Bewitching Beach Books

Now that some of us might have a good amount of down time and an itch to go out and enjoy the sun, it’s a good idea to keep the mind engaged. Bringing along a few books to a beach trip is one of my favorite ways to do that. These ten books are being absolutely raved about, and they’re filled with enough drama and excitement to make the day enjoyable. They might even be so interesting that you’ll end up with a sunburn because you’re caught in the worlds these fiction authors construct. A few of these are still on my to-read list, I reference Amazon and Barnes & Noble for inspiration, but they come highly recommended.

  1. The Girl in the Red Coat – Kate Hamer

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This novel might remind you of similarly-sounding titles (The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, The Girl on the Train) so it’s already promising. This is Hamer’s debut novel–reviewers love that it’s fast-paced and memorable. The story is of Beth and her daughter Carmel, age 8, who goes missing at a festival. The point-of-view shifts between mother and daughter and is full of drama and dark adventure. It’s original, as well as strongly-written. It gets four out of five stars on Amazon.


2. Me Before You – Jojo Moyes

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A love story with a bite. This is a popular trend right now, borrowed from YA literature. The story is of a quadriplegic named Will, having been in an accident and bitter about all the abilities he’s lost. His mother hires a caretaker, Louisa (Lou) to help him see the bright side of the situation. Moyes seems to have found a way to breathe new life into the common plot of the romance in which one person is disabled or ill. Me Before You is certainly a well-liked novel in this office. It comes highly recommended by literary and cinematic lovers alike, as it has been made into a popular film as well.


3. All the Light We Cannot See – Anthony Doerr

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If you haven’t heard about the stir this book has caused yet, better add it to your must-read list immediately! The setting here is WWII, in Nazi-occupied France. Marie, a blind girl, escapes from the city and collides with a German orphan named Werner. There are some high-quality sub plots with mystery, adventure and strife. It’s got a Pullitzer and four and a half Amazon stars to prove it.

4. Rich and Pretty – Rumaan Alam

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The most common adjectives used in the reviews for this book are “beautiful,” “sharp” and “sweet.” Endowed with depth and a dose of humor, this story centers on two friends as their bond develops with ascent into adult life. They must negotiate friendship as they figure out how to live as adults with social class pressures. It’s wise and emotional, comical and endearing, with a readability that lends itself to lounging in the summer sun.


5. The Tea Rose – Jennifer Donnelly

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Though this isn’t a terribly recent release, I’m personally a sucker for the historic London settings and the kind of headstrong female characters you can find in this novel. Fiona Finnegan resiliently works her way up from the lower class of a tea factory worker to become a successful business woman. She aims to exact revenge on a man who deeply wronged her and threatened her plans years ago. She imagines a life with her love, Joe Bristow, and not much will stop her from dragging that dream into reality. Donnelly engages her readers with substantial prose without being long-winded, as well as weaving a classic “rags to riches” adventure full of loss, healing, redemption and a wealth of tea.


6. Orphan Train – Christina Baker Kline

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Molly is struggling with time. She’s about to “outgrow” the foster system, and the only thing between her and juvie is a community service project to help Vivian, an elderly woman, clean out her home. The two soon find out they have more common ground than they thought as they learn about Vivian’s history as an Irish orphan. It leads to answers that hold value for both of them. This #1 New York Times Bestseller is well worth a try.


7. Before the Fall – Noah Hawley

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A plane crash leaves two survivors among a group of mostly wealthy people: a prominent media figure’s son and an outlying lowly painter. Hawley constructs quite the enticing character study as he slowly reveals the lives of both those who perished and the lone survivors. Why did this plane go down? Coincidence or otherwise? The drama the media creates makes finding the truth even more urgent…and the ending promises to be unforgettable.


8. A Spool of Blue Thread – Anne Tyler

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An expansive house in Baltimore holds four generations of the Whitshanks. Over the years, they’ve acquired an abundance of fantastic stories and memories. Their lives have been brimming over with laughter, love, tears and a touch of chaos. This family’s existence is one of insight, touching moments, warmth and also secrets. They move full force into modernity while negotiating life in a sprawling family. Tyler infuses this novel with complexity and depth, making it endearing to readers of all kinds.


9. Intrusion – Mary McCluskey

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A couple already thrown into a tilt by the death of their son finds themselves even more off-balance after an old acquaintance resurfaces and becomes involved in their lives with a personal motive. She’s wealthy and powerful but in need of something more. Drama, power plays and dark elements combine to make Intrusion capture readers’ attention and hold it in a tight grip until the very last word.


10. When in Doubt, Add Butter – Beth Harbison

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Gemma’s resigned from her dating days, and working as a private chef is certainly all she needs. She has six clients with vastly different needs, traits and styles. Each one is memorable, and Harbison breathes life into them in a way that few authors can with side characters. A particularly interesting figure is the elusive “Mr. Tuesday” who the chef has never actually met. As Gemma’s life makes some unexpected turns, she tries to manage with her recipes, client support and a little bit of butter.

Happy reading!

-Emily, Intern


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