10 Books For Absorbing Holiday Reads
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10 Books For Absorbing Holiday Reads

Whether you're poolside or at home, these books will transport you

Get absorbed by these 10 holiday reads – whether you’re poolside or reading from the garden – with picks by C&TH and reviews by book columnist Richard Hopton.

Fly & Flop: Richard’s Top 3 Holiday Reads

Words by Richard Hopton


Authenticity by Alice Sherwood - summer reads

by Alice Sherwood

‘We live,’ writes Alice Sherwood, ‘in a storm of make-believe and deception’, a world in which the ‘lines between reality and illusion are increasingly blurred’. ‘We are searching,’ she says, ‘for authenticity in a world that is ever more inauthentic.’ Accordingly, she explores stories of behaviour both in the human and the natural worlds that question how we define the term ‘authentic’. It’s a slippery concept, as her varied case histories show: the impersonations of a fantasist; old-fashioned wire fraud; genuineness and attribution in art; evolutionary deception in nature; and commercial sleight of hand in the drugs and food industries. This book can be read as a quasi-philosophical investigation into truth in the modern world or simply for the entertainment value of the stories it tells. Either way, or both, it’s fascinating. Mudlark, £16.99

The Trio

The Trio - by Johanna Hedman, holiday reads

by Johanna Hedman (translated by Kira Josefsson)

‘Two’s company, three’s a crowd,’ the saying goes. The Trio tells the story of the relationship between Thora, scion of a wealthy Swedish family of industrialists, August, an aspiring artist, and Hugo, a law student. Johanna Hedman’s first novel, set mainly in Stockholm but with sorties to Paris, Berlin, New York, London, and Brighton, is an emotionally acute and absorbing account of the way in which the friendships between the three protagonists form and reform, reconfiguring themselves in the course of the novel. The trilateral story is told bilaterally, in chapters alternating between Thora’s and Hugo’s voices, leaving the mildly enigmatic, bisexual August both in and out of the story. It’s beautifully written: Hedman has an almost
tactile descriptive precision and a keen eye for the plangent phrase. Wholly memorable and enjoyable. Hamish Hamilton, £14.99

Miss Aldridge Regrets

Miss Aldridge Regrets by Louise Hare - holiday reads

by Louise Hare

Louise Hare’s second novel is an intriguing murder mystery set aboard the Queen Mary in 1936 as she crosses the Atlantic from Southampton to New York. Lena, the eponymous heroine, is a mixed-race, jobbing jazz singer who, wholly unexpectedly, lands a part in a Broadway musical. This break enables Lena to escape London where she had become embroiled, albeit tangentially, in the murder of the owner of the seedy nightclub in which she performs. Her freedom proves short-lived as once abroad the Queen Mary she falls in with the Parkers, an unlovable if wealthy American family, and their entourage from which point things go rapidly downhill. The novel is characterised by the convincing period detail and love of jazz which featured so strongly in Hare’s debut novel, the widely acclaimed This Lovely City. HQ, £14.99

7 Absorbing Holiday Reads

As picked by C&TH

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Dark Earth by Rebecca Stott

Dark Earth

By Rebecca Stott

A feminist re-telling of Roman Britain and set in 500 AD, Dark Earth follows sisters Isla and Blue as they navigate a male-dominated world. Isla has a secret: she has learned her father’s sophisticated sword-making skills at a time when even entering a forge is forbidden to women. When discovered, they must escape to the ghost-city of Londonium – and there they discover a hidden world of rebels, travellers and squatters. Fourth Estate, £14.99.

Think of Me - transporting holiday reads

Think Of Me

By Frances Liardet

Egypt, 1942. Amid the falling bombs, hurricane pilot James Acton meets Yvette Haddad, a captivating young Alexandrian with a penchant for dangerous driving whose love will become his reason to survive.

England, 1974. James has come to the village of Upton to begin again. Trying to escape his grief for Yvette, who died ten years earlier, he hopes to find new purpose as the vicar of this small Hampshire parish, still emerging from the long shadow of the war.

Flitting between two worlds, this read will transport you between continents and through secrets long-held in a decades-long romance.  Fourth Estate, £16.99.

The Halfways

By Nilopar Uddin

Follow Nasrin and Sabrina, two sisters in the wake of their grief for their father, as they reluctantly step back into the stifling world of their childhood. Transport yourself between London, Wales, New York and Bangladesh in an epic family drama spanning four decades. HQ, £14.99.

On A Night Like This - summer reads

On A Night Like This

By Lindsey Kelk

Feel-good romance that brings Italy to life on the page. Within days of wishing she could change her life, Fran Cooper is working for a celebrity, on a yacht, and en route to a tiny Italian island and the glittering Crystal Ball. When she quite literally bumps into handsome American Evan, the magic really begins. He makes her a promise: no last names, no life stories, just one unforgettable night. HarperCollins, £8.99.

Twelve Months and A Day

Twelve Months And A Day

By Louisa Young

A holiday read that might bring you to tears by the pool (our reminder that no-one can see that you’re crying if you’re underwater). Follow two beautiful and yet ordinary love stories, cut short by death – Jay and Nico don’t believe in ghosts, and yet they seem to be… still here. The Borough Press, £14.99.

Everything I Know About Love - Summer Reads

Everything I Know About Love

By Dolly Alderton

Whether you’ve caught it on iPlayer or not, transport yourself to Dolly Alderton’s early twenties. Absorb yourself in her failed dates, squalid flat-shares, heartbreaks – and most importantly, the female friendships that formed who she is today. Penguin, £8.99.

How Emma Appleton Got Her Groove


Homesick by Jennifer Croft


By Jennifer Croft

Sisters Amy and Zoe grow up in Oklahoma where they are home-schooled for an unexpected reason: Zoe suffers from debilitating and mysterious seizures, spending her childhood in hospitals as she undergoes surgeries. A coming-of-age story about learning to love language in its many forms, healing through words and the promises and perils of empathy and sisterhood.

The second-novel by International Booker-winning translator, Jennifer Croft – we promise it won’t make you homesick on holiday. Out 23 August 2022, Charco Press, £11.99


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