Enter: Today’s roundup of beach reads! I can fully vouch for every single book on this list as I’ve only included books I’ve read and loved below. My criteria for this roundup of beach reads is less about books with a summery, beachy theme and more about including books that feel like an escape and simultaneously don’t feel too intense or stressful. If you’re looking for a book that will keep you engaged and feel like a breath of fresh air with a little romance peppered in, keep on scrolling!
- Twice in a Blue Moon by Christina Lauren (Tate Jones is the long-lost daughter of the most famous actor on the planet. Following a scandal, Tate is whisked away to a small town where she is raised in a place where no one other than her best friend knows her true identity until she reveals it to her first love during a whirlwind vacation in London. When her secret is revealed to the media, she is livid and her heartbreak and anger come flooding back when she runs into her first love on the set of a movie she’s set to star in 14 years later.)
- A Hundred Summers by Beatriz Williams (Lily Dane returns to the seaside town where she summered for generations, only to find her former best friend, Budgie, and former fiancé, Nick, now married to each other, will be spending the summer in Seaview as well. The book flip flops from the past – when Lily and Nick first met and fell deeply in love – to the present, a time filled with secrets and scandal.)
- Golden Girl by Elin Hilderbrand (Golden Girl begins with the shocking hit-and-run death of Vivian “Vivi” Howe, a prominent author of more than a dozen Nantucket-based beach reads. Since her death was a shock, when she ascends to the Beyond, she’s granted three “nudges” to help alter life on earth for those she cares for deeply — namely her three adult children, all of whom are struggling in one way or another. Who killed Vivi? Are Vivi’s three nudges enough to keep her children off a path of destruction? And will the truth Vivi’s been hiding her entire life suddenly come to the surface when a man from her past reads her final book?)
- The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid (Monique Grant, a talented but relatively unknown young writer, is selected by iconic actress Evelyn Hugo to write her biography. It’s the opportunity of a lifetime and one Monique is determined to do well. As Evelyn begins to tell her story to Monique, we learn all about her life, including the details behind her marriages and secret loves. The book is filled with scandal in a way that doesn’t feel cheap or cheesy and it’s a book I’ve recommended for years!)
- The Secret Life of Violet Grant by Beatriz Williams (I absolutely loved the main character, Vivian, in this book because she really is a character. She’s funny, kind of ridiculous, intelligent, unconventional and her voice is amusing and fun. The book follows Vivian Schuyler, a recent college graduate and member of a wealthy New York City family, as she works at a magazine and goes against the Schuyler family grain. Vivian’s life takes a turn when a package containing her aunt’s suitcase from 50 years ago — an aunt thought to have murdered her husband before she mysteriously disappeared — shows up on her doorstep. The book goes back and forth from following Vivian’s life in 1964 and the life of her disappearing aunt Violet Schuyler Grand, a scientist who moved to Europe, entered into a disastrous marriage with a notable scientist and went missing.)
- Meet Me In Monaco by Hazel Gaynor and Heather Webb (Set in the 1950s, Meet Me in Monaco takes place in the middle of the paparazzi mayhem surrounding the wedding of 26-year-old actress Grace Kelly to Prince Rainier. Though Grace Kelly is a focal point of the story, we see glimpses of the soon-to-be princess through the lens — literally — of James, a photographer sent to capture images of Grace Kelly during her visit to Cannes during the famous film festival where she first met the prince and the woman who immediately catches his eye, Sophie, an ambitious but struggling perfumer whose chance meeting with Grace strikes up a life-long friendship.)
- Love and Other Words by Christina Lauren (The story goes back and forth from the past to the present as Macy Sorensen is recently reunited with her first love, Elliot Petropoulos. The two first met as young teenagers and bonded over a love for reading, a bond that turned into much more as they grew up together… before one night changed everything and they stopped speaking for more than a decade.)
- Overdue Life of Amy Byler by Kelly Harms (The husband of an exhausted and overworked librarian returns after abandoning her and her two children for three years. When Amy sees John at a local convenience store, she doesn’t know what to think. When he tells her he wants to spend a week with the teenage children he’s abandoned while she can take a week “off” from work and motherhood, she’s even more confused… but very intrigued. Amy soon finds herself saying goodbye to her children as she heads off to New York City for a librarian conference that morphs into a journey of self-discovery, adventure and, most surprising to Amy, love.)
