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The best novels to read on the beach (or anywhere else) this summer


From cosy crime to time-travelling romance (Picture: Getty)

What makes for a good beach read? Well, that’s a bit like asking what makes for a really good read in general: it all depends on the reader.

Still, there are some books which are so sparkling, moving, funny and warm that they simply demand to be consumed.

If you do so by a pool, or on a beach, then even better (and lucky you!).

These are our picks for the best summer reads, from a sci-fi infused romantic debut by Holly Williams, to a blood-spattered go at fiction from everyone’s favourite media clergyman, the Reverend Richard Coles.

Check out our full selection below.

What Time Is Love? by Holly Williams (Orion)

Two perpetual 20-year-olds keep meeting

Sliding Doors meets David Nicholls’ One Day – well, sort of – in this enticing debut.

Violet and Albert meet each other for the first time every 20 years, yet even though in each instance they are 20 years old, each time Britain itself is a very different place.

A fabulous love story and insightful social history in one.

Buy for £12.99 from Waterstones.

The Sanctuary by Andrew Hunter Murray (Hutchinson)

This dystopian thriller has plenty of shocks in store

A philanthropic millionaire invites some of the world’s most brilliant people to help build a utopia on a remote island.

But when his fiancée Cara, who has been there for six months, breaks off their engagement to stay there permanently, Ben is shocked at what he discovers when he attempts to get her back in this high-concept dystopian thriller from the author of the best-selling The Last Day.

Buy from £13.19 from Amazon.

Black Cake by Charmaine Wilkerson (Michael Joseph)

A family quest starts with a traditional cake recipe

A recipe for a traditional Caribbean cake lies at the heart of this sparkling debut, which examines migration, estrangement and the stories we tell about ourselves as an estranged brother and sister embark on a continent-spanning quest to fulfil their mother’s dying wish.

Buy for £11.74 from Blackwells.

This Time Tomorrow by Emma Straub (Michael Joseph)

A touching journey through time

A woman wakes on her 40th birthday to discover she’s been returned to her 16-year-old self and her father Leonard, who is very ill, is suddenly much younger and full of health.

An excellent time-travelling novel about adolescence and second chances from the always brilliant Emma Straub.

Pre-order for £14.99 from Waterstones.

The Second Sight of Zachary Cloudesley by Sean Lusk (Doubleday)

History meets magic

Fans of eccentrically flavoured historical fiction with a touch of magic are in for a treat with this bustling Dickensian debut about a boy born with the ability to see into the minds of everyone he meets and which spans 18th-century Europe, from London to Constantinople.

Pre-order for £13.19 from Amazon.

Murder Before Evensong by The Reverend Coles (Orion)

Cosy village crime

Evidently The Reverend Coles saw the success of Richard Osman’s smash hit The Thursday Murder Club and thought ‘I’ll have a bit of that’.

This debut caper, which introduces Canon Daniel Clement, centres on the sleepy parish of Champton where passions are running high following plans to install loos in the church. Then a village bigwig is found dead. For those who like their crime cosy.

Pre-order for £16.99 from Waterstones.

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