27 beach novels you’ll want to read this summer
Sarah PearsePamela Dorman
A luxury wellness retreat has just opened on an idyllic island off the English coast. But the island – known locally as “Reaper’s Rock” – has a dark past and was once the hunting ground of a serial killer. When friends arrive at the retreat looking for a little relaxation, a woman ends up dying – and it doesn’t appear to be an accident.
Dwyer Murphy (Viking)
In mid-2000s Brooklyn, a former corporate lawyer lands odd jobs with various clients. When a woman named Anna Reddick offers her $10,000 in cash to find her missing husband, a bookseller she suspects of theft, it seems like it’ll be a simple affair. But then the real Anna Reddick appears and things get complicated.
Kirstin ChenWilliam Morrow
Ava Wong generally follows the rules. But when she randomly meets Winnie Fang, her former college roommate from mainland China, she is struck by his confidence. Winnie reveals the secret to her success: she has a successful counterfeit handbag business and she wants Ava to join her in an easy money export business. What could go wrong?
Claire PooleyPamela Dorman
Every day a magazine columnist named Iona sees the same people on her train from Hampton Court to Waterloo Station. She doesn’t know their names, and they never talk – that’s the first rule of the ride. But one day when one of the commuters chokes on a grape and is saved by a quick-witted medic named Sanjay, the group of silent commuters begin to talk to each other – and even become friends.
Nina Stibbe (small, brunette)
Susan and Norma have been best friends for decades, navigating life together even if it takes them on different paths. Thirty years after their friendship began in 1990s Leicestershire, Susan is beginning to question the choices she has made in love, life and even friendship.
Elizabeth Day (Simon & Schuster)
When you’re a couple who rents the guest room to a stranger, things don’t always go as planned. Marisa and Jake are so happy – and with Kate boarding in their house, they have the financial flexibility to start trying for a baby. Except Kate isn’t good with boundaries, and the situation quickly goes completely off the rails.
Taylor Hahn (anchor)
Life goes as planned for Georgina Wagman: she is a partner in a law firm, where she works with her handsome husband. But when she meets him one night with a junior associate, Georgina decides she needs a new plan. Rather than divorce, she suggests they both become swingers.
Allie Reynolds (son of GP Putnam)
After her boyfriend drowned three years ago, surfer Kenna Ward has vowed to get out of the water for good. When her best friend Mikki announces her engagement to a man who is part of a tight-knit group of surfers, Kenna heads to a remote Australian beach to help her celebrate – and is brought back into the surf scene. Then the group members begin to disappear.
Marcy Dermansky (Knopf)
From the author of “Very Nice” comes this book about Allison Brody, a 32-year-old woman who buys a beach house on the coast and owns it for an entire week – before a hurricane destroys it. Left completely adrift, she eventually returns home and spends the next few months searching for a new plan – in the form of a rooftop swimming pool.
Elin Hilderbrand (small, brunette)
Hilderbrand is the absolute queen of beach reads, and her latest offering is flat and fun, as a classic Nantucket hotel tries to reinvent itself with a billionaire new owner. It may look glamorous on the outside, but behind closed doors there’s plenty of dysfunction among staff, drama on the guest side, and a bad reputation the place can’t shake from a tragic fire in 1922. .
Liska Jacobs (MCD)
Keith and Kit Collins are newlyweds and they just enjoyed a free honeymoon at the iconic Pink Hotel, a Beverly Hills landmark. But there’s a catch: the general manager wants to hire Keith, who’s also in the hotel business, and Keith buys what the Pink Hotel hosts: glamorous guests, nighttime debauchery, and all. As Keith and Kit are drawn into the world of the hotel, their new marriage suddenly seems very tenuous.
Jenny Mollen (Nacelle Books)
Megan is an unemployed writer with lots of talent but only a few low-paying gigs here and there. With two young children, she struggles to find her old identity. When she meets A-list mom influencer Daphne Cole, Daphne seems to have totally cracked the code to being a cool mom with a lucrative side business. The two quickly become friends – and Megan is invited into a world of power mom supper clubs and luxury wellness rituals.
Fiona Barton (Berkley)
In the seaside town of Ebbing, there is a constant conflict between locals and wealthy weekenders who come with disposable income and plan to renovate old bungalows into luxury homes. Elise King is a detective there, and she is called into action when a man goes missing on the first night of a music festival weekend.
