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10 of the best romantic summer reads

Escape with a holiday romance.


Want to immerse yourself in some summer romance? There’s a raft of new novels to choose from, whether you’re after contemporary, historical or word-of-mouth recommendations.

Here are 10 of the best…

1. Talking At Night by Claire Daverley (Michael Joseph, Jul 6, £14.99)

Talking At Night is a generation-spanning romance about opposites Will and Rosie who meet as teenagers and fall in love over secret walks and phone calls. Despite events outside their control driving them apart, their lives come back together at different stages, rekindling that romantic chemistry.

2. The Rachel Incident by Caroline O’Donoghue (Virago, Jun 22, £16.99)

This novel centres on Rachel and her gay best friend James, who form a close relationship while he tries to help her get closer to an attractive married professor, with complications and emotional turmoil following in their wake. It’s set in Catholic Ireland so there are even more crosses to bear, but it will make you laugh and wince with its depiction of 20-something life, from the author of Promising Young Woman.

3. Love, Theoretically by Ali Hazelwood (Sphere, £9.99)

A science-backdrop romcom from the author of TikTok hits The Love Hypothesis and Love On The Brain sees a theoretical physicist by day make up her earnings as a fake girlfriend to her clients. All goes swimmingly, until she meets an attractive, arrogant older brother of her favourite client.

4. The Situationship by Taylor-Dior Rumble (#Merky Books, Aug 17, £8.99)

Contemporary romcom in which a 20-something heroine goes on a dating app and instantly connects with a handsome photographer, who is everything she wants. He seems to be on the same page, but they remain two people dating who are more than friends but less than official. It’s a fun read which explores emotional vulnerability and the pitfalls of modern romance.

5. Sunburn by Chloe Michelle Howarth (Verve, Jun 22, £9.99)

This tender debut set in a small Irish town in the early 1990s over one long, hot summer, sees a young woman struggling with her relationship with the handsome boy next door, when she becomes obsessed and falls in love with a female school friend and begins to lead a double life.

6. Tom Lake by Ann Patchett (Bloomsbury, Aug 1, £18.99)


A love story told in two time frames sees a married woman and three grown-up daughters return to the fold on a fruit farm in Michigan during Covid.

To pass the time, the children ask their mother, a former actor, about her time in the 1980s in a theatre company, when she had an on-off romance with an actor who went on to become a famous film star. Through the timelines, she relives her earlier life as a promising young actor and the romance which she encountered.

7. A Song Of Me And You by Mike Gayle (Hodder & Stoughton, Jul 6, £16.99)

It’s 25 years since the bestselling author’s debut, My Legendary Girlfriend, put Gayle at the forefront of a new trend – emotional, funny and uplifting stories from male authors, with male characters at the heart of the narrative.

His latest charts the fortunes of Helen and Brad, who parted as 18-year-olds and meet up 20 years later, when Helen is a part time teacher with a love rat husband. When Ben – now a multi-millionaire rockstar – turns up on her doorstep, can they rekindle the past?

8. Ever After by Kate Eberlen (Orion, Jul 6, £8.99)

The bestselling author of Miss You is back with an escapist, emotional, romantic story which follows Tess and Gus, who have a holiday romance – but is their love strong enough to survive the challenges of two complicated lives? Set between Florence, Sicily, Margate and London.

9. The Roughest Draft by Emily Wibberley and Austin Siegemund-Broka (Macmillan, Jun 22, £8.99)


TikTok stars and married couple Wibberley and Siegemund-Broka bring readers a tale about two erstwhile bright literary writers whose co-written book had topped the bestseller list. But following this, their partnership ended on bad terms (for reasons neither would divulge to the public) and they haven’t spoken since.

However, there’s one final book to deliver on contract and, facing crossroads in their lives, they are forced to reunite and end up in the tiny Florida town where they wrote their previous bestseller. Working through the reasons they’ve hated each other for the past three years isn’t easy, especially not while writing a romantic novel.

10. Same Time Next Summer by Annabel Monaghan (Hodder, £9.99)

This nostalgic read from the bestselling author of Nora Goes Off Script centres on a buttoned-up, engaged woman who’s due to marry her conventional fiancé. He wants to get married in Manhattan, but she takes him to her parents’ beachside holiday home on Long Island to look for an alternative venue – and runs into her first love, who she hasn’t seen for 14 years.


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