completely emotionally absorb me in this way was Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine, and I think fans of that will adore this.” – Daisy Buchanan, author of The Sisterhood

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Our Stop by Laura Jane Williams

Nadia gets the 7:30am train every day without fail. Well, except if she oversleeps or wakes up at her friend Emma’s after too much wine. Daniel really does get the 7:30am train every morning, which is easy because he hasn’t been able to sleep properly since his dad died. One morning, Nadia’s eye catches sight of a post in the daily paper: ‘To the cute girl with the coffee stains on her dress. I’m the guy who’s always standing near the doors… Drink sometime?’ So begins a not-quite-romance of near-misses, true love and the power of the written word. A wonderfully funny will-they-won’t-they romance told with real emotional honesty, perfect for those who loved Holly Bourne’s How Do You Like Me Now? and Mhairi McFarlane’s Don’t You Forget About Me.

“Laura Jane Williams combines sharp, relatable wit and bold, joyful sincerity.” – Dolly Alderton, author of Everything I Know About Love

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The Farm by Joanne Ramos

Jane is an immigrant from the Philippines who dreams of making a better life for her daughter, Amalia. When the opportunity arises to earn a life-changing sum of money, Jane jumps at the chance. All she must do is check into the luxurious Golden Oaks for the next nine months. Everything is done for her here, she is looked after and monitored 24/7. She has one job to do before the money is hers – to give birth to a child for someone else. Gripping, provocative and heartbreaking, The Farm pushes to the extremes our thinking on motherhood, money and merit and raises crucial questions about the trade-offs women will make to fortify their futures and the futures of those they love.

“Chillingly plausible.” – Sophie Mackintosh, author of The Water Cure

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Daisy Jones & The Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Daisy is coming of age in LA in the late 60s, sneaking into clubs on the Sunset Strip, sleeping with rock stars and dreaming of singing at Whisky A Go Go. The sex and drugs are thrilling, but it’s the rock ’n’ roll she loves most. By the time she’s 20, her voice is getting noticed, and she has the kind of heedless beauty that makes people do crazy things. Also getting noticed is The Six, a band led by the brooding Billy Dunne. And when Daisy and Billy cross paths, what happens next becomes the stuff of legend. Written as an oral history of one of the biggest bands of the 70s, this fictional retelling brilliantly captures a place and time in an utterly distinctive voice.

“I devoured Daisy Jones & The Six in a day, falling head over heels for it. Daisy and the band captured my heart.” – Reese Witherspoon 

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Big Sky by Kate Atkinson

The first Jackson Brodie mystery since 2010's Started Early, Took My Dog, Big Sky sees Kate Atkinson – the bestselling author of A God in Ruins and last year’s hit Transcription – return to the world of one of her most iconic characters. A private investigator and former soldier and policeman, Brodie now makes his money working from investigating infidelity and finding missing cats. In Big Sky, we find he’s has relocated to a quiet seaside village in North Yorkshire. It’s a picturesque setting, but there’s something darker lurking behind the scenes. Jackson’s current job, gathering proof of an unfaithful husband for his suspicious wife, seems straightforward, but a chance encounter with a desperate man on a crumbling cliff leads him into a sinister network—and back into the path of someone from his past.

"Atkinson is one of the best writers working today, and her crime fiction, including novels featuring the now-retired Scottish inspector Jackson Brodie, rank among the finest.” – Bethanne Patrick, The Washington Post

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Adele by Leila Slimani

Adèle appears to have the perfect life. A respected journalist, she lives in a flawless Parisian apartment with her surgeon husband and their young son. But beneath the veneer of 'having it all', she is bored – and consumed by an insatiable need for sex, whatever the cost. Struggling to contain the twin forces of compulsion and desire, she begins to orchestrate her life around her one night stands and extramarital affairs, arriving late to work and lying to her husband about where she's been, until she becomes ensnared in a trap of her own making. An erotic and daring story – with electrically clear writing – Adèle will captivate readers with its exploration of addiction, sexuality and one woman's quest to feel alive.

“One of the most unusual books I’ve ever read. Get a copy if you can, and be prepared to be shaken and stirred by a feat of great writing on an intriguing subject.” – Lorraine Candy, The Sunday Times

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Queenie by Candice Carty-Williams

If you’re a fan of Sally Rooney, Phoebe Waller-Bridge and Justin Simien, you will love this book. Queenie Jenkins is a 25-year-old Jamaican British woman living in London. The novel chronicles her struggles as young woman, and there are many struggles. She works at a newspaper for a boss that doesn’t register her existence, and where she is made to feel out of place by her white middle-class colleagues. She goes on a break from her long-term boyfriend, Tom, and her family never really listen to her. A darkly comic and bitingly subversive take on life, love, race and family, Queenie will have you nodding in recognition, crying in solidarity, and rooting for this unforgettable character every step of the way.

"I was engrossed and loved Queenie – her humour, her pain, her politics, her friends, her family.” – Diana Evans, author of Ordinary People

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City of Girls by Elizabeth Gilbert

This new tome from Eat Pray Love author Elizabeth Gilbert pulls focus on the summer of 1940. Nineteen-year-old Vivian Morris arrives in New York with her suitcase and sewing machine, exiled by her despairing parents. She soon finds gainful employment as the self-appointed seamstress at the Lily Playhouse. There, Vivian quickly becomes the toast of the showgirls, transforming the trash and tinsel only fit for the cheap seats into creations for goddesses. Exile in New York is no exile at all: here in this strange wartime city of girls, Vivian and her girlfriends mean to drink the heady highball of life itself to the last drop. But there are hard lessons to be learned as Vivian learns that to live the life she wants, she must live many lives, ceaselessly and ingeniously making them new.

