How do you know it's summer? When the book covers show the ocean, and the titles get all beachy. Even when you're land-locked, summer fiction makes you hear the waves and taste the salty air. All you need is a comfy outdoor reading spot, some good sunscreen, and an ice-cold drink. Ahhh, bring on the warm weather!
Here are 10 novels to put on your wish list: some are out right now and others will be waiting for you when you hit the beach for your summer break.
- And There There Was Me by Sadequa Johnson (Thomas Dunne; April): Set in New Jersey, this is the story of a woman trying to make the best of a bad marriage while holding on to her dwindling self-confidence. Fortunately, she can count on her life-long best friend to bolster her up . . . or can she? Themes of marriage, parenting, friendship, and secrets.
- The Beach At Painter's Cove by Shelley Noble (William Morrow; May 23): Four generations of fiercely independent women, all involved in the arts and all battling issues, are reunited at their family home on the Connecticut coast. Each has a different vision for the future of their ramshackle mansion, and as they sort out the contents of the house and their lives, they find their common ground. Themes of family, traditions, and motherhood.
- The Beach House: Coming Home by Georgia Bockoven (William Morrow; May 16): When a teenage girl, suffering from a serious illness, asks to meet her biological mother, her father agrees to set something up at their California beach house. Melinda, nervously looks forward to getting to know the daughter she has never forgotten, but what will be the consequences? Themes of adoption, illness, teen pregnancy, and family.
- Beach House for Rent by Mary Alice Monroe (Gallery; June 20): A budding artist looking for a summer refuge to complete a commission rents the home of an older couple looking for a way to earn some extra cash. The South Carolina coast, the birds, and a possible romance make Heather feel at home, but Cara wants nothing more to return to her house to heal after a traumatic event. Themes of an unlikely friendship, new beginnings, and overcoming setbacks.
- The Captain's Daughter by Meg Mitchell Moore (Doubleday; July 18): Growing up as the daughter of lobsterman, Eliza counted the days until she could escape the small town life. But when she returns to Maine to help her widowed father, she begins to feel the pull of a quieter life. Caught between her husband and kids in suburbia and her family and old friends on the coast, Eliza begins to wonder, What if? Themes of family, marriage, rekindled romance, and making difficult choices.
- Cocoa Beach by Beatriz Williams (William Morrow; June 27): When Virginia arrives in Florida to settle the estate of her estranged husband, she is welcomed by her in-laws who introduce her to the pleasures of the Jazz Age. But the more she dances and drinks and lives it up, the more she suspects there is a sinister undercurrent to her new fun-filled social life. Can she and her daughter escape? Or do they know too much. Themes of Prohibition, family secrets, motherhood, and romance.
- The Light in Summer by Mary McNear (William Morrow; May 31): On her own for the summer, single mother Billy returns to the family cabin on a Minnesota lake to relax, read, and dream. Her solitary days are interrupted by the arrival of new man and the reappearance of a guy from her past. Is this Billy's chance to finally have a happy relationship? Themes of love, grief, coming to terms with the past, and seeing a way into the future.
- Lost and Found Sisters by Jill Shalvis (William Morrow; May 31): Although Quinn seems to have it all, her career and relationship are colored by her grief over her sister's death. After deciding to start over in a small California town, she tries to adjust from LA high life to beachside chilling. Just as she's beginning to feel at home, a lawyer contacts her with news that will turn her world upside down. Themes of new starts, sisters, and wants versus needs.
- The Summer House by Hannah McKinnon (Atria; June 6): A family gathers at their Rhode Island vacation home to celebrate the patriarch's eightieth birthday. Can the siblings, in-laws, children, and grandchildren find a way to get along for the summer? They are pushed to the limits, especially when they learn that the house will soon be put up for sale. Themes of dysfunctional families, dealing with the past, finding hope for the future, and rediscovering family support and love.
- Sunshine Sisters by Jane Green (Berkley; June 6): Three sisters are called home by their distant and self-centered mother as she begins to face end-of-life decisions. Although little love has been lost, the young women reunite, knowing they must put aside their bickering and jealousies to find a way to work together despite their very different personalities. Themes of aging, family duty, siblings, and ambition.