Book Club Mom’s summer recommendations – grab a book and some fresh air!

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Summer reads have a certain feel about them and grabbing the right book can take you back to when you had long lazy days stretching out in front of you. Now, for many of us, it’s more a matter of creating the mood of an endless summer. So steal an hour, find a nice place in a park, in your yard or even at home with the windows open, and dig into a book that will grab you right away. Here are some recommendations to help you choose:


Dig Right In

The American Heiress by Daisy Goodwin – light, entertaining historical fiction during the late 1800s when billionaire American families match their daughters with cash-poor dukes and princes in need of American money.

The Impossible Lives of Greta Wells by Andrew Sean Greer – set in Greenwich Village, NY, Greta discovers her 1985 self living in two other time periods, one in 1918 and one in 1941.

The Swans of Fifth Avenue by Melanie Benjamin – historical fiction and fascinating portrait of Truman Capote and his distinct sides, as both pet and confidante to the New York upper class, and serious writer.

Things We Set on Fire by Deborah Reed – great story about a mother who believes she is doing the right thing, but can’t see its impact until decades later.


Family Dramas

A Spool of Blue Thread by Anne Tyler – a complicated family from Baltimore, full of secrets and an unacknowledged division between its members.

Commonwealth by Ann Patchett – great family saga that begins in the 1960s with six kids from two different families, thrown together because of an affair, a divorce and then a marriage.

The Vacationers by Emma Straub – light beach read about a dysfunctional family on a trip from Manhattan to Spain for some forced family vacation fun.

When I Found You by Catherine Ryan Hyde – a man goes duck hunting and finds an abandoned baby boy in the woods, changing his life in unimaginable ways.


Historical Fiction

Brooklyn by Colm Tóibín – classic tale about post-war immigration from Ireland to America.

The Hours Count by Jillian Cantor – set in NY in 1950 during the Red Scare, the story of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, arrested for spying for the Russians.

Miss Emily by Nuala O’Connor – biographical novel about Emily Dickinson and a fictional coming-of-age story about her young Irish maid.

The Paris Wife by Paula McLain – a look at Ernest Hemingway’s first wife, Elizabeth Hadley Richardson and their six-year marriage, spent mostly in Paris.


Secrets and Suspense

The Dry by Jane Harper – atmospheric thriller set on the edge of the Australia’s bushland during a devastating drought.

Elizabeth Is Missing by Emma Healey – an old woman on the edge of dementia falls into a confused world of memories and suspicions, certain that her friend Elizabeth is missing.

The Flight Attendant by Chris Bohjalian – a flight attendant wakes up after a night of heavy drinking and discovers she is in bed with a man who has been brutally murdered.

We Were Liars by E. Lockhart – Young Adult story about mysterious events of one summer, forcing a family through painful changes.


I hope you find a good place to escape for a bit. What will you read?

Thanks for visiting – come back soon!

25 thoughts on “Book Club Mom’s summer recommendations – grab a book and some fresh air!

    1. Back in the 90s I did a binge read of Ann Tyler, starting with The Accidental Tourist. I really like her style and it was nice to get back into her. Thanks for reading, Marian. 🙂

    1. Oh I know how the books like to hide on the Kindle – it’s easy to forget they’re there. I have a few of those 🙂 Thanks for reading, Jill!

  1. I read The Paris Wife for book club and thought it quite good. I’d like to read Commonwealth, as I like Ann Patchett–but I’ve just finished her memoir and found it a slog. Maybe Commonwealth can get me back on the bandwagon:).

    1. Oh I didn’t know she had a memoir – I would probably stay away from that – I really enjoyed Commonwealth. I’ve also read Bel Canto and State of Wonder. I really loved Bel Canto and thought SoW was pretty good. Thanks for reading and commenting 🙂

  2. Great list. Some of these are on my TBR list (probably from previous posts). Thanks for the review and reminders of what they’re about. Hoping you’re having a wonderful summer!

  3. There’s a few of these already in my library wish list, unfortunately they’ll just have to wait. My library’s summer reading challenge is to read the Dewey Decimal system (ugh), so I’m plowing through that before diving back into fiction.

  4. Such a great selection! I”ve had my eye on American Heiress for a while –maybe I’ll take your suggestion and make it a summer read!

    1. Hi Lisa, I read American Heiress a while ago and think it would be great for a summer read. I didn’t know much about that time period and not at all about these arranged marriages! Thanks for reading. 🙂

  5. Oh NO! So many good books I haven’t read yet (I love all the ones you suggest in your book review posts), so little time. Usually I’ve read at least half of the books you suggest, but this time I’ve only read the Tyler, Patchett and McLain books. May summer give us all more time to READ! xo

    1. That’s what I’m thinking too, Pam. I just finished the book I needed to read for my work book club, so now I’m free to read what I want for the rest of the summer! I love Ann Patchett – she’s such a talent! Thanks for the visit 🙂

    1. Don’t we all! 😉 I get so jealous when I’m working at the library and see so many people all comfy with a book! Thanks for the visit, Jennifer!

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