Beach-ready books for a holiday escape by various authors - book reviews -

Bring Me Sunshine
Bring Me Sunshine

Summer’s here and the reading is easy with a glittering collection of romance, fun and friendship stories, all perfectly created for the season of rest and relaxation

Summer’s here and the reading is easy with a glittering collection of romance, fun and friendship stories, all perfectly created for the season of rest and relaxation.

Bring Me Sunshine

Laura Kemp

Rom-com queen Laura Kemp is back to seduce her readers with a fabulous story of friendship, second chances, and a big helping of love, in a super summer sunshine story set in beautiful Mumbles on the southern coast of Wales.

Starring a shy and reluctant 33-year-old woman, thrust out of her London comfort zone into the coastal charms of a Welsh seaside town, Bring Me Sunshine is like a breath of reading fresh air for all those seeking a holiday escape.

Kemp, who dished up a feast of feelgood reading in her tender novel, The Year of Surprising Acts of Kindness, wins our hearts all over again with this funny and fabulously uplifting tale of grabbing happiness wherever you can because life is perilously short.

Charlotte Bold is nothing like her name… she is shy and timid and just wants a quiet life. When her job doing the traffic news on the radio in London is relocated to Sunshine FM in Mumbles, she jumps at the chance for a new start in Wales.

But when she arrives she discovers that she’s not there to do the travel news… she has been dispatched there to front the graveyard evening show, and she’s not sure she can do it.

Thrust into the limelight, she must find her voice and a way to cope. And soon she realises that she is not the only person who finds life hard… out there her listeners are lonely too. And her show is the one thing keeping them going.

Can Charlotte seize the day and make the most of her new home? And will she be able to breathe new life into the tiny radio station along the way?

Bring Me Sunshine is a magical, funny and feelgood story starring a deliciously lovable and caring heroine and a cast of supporting characters who cannot help but win readers’ hearts and minds.

Warm, witty, full of joy, and set against the stunning charms of Swansea Bay, this is the perfect companion for those hot summer nights…

(Orion, paperback, £7.99)

All Summer with You

Beth Good

Beth Good, whose cuddly, cosy romance novels have made her the queen of hearts, returns to the small town of Pethporro in Cornwall where she set her enchanting novel, Winter Without You.

This time, readers are thrust into the bright sunshine of summer as an aspiring young writer discovers that her plan to escape the demands of the outside world have to be abandoned when she meets a troubled heart-throb film star.

Nursing a broken heart, and feeling lonely and depressed, Jennifer Bolitho retreats to Pixie Cottage in Cornwall to work on her keynote speech for the Pethporro Folklore Festival, and write the book she has long planned.

Her new landlord on the vast Porro Park estate – former soldier turned movie pin-up boy Alex Delgardo – has grounds so large that she’s sure the little house nestled in the woods will bring her solitude.

But Alex also has reasons to hide away. He is seeking refuge after a tragic incident on the set of his last film turned his world upside down and he knows that the most important thing now is to care for his ailing family.

But when Jennifer enters their lives, all that changes because, as they both learn, you can’t heal others until you learn to heal yourself...

This new trip to the rural wilds of Cornwall has a compelling twist on Winter Without You which will strike a chord with Good’s loyal readers, but those new to this author’s gorgeous romances cannot help but fall in love with both the star players and this beautiful story with its powerful emotional punch.

Expect plenty of drama, tales of woe and new beginnings, love and laughter, and heartfelt romance for the perfect summer read!

(Quercus, paperback, £8.99)

The Garden on Holly Street

Megan Attley

The neighbours of Willow Court, a block of flats in the suburbs of Manchester, have one thing in common… they’re all lonely.

Megan Attley, the pen name of a bestselling and prolific women’s writer who lives in South Wales, lifts our hearts, and makes us laugh, cry and smile, in this gorgeous feelgood story about friendship, the spirit of community, and digging a little deeper to discover what you really want out of life.

The Garden on Holly Street features a cast of believable people, all in need of kindness and caring, and learning that reaching out to others is the best place to find comfort and friendship in the most unexpected places.

Newly single Abby Hamilton has just moved into her two-bedroom flat in Willow Court on Holly Street in Didsbury, Manchester, after finding an explicit message on her boyfriend Gavin’s phone that was definitely not from her.

Then, when she thought things couldn't possibly get any worse, she loses her job at a care home. Having been in a relationship for so many of her thirty-six years, she feels utterly helpless and in need of something, but she has no idea what that could be.

