Sum­mer’s hottest reads

Pack your bags with some grip­ping read­ing ma­te­rial for the hol­i­days, from nail-bit­ing thrillers to his­tor­i­cal tales, fam­ily sagas and a few real-life rev­e­la­tions. Han­nah Stephen­son leafs through some of the best

Friday - - Leisure -

The sum­mer hol­i­day sea­son is here and the shops are brim­ming with the lat­est reads from best-sell­ing au­thors and de­but nov­el­ists alike.

There are new ti­tles out from fa­mous au­thors in­clud­ing Philippa Gre­gory, Mar­garet At­wood, James Pat­ter­son and Ruth Ren­dell, plus a few ex­cit­ing de­buts to watch out for, while the new Dan Brown best-seller,

In­ferno, is fast be­com­ing one of the most pop­u­lar books this sum­mer.

Hol­i­day read­ing has his­tor­i­cally been fo­cused on mass-mar­ket pa­per­backs, but the e-reader has changed all that, al­low­ing us to down­load oth­er­wise weighty new hardbacks so we can take new ti­tles of ev­ery genre away with us.

His­tory lovers who are in­trigued by the BBC adap­ta­tion of Philippa Gre­gory’s TheWhite Queen should im­merse them­selves in her lat­est novel, The

White Princess, the fifth in the Cousins War se­ries, which tells the pas­sion­ate story of El­iz­a­beth of York, daugh­ter of El­iz­a­beth Woodville, the White Queen, and is set against a back­drop of The War of the Roses.

Other fans of his­tor­i­cal fic­tion may be tempted by The Sum­mer Queen, by El­iz­a­beth Chad­wick, the first in a new tril­ogy about the life of Eleanor of Aquitaine, from the award-win­ning author of Lady Of The English. Easy-to-read yarns about re­la­tion­ships and other con­tem­po­rary is­sues are abun­dant.

If you’re wor­ried about age­ing, take a light-hearted trip with Mike Gayle’s new novel Turn­ing Forty, a fast-mov­ing romp about a high-fly­ing guy whose wife calls time on their mar­riage six months be­fore he hits 40 – and the en­su­ing re­al­i­sa­tion that he may have to turn things around be­fore the big 4-0 ar­rives. It’s a witty fol­low-up to his best-sell­ing Turn­ing Thirty.

For those keener on true sto­ries, an­other gem of a light-hearted real-life read comes from old school friends Hi­lary Linstead and Elis­a­beth Davies, who re­con­nected af­ter 35 years to travel the globe to­gether,

re­sult­ing in Grow­ing Old

Out­ra­geously, a trav­el­ogue and mem­oir of their ex­pe­ri­ences to­gether.

Not hav­ing a clue whether they would get along (and real­is­ing each other’s well-de­vel­oped ec­cen­tric­i­ties could make things even more fraught), the pair em­barked on a trial jour­ney to Morocco to see if they could sur­vive the stresses of trav­el­ling into the un­known. They soon dis­cov­ered their de­light in laugh­ing at them­selves and each other, and quickly rekin­dled their friend­ship, trav­el­ling to Italy, South Africa, Aus­tralia and other far-flung des­ti­na­tions.

For more light-hearted fun, bud­ding thes­pi­ans and arm­chair TV crit­ics should bag a copy of The Rules

of Act­ing by Michael Simkins. The ac­tor and author, has been on the stage and screen for 35 years and of­fers amus­ing, prac­ti­cal ad­vice to would-be ac­tors as well as giv­ing lay­men a hi­lar­i­ous ac­count of au­di­tions and be­yond.

Of course, women’s fic­tion is al­ways high on the hol­i­day agenda and this year there’s a plethora of new ti­tles from favourite au­thors. Lisa Jewell’s The House We Grew Up In should be top of the list, a story that sees four chil­dren hav­ing an idyl­lic child­hood in a pic­turesque coun­try cot­tage un­til tragedy strikes one week­end. Slowly but surely the sib­lings drift apart, but as adults some­thing hap­pens that calls them back to the house they grew up in – and to what re­ally hap­pened all those years ago.

