We have officially entered the dog days of summer, and whether you are planning a vacation or staying here in the lovely Lowcountry, it is the perfect time to grab a book and while away the hours absorbed in a good story. The term "beach read" means different things to everyone, but ultimately, the book needs to be a page-turner. It doesn't matter if you prefer to spend the lazy days of July and August in the air conditioning or at the beach, here are some hot books for your summer reading:
The entire Post family is vacationing in Mallorca, Spain for two weeks in "The Vacationers," by Emma Straub. Franny and Jim are celebrating their 35th wedding anniversary and are dealing with the aftermath of an action that has the potential to change their marriage; their teenage daughter, Sylvia, has graduated from high school and hopes for a romantic entanglement; and their 20-something son, Bobby, who is floundering in his career, has brought his older girlfriend, Carmen. Along with the family, Franny has invited her oldest friend, Charles, and his husband, who are waiting to see if they have been selected as the adoptive parents of a new baby. All of the tension, optimism and expectation that comes with an extended family vacation are present here, as the characters spend two weeks together under the hot, Spanish sun.
Jess, a single mother, is trying to provide for her math-genius 10-year-old daughter, Tanzie, and her bullied teenage stepson, Nicky, after her husband has left them with no support in "One Plus One," by Jojo Moyes. She is juggling two jobs, as a house cleaner and a bartender, when she meets the wealthy tech genius Ed Nichols, who has escaped to their small seaside town while a scandal brews within his company. Enlisting Ed's help, the quartet, along with an 80-pound slobbering dog, set out in Ed's pristine car to a math competition in Scotland, where Tanzie can compete to win a prize that will help pay for her attendance at a prestigious private school. The quirky characters of this book will tug at your heartstrings as you root for all of them to succeed and overcome their problems.
The second in a series, "The Silkworm," by Robert Galbraith (aka J.K. Rowling), is another absorbing mystery featuring private detective Cormoran Strike. When novelist Owen Quine goes missing, his wife, thinking Quine has only gone off for a few days on his own, hires Strike to find him. As Strike begins to investigate, he discovers that the novelist had recently completed a manuscript with thinly veiled portrayals of many of the people in his life, exposing numerous secrets. If the novel were to be published, it could ruin lives, meaning there are many people who would benefit from Quine's disappearance. Full of red herrings, this twisty mystery kept me guessing until the very end.
"The Secret Life of Violet Grant," by Beatriz Williams opens in 1964 New York. Young, single, fun-loving Vivian Schuyler receives a mysterious parcel containing a suitcase that once belonged to an aunt she didn't know existed. Vivian sets out to learn more about her enigmatic aunt and how the suitcase came into her possession which leads her to learning all about Violet Grant, who, in 1914 Berlin, was rumored to have murdered her husband and fled with her lover. Full of snappy dialogue, family secrets, intrigue, romance and heartbreak, this is a perfect beach read for historical fiction fans.
Halle Eisenman is the reference manager at Hilton Head Island library.