Every year around this time I find myself longing for a beach vacation. While that isn’t likely for me right now, I’ve found that books are the perfect escape. From thrillers to romances, below are some of my favorite books that have a beach or vacation setting!
Summer of ’69 by Elin Hilderbrand
Elin Hilderbrand is the queen of beach reads. The Summer of ’69 is a wonderful family saga set in, you guessed it, the summer of 1969. Telling the tale of the Levin family, this book absolutely transported me to Nantucket in the 60s. This book was the perfect blend of historical and women’s fiction. Including topics relevant to the time, like political scandal, Woodstock, war, and feminism, this book hooked me from the very first chapter.
The Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren
Romance is my favorite genre to read and The Unhoneymooners is one of my all-time favorite books. Olive and Ethan are sworn enemies. As the maid of honor and best man of a wedding, they are forced to spend time together. When the bride and groom get food poisoning, Olive and Ethan decide to take the all-expenses-paid honeymoon. After arriving at the resort, Olive runs into her future boss. She tells a little white lie and now she and Ethan must act like a loving couple. What follows is one of the best enemies to lovers stories I have read. The Unhoneymooners is laugh-out-loud funny with a hint of emotion too. I highly recommend this book for anyone looking to read a romcom.
A Stranger on the Beach by Michelle Campbell
Caroline is an empty-nester with a seemingly perfect marriage. One night, during a party at her beach house, Caroline realizes this is not the case. Spiraling, Caroline meets Aiden and embarks on a brief affair. She wants to leave it at the one night they had, but Aiden has other ideas. This is a very twisty tale told from Caroline and Aiden’s points of view. This psychological thriller kept me turning the pages and I was not able to predict the ending. I highly recommend this fast-paced read.
Something in the Water by Catherine Steadman
When Erin, an up-and-coming documentarian, and Mark, a handsome investment banker, take their honeymoon in Bora Bora, they think life couldn’t be more perfect. Then, while scuba diving, they see something in the water. They have a choice to make and their choice triggers a devastating chain of events. This was a fantastic debut novel that captivated me from the beginning. If you enjoy thrillers, definitely pick this one
The Guest List by Lucy Foley
Guests gather off the coast of Ireland for a wedding of a handsome television star and an ambitious magazine editor. It’s definitely a wedding that belongs in a magazine and every detail has been planned to perfection. As the champagne is popped, jealousies and pettiness arise. It’s all fun and games until someone turns up dead. I loved this book so much. It was so different from any thriller I’ve read and I loved that it transported me off the coast of Ireland.
Big Summer by Jennifer Weiner
This book is set during a disastrous wedding on Cape Cod and weaves a story that shows the complexity of female friendships. Daphne, a plus-sized Instagram influencer, hasn’t talked to Drue in the six years since their friendship imploded. When Drue shows up asking Daphne to be her maid of honor, Daphne knows it’s a risk but is tempted by the promise of attending a lavish, Instagram-worthy wedding. This book does a great job of taking you inside influencer culture and the complexities of female friendships. Jennifer Weiner is legendary in women’s fiction and this book truly showcases why. I flew through this book and might have read it in one sitting. Needless to say, I highly recommend this one!
Beach Read by Emily Henry
An acclaimed literary writer and a best-selling romance writer embark on a summer-long challenge to get rid of their writers’ block. Set on Lake Michigan, Beach Read gives us the story of an unlikely couple. January writes happily ever afters for a living, where Augustus would be more likely to kill off the entire cast of characters. Living in neighboring beach houses, they eventually come up with a challenge: January will write a literary novel while Gus will write something happy with plenty of antics along the way. This book was super fun but also dealt with some hard topics. I highly recommend this romance!
Do you have a favorite book that transports you to a vacation-worthy setting? Let me know in the comments! If you’re looking for more recommendations, visit me on Instagram – @read.with.rach!