A perfect summer read which reminds the reader that there are delightful spots to be found in London as well as the Mediterranean during a long hot summer. In the case of this novel, the Hampstead ponds which is where Struan, fresh out of Scotland, takes his invalid charge, writer Philip. The more Struan becomes involved with Philip’s extended family, the more baffled he becomes by the English. This books is refreshingly witty and full of individuals that we warm to alongside Struan.
Around the World with Auntie Mame – Patrick Dennis
Anyone who read the first Auntie Mame will know that she is the perfect person to spend holiday time with. This book is even better than the first if that is possible as Mame drags her nephew around Europe charming London aristocracy, performing with the Folies Bergeres and outwitting Austrian Nazis. Just so much fun.
My Brilliant Friend – Elena Ferrante
I think I have recommended this book before but am doing so again because it has been such a hit with us all in the shop and agency and with all the customers we have pressed it on. Also, the third book in the trilogy is due out this autumn and we can barely contain our excitement. It is also perfect summer reading as it is set in Naples just after the second world war and centres on the friendship of Elena and Lila from childhood, through school, relationships, marriage, children and good and bad times.
The Count of Monte Cristo – Alexander Dumas
I think holidays are a great time to read a big classic and for months now I have been dreaming of re-reading The Count of Monte Cristo which has everything you need for the most enthralling read – love, hate, betrayal, revenge, the sea, treasure – just a fantastic book.
The Narrow Road to the Deep North – Richard Flanagan
I am recommending this book but not necessarily as a summer read. It has just been published and I think it is the best book I have read this year. It tells the story of an Australian doctor who serves three years as a POW working on the Burma Death Railway. The book is almost unbearable at times and it is incredible that Flanagan has found the prose to put such suffering into words. However, it is also a love story, a contemplation of goodness and a most moving and compassionate tale of the effects of war on ordinary people that deserves a very wide audience. lutyensrubinstein