If you heading off on holiday soon, here are few reading suggestions to pack in your suitcase.
Summer of ‘76 by Isabel Ashdown, published in paperback original by Myriad Editions, priced £7.99 (ebook £5.27). Available now. Review by Ali Potter.
The scorching summer of 1976 is the backdrop for this engrossing coming of age tale.
Spending his last few months on the Isle of Wight before leaving to go to college on the mainland, 17-year-old Luke Wolff lives a pretty mundane but happy existence. That is until a scandal involving the adults around him - including his parents - threatens to destroy all of their lives.
Isabel Ashdown is adept at portraying the bickering normalcy of ordinary family life in Summer of ‘76, although at times some of the characters feel drawn in a way that’s slightly heavy-handed and cliched.
The novel effortlessly transports you back to the seventies - a world of Abba, flares, punk and David Bowie. It’s not a challenging novel, but it’s perfect for those looking for an easy beach read.
First Sight by Danielle Steel, published in hardback by Bantam Press, priced £18.99 (ebook £8.54). Available now. Review by Denise Bailey
One of the world’s most successful novelists, the prodigious Danielle Steel, presents another simply-crafted, yet hugely readable tome with her latest book, First Sight.
The story is centred around a female protagonist, the hard-working fashion designer and businesswoman, Timmie O’Neill, whose work takes her to Milan, London, New York and Paris, and whose life offers small snippets of personal comfort coupled with seismic downturns and despairs.
Suddenly, she is encountered by a dashing French doctor, Jean-Charles Vernier. Romance, death, rejection, vilification, hope; it’s all here, wrapped in a page-turning bundle of ‘hope for us all’.
Whatever the formula is, Ms Steel has got it, and although First Sight may never be considered in the ranks of the greatest of romantic fiction, it will certainly please the millions of Steel fanatics.
The Liberty Tree by Suzanne Harrington, (non-fiction)published in trade paperback, priced £12.99 (ebook £5.39). Available now. Review by Kitty Wheater
‘Drunk to Sober via Love, Death, Disintegration and Freedom’, the tagline reads. Journalist Suzanne Harrington’s brutally self-aware memoir documents a drifting, unfulfilled adulthood teetering on the brink of alcoholism and married to the wrong man.
It’s written to her children, whose father committed suicide in 2006, and as Harrington perambulates through drugs, paranoia, homelessness and, ultimately, self-implosion, we want to cover their eyes and ears.
Surely, whatever the power of honesty, the kids don’t need to know that sexually-repressed mum ditched them every Friday for wine-o’-weekends?An uneasily compulsive read.