“Glamorous, sexy, compelling, addictive. Radical and refreshing to read.” – Dolly Alderton, author of Everything I Know About Love

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Airhead by Emily Maitlis

Sometimes, a week-long break is exactly the right time to get stuck into an autobiography and one of the best we’ve read this year is Airhead by Newsnight’s Emily Maitlis. Behind every interview there is a backstory. How it came about. How it ended. The compromises that were made. The regrets, the rows, the deeply inappropriate comedy. This insightful, hilarious and engrossing memoir from one of our most well-liked TV broadcasters takes you behind the scenes of the biggest news stories in recent years, where it becomes clear the things said on camera are only half the story. These include interviews with US presidents Donald Trump and Bill Clinton and the last five British prime ministers, to Hollywood film directors and powerful internet and entertainment moguls like Sheryl Sandberg and Simon Cowell.

“Smart, funny and brilliantly told stories about what goes on behind the scenes of television news. A joy.” – Elizabeth Day, author of How To Fail

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The Beekeeper of Aleppo by Christy Lefteri

Nuri is a beekeeper; his wife, Afra, an artist. They live a simple life, rich in family and friends, in the beautiful Syrian city of Aleppo – until the unthinkable happens. When all they care for is destroyed by war, they are forced to escape. As Nuri and Afra travel through a broken world, they must confront not only the pain of their own loss, but dangers that would overwhelm the bravest of souls. Above all, they must journey to find each other again. Moving, powerful, compassionate and beautifully written, The Beekeeper of Aleppo is a testament to the triumph of the human spirit. Told with deceptive simplicity, it is the kind of book that reminds us of the power of storytelling.

“This is a novel of international significance. Courageous, provocative, haunting, it will open our eyes.” – Heather Morris, author of The Tattooist of Auschwitz

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The Doll Factory by Elizabeth Macneal

The Doll Factory is the intoxicating story of a young woman who aspires to be an artist, and the man whose obsession may destroy her world forever. It’s London in 1850, and the greatest spectacle the city has ever seen is being built in Hyde Park. Watching are two strangers who meet for a split second. For Iris, an aspiring artist, it is the encounter of a moment – forgotten seconds later, but for Silas, a collector entranced by the strange and beautiful, that meeting marks a new beginning. When Iris is asked to model for pre-Raphaelite artist Louis Frost, she agrees on the condition that he will also teach her to paint. Suddenly her world begins to expand, to become a place of art and love. But Silas has only thought of one thing since their meeting, and his obsession is darkening. An authentic and well-crafted historical novel.

“A sharp, scary, gorgeously evocative tale of love, art and obsession.” – Paula Hawkins, author of The Girl on the Train

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Lanny by Max Porter

Lanny is the new novel from Max Porter, the man behind Grief Is the Thing with Feathers. Playful, irreverent and full of magic, it brings us the best and the worst in English civic life. Not far from London, there is a village. This village belongs to the people who live in it and to those who lived in it, hundreds of years ago. It belongs to England's mysterious past and its confounding present. It belongs to Mad Pete, the grizzled artist. To ancient Peggy, gossiping at her gate. To families dead for generations, and to those who have only recently moved here. But it also belongs to Dead Papa Toothwort who has woken from his slumber in the woods. Strange and wonderful, this is an ode to difference and imagination, to friendship, youth and love.

“It takes a special kind of genius to create something which is so strange and yet so compulsive.” – Mark Haddon, author of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

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Educated by Tara Westover

Born to survivalists in the mountains of Idaho, Tara Westover was 17 the first time she set foot in a classroom. Her family was so isolated from mainstream society that there was no one to ensure the children received an education, and no one to intervene when one of Tara’s older brothers became violent. When another brother got himself into college, Tara decided to try a new kind of life. Her quest for knowledge transformed her, taking her over oceans and across continents, to Harvard and then to Cambridge University. Only then would she wonder if she’d travelled too far, if there was still a way home. One of the best autobiographies of 2018, this is a must-read.

“An amazing story, and truly inspiring. It’s even better than you’ve heard.” – Bill Gates

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An American Marriage by Tayari Jones

Newlyweds Celestial and Roy are the embodiment of both the American Dream and the New South. He is a young executive, and she is an artist on the brink of an exciting career. But as they settle into the routine of their life together, they are ripped apart by circumstances neither could have imagined. Roy is arrested and sentenced to 12 years for a crime Celestial knows he didn't commit. Though fiercely independent, Celestial finds herself bereft and unmoored, taking comfort in Andre, her childhood friend, and best man at their wedding. After five years, Roy's conviction is suddenly overturned, and he returns to Atlanta ready to resume their life together. This stirring love story is a profoundly insightful look into the hearts and minds of three people who are at once bound and separated by forces beyond their control.

“It’s among Tayari’s many gifts that she can touch us soul to soul with her words.” – Oprah Winfrey

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My Sister, The Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite

When Korede's dinner is interrupted one night by a distress call from her sister, Ayoola, she knows what's expected of her: bleach, rubber gloves, nerves of steel and a strong stomach. This'll be the third boyfriend Ayoola's dispatched in “self-defence” and the third mess that her lethal little sibling has left Korede to clear away. She should probably go to the police for the good of the menfolk of Nigeria, but she loves her sister and, as they say, family always comes first. Until, that is, Ayoola starts dating the doctor where Korede works as a nurse. Korede's long been in love with him, and isn't prepared to see him wind up with a knife in his back: but to save one would mean sacrificing the other. Sharp as nails and full of deadpan wit, Oyinkan Braithwaite’s deliciously deadly debut is as fun as it is frightening.

“Feverishly hot.” – Paula Hawkins, author of Girl On The Train

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