For us, no holiday is complete without at least one good book.
They are the perfect deckchair companion: friendly, welcoming and willing to transport you, even if you’re only going as far as the back garden...
We’ll be squeezing these 6 into our suitcase:
Eligible by Cutris Sittenfeld
Ideal for any kind of holiday, but very much suited to the quintessential British break, is Curtis Sittenfeld's elegant and knowing re-imagining of that most English of novels, Pride and Prejudice. Yes, the action is transplanted to US surburbia, Elizabeth Bennett is a magazine writer with a highly unsuitable married lover, Jasper Wick(ham) and Darcy is a neurosurgeon (of course he is). But it has the brilliant barbed wit of the original, and Sittenfeld's affection shines through. Prepare for beachside battles over who gets to read it next.
Vinegar Girl by Anne Tyler
Another family saga - and, incidentally, classic story re-told - is Vinegar Girl, Anne Tyler's masterly take on The Taming of the Shrew. How, whip-smart Kate Battista demands of herself, did she end up catering to the whims of her eccentric father and spoilt sister? And now her father wants her to marry his assistant? One of the foremost teller of tales, Tyler writes with seemingly effortless grace.
This Must Be The Place by Maggie O'Farrell
A new novel from Maggie O'Farrell is always an event - hers are books to be cherished. This Must Be the Place is a tour de force. Daniel is damaged man with a reclusive ex-film-star wife. When he hears the voice of his college girlfriend on the radio, his life is toppled off course. Epic and sprawling in scope; intimate in detail; the overall effect is dazzling.
Paradise Lodge by Nina Stibbe
If it's comic relief you crave, it's in plentiful supply in Nina Stibbe's (she of Love, Nina renown) Paradise Lodge. 15-year-old Lizzie Vogel - in search of a "new phase" takes a job at nursing home Paradise Lodge, home to an eclectic cast of characters. Novel and heroine are both charming.
The Muse by Jessie Burton
Oh, the joy of a costume drama - on screen or on the page. Jessie 'The Miniaturist' Burton has come up trumps with The Muse. Featuring not one but four brilliant heroines, connected by a long-lost painting, with the action sweeping between 1960s London and civil-war Spain – it’s the kind of book summer was made for.
The Exclusives by Rebecca Thornton
And now for something completely different. The Exclusives by Rebecca Thornton is set in the priviledged, pressurized world of an all-girls' boarding school. It brilliantly dissects the fragementing friendship between two apparently gilded girls. But after the terrible events of one night, their lives spiral wildly out of control and into darkeness. So gripping, it's edge-of-your-sunlounger stuff.