There are con­stant twists in Adele Parks’ new novel, The State We’re In, which fea­tures hope­less ro­man­tic Jo form­ing an un­likely friend­ship with cyn­i­cal com­mit­ment-phobe Dean on a plane amid a se­ries of com­pli­ca­tions fea­tur­ing ex-fi­ancés and par­ents. Or take a dip into Deep Blue Sea, Tas­mina Perry’s lat­est ex­cur­sion. When Diana’s hus­band dies sud­denly, she’s con­vinced there’s more to it than meets the eye and calls on her es­tranged sis­ter, a for­mer tabloid re­porter, for help.

For those who want some­thing darker, there’s a great range of new thrillers out this sum­mer, both from recog­nised and de­but au­thors. Check out the new Nicci French,

Wait­ing For Wed­nes­day, which sees the re­turn of psy­chother­a­pist Frieda Klein. Her niece be­friends the son of the vic­tim in DCI Karl­sonn’s lat­est in­ves­ti­ga­tion and Klein finds her­self in the very awkward po­si­tion of be­ing con­fi­dante to both.

In this lat­est in­stal­ment, Frieda strug­gles to stay in con­trol and finds her­self

chas­ing down a path that seems to lead to a se­rial killer who has es­caped de­tec­tion.

A siz­zling de­but, The

Silent Wife by ASA Har­ri­son is a chill­ing psy­cho­log­i­cal thriller por­tray­ing the dis­in­te­gra­tion of a flawed re­la­tion­ship down to the dead­li­est point. He be­trays her, she knows he be­trays her, and he knows that she knows. So she seeks vengeance, at first through small ir­ri­ta­tions but later things be­come much more sin­is­ter.

An­other nail-biter, billed as this year’s Be­fore I Go To Sleep (SJ Wat­son’s 2011 New York Times best-sell­ing thriller about a woman suf­fer­ing from an­tero­grade am­ne­sia), is the psy­cho­log­i­cal thriller Un­til You’re Mine by Sa­man­tha Hayes.

This sees heav­ily preg­nant, happily mar­ried Clau­dia’s world fall apart when baby helper Zoe steps into her life – can she be trusted? Then a lo­cal preg­nant woman is mur­dered, which height­ens Clau­dia’s fears.

Close fe­male friend­ships are ex­am­ined in Pre­cious Thing by Co­lette McBeth (pub­lished by Head­line and to be re­leased on Au­gust 1). This is a dark tale that sees a tele­vi­sion jour­nal­ist end­ing up on cam­era re­port­ing her best friend’s dis­ap­pear­ance – yet some­thing lurks be­neath the sur­face of their friend­ship. Glitz and grime col­lide in The

Other Typ­ist by Suzanne Rin­dell, a tale of a danger­ous friend­ship in 1920s New York City when po­lice typ­ist Rose, an or­phan with no friends, en­coun­ters a beau­ti­ful and in­trigu­ing new typ­ist who joins the pool and soon in­tro­duces her to the Roar­ing Twen­ties un­der­ground party scene – but there’s al­ways a price to pay.

Fans of mem­oirs should pick up a copy of Girl Least Likely To: 30 Years Of Fash­ion, Fast­ing And Fleet Street, by jour­nal­ist Liz Jones charting her 30 years in the fash­ion busi­ness.

She be­came anorexic at the age of 11, but went on to be­come fash­ion edi­tor of the Daily Mail, a suc­cess­ful colum­nist and for­mer edi­tor of the Bri­tish Marie Claire. And yet she still can’t bear to look at her­self in the mir­ror.

An­other un­usual real-life read comes from Lily Coppel, who has penned The Astro­naut Wives Club, the true story of the women be­hind the as­tro­nauts in the 1950s and 1960s Amer­i­can space race.

It fol­lows the dra­mas and chal­lenges the women faced as their hus­bands were launched into space and the 40year friend­ship that has bound the women to this day.

And for read­ers seek­ing com­plete es­capism over the hol­i­days – es­pe­cially those who are al­ready Mar­garet At­wood fans – there is MaddAddam (Blooms­bury, to be re­leased Au­gust 29), the fi­nal novel in her dystopian tril­ogy. Here, we find a man­made plague has swept the earth but a small group sur­vives along with the greeneyed Crak­ers – a gen­tle species bio-en­gi­neered to re­place hu­mans.

The Booker Prize-win­ning author’s un­pre­dictable, chill­ing and witty tale holds up a skewed mir­ror to our own pos­si­ble fu­ture. Hard copies and e-book ver­sions of all books are avail­able at ama­

Es­cape city life and take refuge in the

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Take your pick from our list for per­fect en­ter­tain­ment un­der the sun

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