There have been plenty of incredible books hitting shelves this summer.
Summer means a time to relax, unwind and just all around have a good time. It’s also one of the best reading times of the year — and August is no exception.
If you’re looking for a novel you can dive into on a gorgeous summer day, there are plenty of new page-turners worth checking out this month.
A Ghost in the Throat by Doireann Ní Ghríofa
In the 1700s, an Irish noblewoman, on discovering her husband has been murdered, drinks handfuls of his blood and composes an extraordinary poem that reaches across the centuries to another poet.
In the present day, a young mother narrowly avoids tragedy in her own life. On encountering the poem, she becomes obsessed with finding out the rest of the story.
Betty by Tiffany McDaniel
Born in a bathtub in 1954 to a Cherokee father and white mother, Betty is the sixth of eight siblings. The world they inhabit is one of poverty and violence – both from outside the family and also, devastatingly, from within. When her family’s darkest secrets are brought to light, Betty has no choice but to reckon with the brutal history hiding in the hills, as well as the heart-wrenching cruelties and incredible characters she encounters in her rural town of Breathed, Ohio.
Despite the hardship she faces, Betty is resilient. Her curiosity about the natural world, her fierce love for her sisters and her father’s brilliant stories are kindling for the fire of her own imagination, and in the face of all she bears witness to, Betty discovers an escape: she begins to write.
As You Were by Elaine Feeney
Sinéad Hynes is a tough, driven, funny young property developer with a terrifying secret. No-one knows it: not her fellow patients in a failing hospital, and certainly not her family. She has confided only in Google and a shiny magpie.
But she can’t go on like this, tirelessly trying to outstrip her past and in mortal fear of her future. Across the ward, Margaret Rose is running her chaotic family from her rose-gold Nokia. In the neighbouring bed, Jane, rarely but piercingly lucid, is searching for a decent bra and for someone to listen. Sinéad needs them both.
The Nothing Man by Catherine Ryan Howard
I was the girl who survived the Nothing Man. Now I am the woman who is going to catch him…You’ve just read the opening pages of The Nothing Man, the true crime memoir Eve Black has written about her obsessive search for the man who killed her family nearly two decades ago.
Supermarket security guard Jim Doyle is reading it too, and with each turn of the page his rage grows. Because Jim was – is – the Nothing Man. The more Jim reads, the more he realises how dangerously close Eve is getting to the truth. He knows she won’t give up until she finds him. He has no choice but to stop her first…
Here is the Beehive by Sarah Crossan
Ana and Connor have been having an affair for three years. In hotel rooms and coffee shops, swiftly deleted texts and briefly snatched weekends, they have built a world with none but the two of them in it. But then the unimaginable happens, and Ana finds herself alone, trapped inside her secret.
How can we lose someone the world never knew was ours? How do we grieve for something no one else can ever find out? In her desperate bid for answers, Ana seeks out the shadowy figure who has always stood just beyond her reach – Connor’s wife Rebecca.
Eight Detectives by Alex Pavesi
Grant McAllister, an author of crime fiction and professor of mathematics, once sat down and worked them all out. But that was thirty years ago. Now he’s living a life of seclusion on a quiet Mediterranean island – until Julia Hart, a sharp, ambitious editor, knocks on his door. His early work is being republished and together the two of them must revisit those old stories.
An author, hiding from his past, and an editor, probing inside it. But as she reads the stories, Julia is unsettled to realise that there are parts that don’t make sense. Intricate clues that seem to reference a real murder. One that’s remained unsolved for thirty years . . .
True Story by Kate Reed Petty
After a college party, two boys drive a girl home: drunk and passed out in the back seat. Rumours spread about what they did to her, but later they’ll tell the police a different version of events. Alice will never remember what truly happened. Her fracture runs deep, hidden beneath cleverness and wry humour. Nick – a sensitive, misguided boy who stood by – will never forget.
That’s just the beginning of this extraordinary journey into memory, fear and self-portrayal. Through university applications, a terrifying abusive relationship, a fateful reckoning with addiction and a final mind-bending twist, Alice and Nick will take on different roles to each other – some real, some invented – until finally, brought face to face once again, the secret of that night is revealed.
Strange Flowers by Donal Ryan
In 1973, twenty-year-old Moll Gladney takes a morning bus from her rural home and disappears. Bewildered and distraught, Paddy and Kit must confront an unbearable prospect: that they will never see their daughter again.
Five years later, Moll returns. What – and who – she brings with her will change the course of her family’s life forever.
Invisible Girl by Lisa Jewell
When Saffyre Maddox was ten, something terrible happened, and she’s carried the pain of it ever since. The man who she thought was going to heal her didn’t, and now she hides, learning his secrets, invisible in the shadows.
