Cape May by Chip Cheek
New love is explored on the sophisticated boardwalks of Cape May, New Jersey. Newlyweds Henry and Effie honeymoon in Cape May, holiday destination of Effie’s childhood. Their honeymoon is tainted with the reality that Effie’s new memories here do not compare with the magic of her childhood memories and Cape May, in all its glamour and 1950s style, is constructing an impassable gulf between them. Enter Clara into the narrative. In she sweeps with infectious laughter, spontaneity, sexuality and confidence pouring from her. This transfers to all characters in the book until a dangerous, carefree air descends on Cape May and the boardwalk is their playground. Highly recommended summer read for the beach, it is an easy read but it packs a big punch in terms of subject matter. You will love the characters and especially the setting.
Echoes of Grace by Caragh Bell
Aurora Sinclair plays with her dolls quietly in her house, an impressive yet lonely house near the wild winds of the ocean. Aurora is beautiful and gentle and quiet, a doll like figure in a doll like house. The death of her mother covers the house in a shroud, until her father marries Gloria, thus joining the two families. The book unfolds before the reader of the transformation of a little girl who has been cushioned and cocooned from life, to the metamorphic power of love, whereupon her character grows and strengthens and shines from every page. A key voice in Irish writing, Caragh Bell breaks social barriers in this book and paints a love that is impossible not to be lost in. The beauty of this book is the strength of each female character; a beautiful holiday read to lift the mood.
The Other Half of Augusta Hope by Joanna Glen
Joanna Glen’s debut novel follows Augusta Hope, who always feels on the edge, like she doesn’t fit into the stereotype of what is accepted. Her twin sister Julia embodies that essence of acceptance, while being careful to support Augusta without question. A relationship takes Julia away from Augusta and, bereft, she commits herself to learning all that she can about Burundi, her favourite country. Augusta seeks freedom through words, poetry and information, all of which take her away from her mundane English town. A dual narrative emerges of war torn Burundi where young Parfait dreams of a better life; running parallel to Augusta who dreams of a different way of living. This is not necessarily a light-hearted read but this will keep you riveted and interested and will force you to consider the reality of war and those at the heart of it. That war is not always political, sometimes we are at war with ourselves.
Dymphna Nugent blogs at The Book Nook on Facebook