Jonathan Vatner (Saint-Martin Press)
From the author of “Carnegie Hill” comes a delightful story about bridesmaids gone rogue. Iris Hagerty is fed up with weddings: she has mastered just about every aspect of it. She brags online about being a bridesmaid (too often, for ungrateful brides) and the post sparks a movement. Soon there’s a Facebook group of bridesmaids who just aren’t going to put up with it anymore — and Iris is their new leader.
Iman Hariri-Kia (source books landmark)
Noora is an aspiring writer who can’t believe her luck when she lands a job as an assistant to Loretta James, editor of the iconic Vinyl magazine. But Loretta is awful, the print side of the magazine is fighting for its existence, and Loretta is constantly trying to undermine the digital director. The hilarious shades of “Devil Wears Prada” for 2022.
Megan Goldin (St. Martin Press)
“TO STAY AWAKE.” So says the message inked on Liv Reese’s hand when she wakes up in the back of a cab with no memory of how she got there. No phone – she must have lost it. In its place is a bloody knife and reports of a crime scene on local news.
In 1990s Dublin, the country of Ireland is entering an economic boom and Joan is part of it. Life is Beautiful. Until a letter arrives one day from Emma, the daughter she and her husband gave up for adoption 30 years ago – and she has a serious favor to ask.
Ashley Winstead (source books landmark)
At a college in upstate New York, Shay Evans and her best friends met a man – their roommate’s father – who gradually dragged them into a strange cult that nearly destroyed their lives. (Yes, this one is taken from the headlines of the Sarah Lawrence cult story). Shay and her friend Laurel managed to escape – the others didn’t. Eight years later, she learns that Laurel has committed suicide – and she returns to college in search of answers.
Emma Donoghue (small, brunette)
From the author of “Room” comes something completely different from any previous novel Donoghue has written. In the 7th century island, three men set out for an island their leader imagined in a dream, determined to leave the world behind. What they find is nothing out of the ordinary.
Megan Miranda (Scribner)
In recent years, Cutter’s Pass has become notorious as a town where hikers go – and are never seen again. Abigail Lovett has worked there, at the Passage Inn, for 10 years and loves the town and its people. But with the investigation of another disappearance, Abigail begins to ask questions – and she doesn’t always like the answers.
Nina Sadowsky (Bantam)
Dr. Laina Landers is an accomplished therapist who takes pride in her work. But someone resents her and knows the easiest way to get to her is through her patients, who begin to receive disturbing “gifts” that poke fun at their secret traumas.
Lea Franqui (William Morrow)
Puerto Rico is where Elena Vega’s father lives, but no one has seen him since Hurricane Maria. Troubled by alcoholism and bipolar disorder, he is a man on the verge of disappearing, leaving his daughter to pick up the pieces. Elena returns to the scarred island and begins to search for him, trying to solve the mystery of a man she doesn’t know very well.
Pandemic relationships can lead to quick engagements, as Sarah Danhauser learns when her 22-year-old stepdaughter Ruby announces her engagement. Ruby has set a date—in three months! – and plans the event at Sarah’s mother’s house in Cape Town. As weddings have a way of doing things, the event begins to unearth long-simmering secrets and delicious drama to match.
Alison B. Hart (Graydon House)
It’s a big day at the Stabler Estate, where famed director Ted Stabler and his wife Holly will host the Hollywood event of the season. That’s when Ted’s former business partner, Phoebe Lee, decides it might be time to pay him a surprise visit, while Ted’s assistant, the ambitious Zanne Klein, must figure out how much his work is actually worth it.
Elizabeth Hand (Mulholland Books)
When Grady Kendall sees a job posting for a caretaker residing at a Hawaiian estate, he requests it on a whim, dreaming of something other than another Maine winter. He gets the job and arrives at the estate on Hokuloa Road, ready to settle down. (But first, a 14-day quarantine: This is happening during the pandemic). The grounds are lovely and the island is beautiful. But it seems that Hokuloa Road has a reputation for ghosts, weird creepy characters, and disappearances.
Tom Perotta (Scriber)
Tracy Flick is back! The protagonist of ‘Election’ – immortalized by Reese Witherspoon – is now a hardworking vice principal at a suburban New Jersey high school. Life hasn’t turned out exactly the way she imagined, but she’s determined to change that with a new promotion she’s pursuing – and new big plans.
Nancy Thayer (Ballantine Books)
More than two decades ago, four strangers rented basement rooms near a Nantucket hotel and ended up becoming fast friends for a few magical months that changed them all. Twenty-six years later, they find themselves at the hotel, which one of their friends now owns.