Owen Pick is invisible too. He’s never had a girlfriend; he’s never even had a friend. Nobody sees him. Nobody cares. But when Saffyre goes missing from opposite his house on Valentine’s night, suddenly the whole world is looking at Owen. Accusing him, holding him responsible for Saffyre’s disappearance …
The Stray Cats of Homs by Eva Nour
Sami’s childhood is much like any other – an innocent blend of family and school, of friends and relations and pets (including stray cats and dogs, and the turtle he keeps on the roof).
But growing up in one of the largest cities in Syria, with his country at war with itself, means that nothing is really normal. And Sami’s hopes for a better future are ripped away when he is conscripted into the military and forced to train as a map maker. Sami may be shielded from the worst horrors of the war, but it will still be impossible to avoid his own nightmare…
The Truth Must Dazzle Gradually by Helen Cullen
Murtagh Moone is a potter and devoted husband to Maeve, an actor struggling with her most challenging role yet – being a mother to their four children. Now Murtagh must hold his family close as we bear witness to their story before that tragic night.
We return to the day Maeve and Murtagh meet, outside Trinity College in Dublin, and watch how one love story gives rise to another. And as the Moone children learn who their parents truly are, we journey onwards with them to a future that none of the Moones could predict…except perhaps Maeve herself.
The Bird in the Bamboo Cage by Hazel Gaynor
China, 1941. With Japan’s declaration of war on the Allies, Elspeth Kent’s future changes forever. When soldiers take control of the missionary school where she teaches, comfortable security is replaced by rationing, uncertainty and fear.
Ten-year-old Nancy Plummer has always felt safe at Chefoo School. Now the enemy, separated indefinitely from anxious parents, the children must turn to their teachers – to Miss Kent and her new Girl Guide patrol especially – for help. But worse is to come when the pupils and teachers are sent to a distant internment camp. Unimaginable hardship, impossible choices and danger lie ahead.
Hell in the Heartland by Jax Miller
On December 30th, 1999, in rural Oklahoma, 16-year-old Ashley Freeman and her best friend, Lauria Bible, were having a sleepover. The next morning, the Freeman family trailer was in flames and both girls were missing. While rumours of drug debts, revenge killings, and police corruption abounded in the years that followed, the case remained unsolved and the girls were never found.
In 2016, crime writer Jax Miller travelled to Oklahoma to discover what really happened. What she unearthed was shocking. These forgotten towns were wild, lawless, and home to some very dark secrets.
Finally, in April 2018, the first arrests were made… could justice finally be in sight for the girls and their families?
The Killings at Kingfisher Hill by Sophie Hannah
Hercule Poirot is travelling by luxury passenger coach from London to the exclusive Kingfisher Hill estate. Richard Devonport has summoned him to prove that his fiancée, Helen, is innocent of the murder of his brother, Frank. There is one strange condition attached to this request: Poirot must conceal his true reason for being there from the rest of the Devonport family.
On the coach, a distressed woman leaps up, demanding to disembark. She insists that if she stays in her seat, she will be murdered. A seat-swap is arranged, and the rest of the journey passes without incident. But Poirot has a bad feeling about it, and his fears are later confirmed when a body is discovered in the Devonports’ home with a note that refers to ‘the seat that you shouldn’t have sat in’.
Could this new murder and the peculiar incident on the coach be clues to solving mystery of who killed Frank Devonport? And can Poirot find the real murderer in time to save an innocent woman from the gallows?
Finding Freedom by Omid Scobie and Carolyn Durand
When news of the budding romance between a beloved English prince and an American actress broke, it captured the world’s attention and sparked an international media frenzy.
But while the Duke and Duchess of Sussex have continued to make headlines – from their engagement, wedding, and birth of their son Archie to their unprecedented decision to step back from their royal lives – few know the true story of Harry and Meghan.
The Comeback by Ella Berman
At the height of her career and on the eve of her first Golden Globe nomination, teen star Grace Turner disappeared. Now, tentatively sober and surprisingly numb, Grace is back in Los Angeles after her year of self-imposed exile. She knows the new private life she wants isn’t going to be easy as she tries to be a better person and reconnect with the people she left behind.
But when Grace is asked to present a lifetime achievement award to director Able Yorke–the man who controlled her every move for eight years–she realizes that she can’t run from the secret behind her spectacular crash and burn for much longer. And she’s the only one with nothing left to lose.
All the Right Mistakes by Laura Jamison
Five college friends have arrived at forty in very different circumstances, but with at least one thing in common: they are among the more privileged in society. Elizabeth and Sara are lawyers, Martha is a doctor, Carmen is a wealthy and well-educated homemaker, and Heather, the most successful, is a famous tech executive―and after more than two decades of friendship, they know one another better than anyone.
