Whether you’re seeking a pacy thriller that makes your heart pound or prefer the escapism of something a little bit lighter, switch Wintry evenings in front of the TV for sunny days in the garden, working your way through a new read.
The delicious debut
Ponti by Sharlene Teo (Pan Macmillan)
With a glowing recommendation from Ian McEwan boldly emblazoned on the cover, countless comparisons to much-admired Zadie Smith, and the inaugural Deborah Roger’s Writer’s Award under its belt, Ponti is a debut novel which simply cannot be ignored. A haunting, often melancholy tale, following the lives of three female misfits, it is a must-read for any fiction enthusiasts.
The feel-good read
The Lido by Libby Page (Orion)
If you live in South London – or even if you don’t – you’ll love this charming debut, which quite literally makes a perfect poolside read. At the heart of this gentle story lies Brockwell Lido. Locals will love learning a little history behind their neighbourhood streets, while everyone else will feel as if they’ve walked them from the accuracy of the sights, sounds and smells. But what makes this story so special is how Page celebrates the importance of community. Eighty-six year-old Rosemary – life-long lover of the lido – starts a petition to keep her beloved pool open. Touching upon love, loss, ageing, anxiety and the true value of friendship, read it with a packet of tissues nearby (for happy and sad tears).
The wartime wonder
Dear Mrs Bird by AJ Pearce (Picador)
Infamously the subject of a seven-way publishing bidding war, there are few more hotly-anticipated novels than Dear Mrs Bird. A charming tale of wartime women, we follow the ever-endearing Emmeline Lake as she sets off on the path to becoming a war correspondent. There is a beautiful, albeit, slightly unnerving balance between the warmth of the characters Pearce creates and the backdrop of the stark, often gruesome reality of war. This is a story of the importance of friendship, determination and keeping calm and carrying on. Rumour has it, Dear Mrs Bird might be coming to the big screen in the not-so-distant future. When can we book our tickets?
The one for your beach bag
On A Beautiful Day by Lucy Diamond (Pan Macmillan)
Revered amongst chick-lit fans, Lucy Diamond should be at the top of your Summer-holiday reading list. After witnessing an awful accident the lives of four friends are changed irrevocably. Tackling everything from fertility troubles and health scares to relationship woes, her latest offering skillfully treads the often-precarious line between light-hearted escapism and real substance. It is a story about the unexpected twists and turns that life can take. We challenge you not to devour it in one sitting.
Skybound: A Journey In Flight by Rebecca Loncraine (Picador)
If you were touched by Paul Kalanithi’s When Breath Becomes Air, you’ll find this true story inspiring and heart-breaking in equal measure. Published posthumously, author Loncraine and her zest for life, while undergoing grueling treatment for breast cancer, can’t fail to stir all manner of emotions. Finding freedom, perspective (and love) as she takes up a new hobby – gliding in an engineless plane – the real poignancy comes from the knowledge Loncraine died shortly after putting pen to paper. Comforting, yet tear-jerking; page-turning, yet something to savour; euphoric, yet disquieting – it’s a tale of self-discovery that really puts life into perspective.
The family thriller
Little Big Man by Katy Regan (Mantle)
If you love a familial drama tinged with an air of mystery, Regan’s latest novel is one for you. Set against a backdrop of secrets, tragedy and grief, 10-year-old Zac embarks on a mission to reunite his mother with the father who left shortly after his birth – the only man his mum has ever loved. Packed with Zac’s humorous insights and witty back-and-forth with his partner-in-crime, Tegan, you’ll find yourself deeply caring about this young boy and his family, long after the final page.