- The Husband’s Secret by Liane Moriarty (Cecilia Fitzpatrick, a successful business woman and devoted wife and mother, opens a letter from her husband, a letter meant to be read following his death… but he is still very much alive. The letter reveals shocking secrets that have repercussions that go far beyond impacting only Cecilia’s life.)
- Matchmaking for Beginners by Maddie Dawson (Marnie MacGraw recently became engaged to Noah, a man she’s convinced will give her the ordinarily wonderful life she’s always wanted. When Marnie’s marriage explodes after only two weeks, she’s left devastated and blindsided when she learns she’s inherited her ex-fiancé’s seemingly crazy great-aunt Blix’s Brooklyn townhouse after Blix passes away.)
- The Soulmate Equation by Christina Lauren (I loved the geeky premise of this one and thought the concept of genetically matching with your soulmate was really creative and very cool. The book centers around the unheard of “Diamond Match” connection between River, the introverted and mysterious founder of GeneticAlly, a DNA-based matchmaking company, and freelance statistician Jess, a single mom who has all but sworn off dating. The match is shocking to everyone but no one is more surprised than Jess and River, as their interactions up to this point have been anything but pleasant and very far from romantic.)
- The Violets of March by Sarah Jio (Emily Wilson, a recently divorced young woman, books a flight to visit her Aunt Bee to spend the month of March on Bainbridge Island in Washington. While there, Emily begins reading a diary written much like a novel from the 1940s that she finds in the nightstand of one of the guest rooms in her aunt’s house. She becomes completely immersed in the story of Esther and her complicated and tumultuous love life, noticing parallels between Esther’s story and the things going on around her on the island. Emily finds herself constantly wondering how Esther’s life intertwines with her own.)
- Josh and Hazel’s Guide to Not Dating by Christina Lauren (BFFs Hazel and Josh, a pair with completely opposite personalities set each other up on a double blind date. It’s a disaster but they have fun — with each other at least — and try again. And again. And again. As they continue to search for partners for each other and insist they have no interest in dating despite increasing feelings of attraction on both sides, their plan to find a special someone for each other sounds less and less appealing, especially when one of their exes shows up on one of the dates with the potential to change everything.)
- American Royals by Katharine McGee (American Royals follows the royal family of America as the author creates an alternate universe where a monarchy rules America and the royal family is packed with drama. From an all-to-perfect princess set to be queen with a secret that could threaten the crown to forbidden romances and betrayal, American Royals is an intriguing read that made me feel like I was curling up on the couch to watch a guilty-pleasure TV show.)
- Summer of ’69 by Elin Hilderbrand (I loved the fact that the novel is set in 1969 in the midst of man’s first walk on the moon, Ted Kennedy’s Chappaquiddick scandal, the civil rights movement and more. The novel takes place on Nantucket and follows the Levin family and the family’s four children. Blair, the oldest daughter, is in a rocky marriage and pregnant with twins. Tiger, the only boy in the family, was recently deployed to Vietnam. Kirby, the middle daughter, decides to exercise her independence and spend her summer on Martha’s Vineyard where she stumbles upon an unexpected romance with a man whose mother knows about her troubled past. Jessie, the youngest at only 13 years old, is coming of age and forced to spend the summer with her secret-keeping mother and grandmother. The book was filled with enough intrigue to keep me engaged the entire time. It was predictable without feeling overly contrived and I looked forward to reading this novel before bed every night.)
Additional Book Posts
- Book Recommendations by Category (December 2021)
- 10 Books I Recently Read and Loved (July 2021)
- 10 Books I Recently Read and Loved (November 2020)
- 10 Books I Recently Read and Loved (June 2020)
- 15 Books I Recently Read and Loved (February 2020)
- 12 Books I Recently Read and Loved (September 2020)
- 10 Books I Recently Read and Loved (February 2019)
Question of the Day
What are some breezy beach reads you’ve read and loved? Please share any recommendations below!
Did you see they’re making a movie of 7 Husbands? I can’t wait!
I am so excited about this!!!
Omg i did NOT hear this!!!!! How awesome! I loved this book.
The Bridgerton book series! Highly recommend if you like the show.
I wouldn’t classify it as a beach read, but I just read Black Cake by Charmaine Wilkerson – and loved every second of it!
I loved People We Meet on Vacation by Emily Henry. Great characters, engrossing, romance, fun beach read~!
I liked that one too!
WE have such similar taste in reading choices! I have either read or have on my Want to read list on Goodreads all but 2 of these books!!