Then Heather writes a women’s advice book detailing the key life “mistakes” of her four friends―opting out, ramping off, giving half effort, and forgetting your fertility―that becomes wildly popular, and Elizabeth, Sara, Martha, and Carmen all feel the sting of Heather’s cruel words. Despite their status, these women face everyday obstacles, including work problems, parenting challenges, secondary infertility, racism, sexism, financial stress, and marital woes―and as they weather their fortieth year, each one can’t help but wonder if their life might have been different if they had followed Heather’s advice.
But as these friends are continually reminded, life is complex, messy, disappointing, and joyful, often all at once―and no one can plan her way out of that reality. In the end, all five women must embrace the idea that their lives are shaped not just by their choices but also by how they handle the obstacles life inevitably throws at us all.
Behind the Red Door by Megan Collins
When Fern Douglas sees the news about Astrid Sullivan, a thirty-four-year-old missing woman from Maine, she is positive that she knows her. Fern’s husband is sure it’s because of Astrid’s famous kidnapping–and equally famous return–twenty years ago, but Fern has no memory of that, even though it happened an hour outside her New Hampshire hometown. And when Astrid appears in Fern’s recurring nightmare, one in which a girl reaches out to her, pleading, Fern fears that it’s not a dream at all, but a memory.
Back at her childhood home to help her father pack for a move, Fern purchases a copy of Astrid’s recently published memoir–which may have provoked her original kidnapper to abduct her again–and as she reads through its chapters and visits the people and places within it, she discovers more evidence that she has an unsettling connection to the missing woman. With the help of her psychologist father, Fern digs deeper, hoping to find evidence that her connection to Astrid can help the police locate her. But when Fern discovers more about her own past than she ever bargained for, the disturbing truth will change both of their lives forever.
You Had Me at Hola by Alexis Daria
After a messy public breakup, soap opera darling Jasmine Lin Rodriguez finds her face splashed across the tabloids. When she returns to her hometown of New York City to film the starring role in a bilingual romantic comedy for the number one streaming service in the country, Jasmine figures her new “Leading Lady Plan” should be easy enough to follow—until a casting shake-up pairs her with telenovela hunk Ashton Suárez.
After his last telenovela character was killed off, Ashton is worried his career is dead as well. Joining this new cast as a last-minute addition will give him the chance to show off his acting chops to American audiences and ping the radar of Hollywood casting agents. To make it work, he’ll need to generate smoking-hot on-screen chemistry with Jasmine. Easier said than done, especially when a disastrous first impression smothers the embers of whatever sexual heat they might have had.
With their careers on the line, Jasmine and Ashton agree to rehearse in private. But rehearsal leads to kissing, and kissing leads to a behind-the-scenes romance worthy of a soap opera. While their on-screen performance improves, the media spotlight on Jasmine soon threatens to destroy her new image and expose Ashton’s most closely guarded secret.
Lost Souls at the Neptune Inn by Betsy Carter
Geraldine, Emilia Mae, and Alice Wingo couldn’t be more different from each other. Geraldine is a fiery beauty, turning heads while running the local bakery with her devoted husband, Earle-but she never quite takes to motherhood. Her daughter, Emilia Mae, spends her life chasing her mother’s affection and goes looking for love in all the wrong places. So when she gives birth to her own daughter, Alice-the girl with the quick laugh and music running through her veins-she vows to do things differently.
Then, Dillard Fox, a handsome stranger with a Southern drawl sails into town, bringing with him a gentle warmth that draws in all three of the Wingo women. Emilia Mae, never thinking she’d find true love, builds the kind of happy life with Dillard that neither of them ever expected. Geraldine slowly learns to be kinder to her difficult daughter, and young Alice may have found the father figure she always wanted. But everyone has their secrets, and the one that Dillard has been carrying all of these years threatens to upend their idyllic family.
Over the course of their lives, these three women navigate their relationships with each other and the changing world around them.
The Boys’ Club by Erica Katz
When Alex Vogel gets a new job working at a corporate Manhattan law firm, she thinks all her dreams have come true. The pay checks are huge, the work is exciting, and the drinks are flowing every Friday night.
But underneath the glossy veneer of the company, dark secrets are lurking. Her colleagues disappear into the bathroom for hits of cocaine, the partners sleep under their desks (if they sleep at all) and the firm’s biggest client sexually harasses a string of women, none of whom will speak up. Alex soon realises that in order to fit in, she needs to become one of the boys – and turn a blind eye to what goes on. She needs to join in. But as her life begins to spiral out of control, Alex realises – the boys’ club is a dangerous place to be…
With or Without You by Caroline Leavitt
After almost twenty years together, Stella and Simon are starting to run into problems. An up-and-coming rock musician when they first met, Simon has been clinging to dreams of fame even as the possibility of it has grown dimmer, and now that his band might finally be on the brink again, he wants to go on the road, leaving Stella behind.
But when she falls into a coma on the eve of his departure, he has to make a choice between stardom and his relationship–and when Stella wakes a different person, with an incredible artistic talent of her own, the two of them must examine what it is that they really want.