3 4 Friday: Reading in the Sun

Given the recent dramatic turn-around with the weather, our three picks today have a distinctly 'summer reading' theme (not to mention great picks for bookgroups). All three new out in paperback...
Patrick Gale's ‘A Perfectly Good Man’ is the journey of a Cornish parish priest's life from youth to late middle age (but not written in that order) leaving plenty of room for suspense, shifting relationships and an ending both bitter and warm. Gale is a master storyteller, and you feel you know his characters from the inside. It’s all delivered with a perfect compassion and a lesson not to judge too soon. Recommended reading if you are heading off to Cornwall for a break...

Victoria Hislop’s ‘The Thread’ will doubtless find its way into plenty of beach bags and she returns to Greece for this tale that sweeps through decades of modern Greek history and the terrible events that conspire to keep her central love-story protagonists apart.  Her stories manage to turn tangled and controversial history into popular fiction, focusing on period romance and family relationships, so you don’t feel you are having a history lesson. But this particularly has a pleasingly complex story... 

Finally, 'beautiful and magical' is how Ellie sums up 'The Night Circus' by Erin Morgenstern. Here's what she says: "I was really caught up in this story even though it's quite a slow unfurling of events. It's a really impressive and imaginative debut. The circus as we know it is transformed in this story where two magicians are tied together in a challenge at which the circus is at the centre. It's beautiful, dreamlike writing and I definitely recommend it - particularly if you want to read something a bit different and special. It's a book to savour. Enjoy!"

So - do you have any new summer reading you'd like to recommend? Thanks to Headline, we have a reading copy of 'The Book of Summer' to give away. Leave a recommend below - and we'll select one person in a draw on Monday to receive it...


  1. Having wandered into the shop a couple of weeks ago in preparation for a long flight, I'm happy to make another recommendation:

    The Red Coffin by Sam Eastland
    It's never a good sign when you find yourself 50 pages in to the book you've bought for the flight before you've even left for the airport... A detective thriller, but definitely not a run of the mill police procedural, it plausibly blends fictional characters into Stalin's Kremlin in the run up to the second world war. Fear of failure, denouncement and arrest (and a one way ticket to Siberia) lead to competition between investigators to get a result, any result, regardless of the truth. This is cleverly tied in to Pekkala's back story, told in flashback, and his service in the same role to the Romanovs. A gripping read, this would be ideal for a sunny afternoon in the park (though I might recommend the shade rather than the sun!)


  2. Thanks for this review Martin - much appreciated, and I definitely know that feeling when you've read far too much of your 'flight' book whilst in the waiting lounge...

  3. Congrats to Jen Parry, who was the first out of the hat for our blog giveaway. Her recommend (through our Facebook site) was as follows:

    "I recommend - 'Trumpet' by Jackie Kay. For readers who liked 'Red Dust Road'. Written earlier, in the nineties, with many of the same themes - adoption, identity - this time in a novel with a strange (incredible?) plot. The story seen from many interwoven points of view. The voices of the elderly, the young, the bereaved, the outsider all totally convincing."