I am in the middle of Evelyn Hugo right now! Have you read Malibu Rising by the same author? So good. I also love just about anything Elin Hilderbrand writes (Summer of ’69 was one of my faves, too!).
I did!! I think I’ve read *almost* all of her books and they’re great!! Daisy Jones & Evelyn Hugo were my favs by far though!
Love!! Have you read anything by Kristy Woodson Harvey? Think you would absolutely love her books!
I second this! She is so underrated! The peach tree bluff series is so good!
I just did a quick search of her novels and I don’t think I have. Thank you for putting her on my radar!
Thanks for sharing these, Julie! I do have to say I am a bit disappointed to see that all of these books are written by white women. This would have been an awesome opportunity to highlight some amazing BIPOC authors whose books fall in the “breezy reads” category, there are so many incredible ones! I know you made that a goal of yours a few years back. Separately, I am loving the house updates! So exciting to see your progress and so enjoy all of your insights, very helpful to my own process!
Hi Katherine! Thank you for the nudge to make this a priority. I truly do appreciate it! Also, if you have any recommendations, I’d love to add them to my reading list!
Yasssss. I had to laugh about how many Christina Lauren books you have on your list (same girl, same), but I haven’t read Love & Other Words yet, so I will add it to my list. Actually, you and I seem to have very similar tastes in our breezy reads (I loved The Secret Life of Violet Grant), so I’ll have to add everything I haven’t read to my list.
I saw a previous commenter mention BIPOC authors; have you read anything in The Wedding Date series by Jasmine Guillory yet? I’m on the sixth one now, and I’ve really enjoyed them. Her protagonists are women of color while sometimes the male lead is and sometimes he’s not, and I’ve enjoyed how she writes about the different dynamics. But I would still put her in the Christina Lauren category of not too intense or stressful.
I looooooove Jasmine Guilllory! Also, the author of The Friend Zone series, Abby Jiminez is really good. Alexis Daria is another good BIPOC romance writer. I’ve also enjoyed the Chanel Cleeton novels about Cuba…they’re super steamy. Talia Hibbert is also great.
Oooh, I’ll have to check those out. I’m sad I’m on the last one of this series haha.
Thank you thank you for these author recommendations!!!
I did read The Wedding Date! I thought it was good but didn’t love it as much as so many seem to. I should try another one of her novels though because I know she gets rave reviews! If there’s another one of her books you loved that you’d recommend, please let me know!
The Wedding Date actually wasn’t my favorite either. You may want to try The Proposal or The Wedding Party.
Thanks! I will!
I’m agreeing with adding more bipoc authors. Grace Atwood just did a similar post and included a fair amount of bipoc authors. I’m addition, it is aapi heritage month and including some authors of that heritage would be great too. Jasmine Guillory is also one of my faves!
Written in the Stars by Alexandria Bellefleur and Cool for the Summer by Dahlia Adler! I think you may also really like Yes & I Love You by Roni Loren.
Just wanted to say thank you for your book recommendations! I recently got back into reading after my 2nd was born, and these books have been a perfect escape from the craziness that is the world right now. I’m glad I have more to add to my list, both from this post and the many recommendations in the comments!
This makes me so happy, Audrey! Reading has truly been a lifelong love of mine and something I’ve only grown to appreciate even more since having kids since it feels like a gift to myself at the end of every day. <3
Started reading some Christina Lauren novels after your recs and loving them all so far! 🙂
Their latest novel just came out this week! Can’t wait to read it!
Would you consider adding breezy beach reads with lgbtqia? Representation too. The Charm Offensive, big summer and love & other disasters were all good “beach read” type books.
I think you’d like Hannah Orenstein too. Playing with matches and head over heels were my faves. Kristy Woodson Harvey and Abby Jimenez friend zone series are great too. For Abby Life’s too short is my favorite but read them in order. For Kristy I loved them all. Peach tree bluff is becoming a show but the stand-alone are good too! Not exactly a beach read but my favorite book I’ve read all year us wish you were here by Jodi picoult. It is about the covid19 pandemic so it may not interest you. But, it didn’t bother me at all. I also just finished Every Summer Aftrr by Carly Fortune reminded me of love and other words. You might also like how to save a life by Eva carter. I LOVED One Italian Summer by Rebecca serle but it has mixed reviews. Too many recs lol I need to tackle some of your historical fiction recs. Not my face as I’m sure you can tell!