A summer holiday. Whether you spend it at home, pottering about in the house and garden, or away, perhaps in a country cottage or lake house or beachside villa, it’s bliss just to give yourself permission to slow down, to take time off and relax. And… to read!
How much time in our busy lives do we allow ourselves for reading? Not enough, I imagine most people would agree. We squeeze reading in amid all the business of living, little more than an hour here and there, and even this can feel a somewhat guilty pleasure.
But there is no guilt on holiday; we are free to do as we like! Bibliophiles rejoice, because we can read and read as we did when we were young, when we discovered this ‘uniquely portable magic’ called books.
I love building my ‘to read’ pile for the summer. I read old favourites, of course; it’s wonderful to reconnect with old friends. But all this time for reading gives me the scope to explore, try new authors and visit new story worlds, and so I also look for fresh new reads. Media outlets are full of ‘best summer reads’ recommendations, and sometimes these are helpful, but ultimately I prefer to visit bookstores and browse for myself.
What am I looking for? Well, these are the four aspects that make a perfect summer read for me:
An exotic, vivid setting
I don’t want to read a novel set in a dreary, rain-soaked town; I want to visit, in my imagination, someplace really special. It needn’t necessarily be hot, but I’m likely to prefer a book set in sunny climes over a wintry novel. Most of all, I need to be transported to the setting by the writing and be able to imagine it vividly.
It has to be so, so romantic. Breathtakingly passionate and evocative. I want summer love – to fall in love with the hero, to be swept up by the love story.
I want to be gripped, to struggle to put the book down. I want to be sitting on a beach or in my garden, heart thumping. I want the book to be memorable, so that when I look back on this summer, I remember my reading.
A beautiful book
The book itself must be inspiring, beautiful. A cover that draws me in. Good-quality paper (for me, summer reads are paperbacks, not ebooks; I love that they will come to be touched by the holiday – perhaps sand left between the pages or a little fading from the sun). And the book must be thick: the thicker, the better. There is something so reassuring to me about a big book which holds the promise of so many hours of reading ahead.
Not only do I love books like this to read, but I write them too. My novels feature exotic settings, epic romance and gripping drama, and the print books are beautiful, thanks to my publisher. They are, I hope, perfect holiday reads, bound to make you sigh dreamily.
If you would like to try one of my novels, please take a look at my shop. All of my books are available as ebooks (for instant download) or paperbacks (free postage to the UK and Poland). Alternatively, if you enjoy audiobooks, you’ll find that my novels The Echoes of Love, Indiscretion and Masquerade are available from Audible.