One of Abby’s neighbours in Willow Court is eleven-year-old Ernie who spends much of his day playing Zombies in the communal gardens. It’s more a demolition site than an array of flower beds, but he loves it out there. It helps him forget that his mum isn’t around and that his dad is away so much with work.

Lucky for them both, Ernie and Abby are about to become good friends, but only after they have run-ins with Arthur. The old man likes his quiet and is a stickler for routine. He has been that way since his treasured wife, Julia, died a year ago.

Although Arthur isn’t aware of it, he has slowly pulled away from life and everything he ever loved about it, believing there is no point now without Julia by his side. And that eyesore of a garden reminds him every day of losing her.

Meeting her intriguing new neighbours helps push Abby out of her comfort zone. Then she finds an overgrown patch of garden in desperate need of love and time… something Abby has in spades. Throwing herself into bringing the garden back to life, Abby discovers that new beginnings can come from the most surprising places...

Attley’s wonderfully heartwarming and inspirational story is the perfect read to cuddle up with this summer as a neglected garden becomes the metaphor for sowing the seeds of love, and finding that friendships can flourish in the stoniest of ground.

Imbued with tenderness, and written with a keen eye for human frailties, The Garden on Holly Street is a blooming delight!

(Orion, paperback, £8.99)

Four Weddings and a Festival

Annie Robertson

If Four Weddings and a Funeral floated your boat, then set sail with Annie Robertson’s sassy, sunshine twist on the smash hit movie classic.

Summer rom-coms don’t get much more fun and funny than this tasty tale of four friends who made a teenage pact to all marry in the same year and create their very own Four Weddings Summer… only to discover that one of them could well be a party pooper.

Lifelong friends and rom-com fans Bea, Lizzie, Hannah and Kat have curled up with Bridget Jones, sobbed at Love, Actually and memorised the script to Notting Hill. And since they were thirteen, they have joked about all getting married in one summer to create their own Four Weddings.

And now it seems like this might just be the year. Lizzie is marrying scruffy band member Jack, the man she absolutely adores, Hannah is about to tie the knot with her French yoga instructor girlfriend Remy and easy-going Kat is planning a wedding to South African psychiatrist Henry.

That just leaves Bea who is feeling somewhat guilty because she is just about to turn down her rather too predictable boyfriend Simon’s proposal. How on earth is she going to do it without breaking his heart, and burst her friends’ Four Weddings bubble in the process?

Could Bea’s own Hugh Grant be waiting for her amid the champagne and confetti of her pals’ weddings, and can real-life romance ever live up to those rom-com movies? As the wedding – and festival – season gets into full swing, will all four of the friends find their happy ever after?

Robertson, who trained in London as a classical musician before discovering her true passion for writing, delivers the perfect beach read as the Richard Curtis film references flutter through the pages like a shower of colourful confetti.

Add on a big helping of laugh-out-loud, champagne comedy, lots of heady romance, some unexpected twists and turns, a cast of vibrant, huggable characters – not least Bea’s flamboyant and feisty Aunt Jane – and the scene is set for an enchanting summer wedding feast!

(Orion, paperback, £8.99)

Meet Me on the Riviera

Fliss Chester

And for those who fancy a trip to the glittering Côte d’Azur, why not jet down to glamorous Monte Carlo for a summer of super-rich shenanigans?

Co-owner of an independent wine merchant based in the Surrey Hills, Fliss Chester adores combining her love of wine with her passion for writing so meet her on the Riviera for a fizzy, fun-filled concoction of champagne, shady dealings and showdowns.

A summer of millionaires, martinis and mega-yachts is on the horizon as Jenna Jenkins begins her new job as a party planner in glamorous Monte Carlo. And while the champers flows on deck – and rumours swirl below – Jenna finds she has a real knack for helping the super-rich go overboard at their glittering events.

But behind Jenna’s San Tropez-tanned back, there’s a tussle going on for her affections. While her darling boyfriend, Angus Linklater, is embroiled in his own Hong Kong high jinks, Jenna has caught the eye of a mysterious and oh-so-gorgeous ‘crazy rich’ billionaire TG Wilkinson who is used to getting whatever – and whomever – he wants.

With a fabulous wedding to plan, old friends Hugo and Sally bursting with news of their own, and some suspicious business deals threatening to rock the boat, life in sun-drenched Monaco is never plain sailing...

Chester turns up the heat in more ways than one in this sexy, sizzling, romantic comedy brimming with glitz and glamour, and best enjoyed with a glass in hand on a garden sun lounger… or anywhere close to an azure blue sea!

(Orion, paperback, £8.99)