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7 Glamorous Vacation Reads Set in Dream Destinations

May 25 2021
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Reading has a way of whisking me away on a brilliant adventure without my needing to leave the comfort of my home. Starry-eyed and longing for a summer escape, I immersed my mind in the glorious islands and cozy summer cottages in these seven books. From the dreamy shores of Cape Cod to the dazzling island of Capri, each story propelled my imagination to the most charming vacation spots. If you, like me, are more inclined to splurge on a stack of books than an airplane ticket, these books will provide you with the perfect picturesque bookcation.

Summer Darlings
by Brooke Lea Foster

Heddy Winsome spends her summer on the frivolous and fabulous island of Martha’s Vineyard. Of course, this comes with a catch: she’ll be working as a nanny for one of the wealthiest families in the neighborhood. Amid the allure and glamour of their captivating social circles, Heddy becomes absolutely enamored with her employers’ lifestyle. But as the summer goes on and Heddy tends to the family’s two mischievous children, she learns that no one she meets on this summer island is as picture-perfect as they seem. Bookmark your calendars for the Book Club Favorites Facebook Live discussion of this book on May 27!

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Summer Darlings
Brooke Lea Foster

“Filled with 1960s nostalgia and a host of deftly drawn characters” (Renée Rosen, author of Park Avenue Summer), Summer Darlings pulls back the curtain on one mysterious and wealthy family as seen through the eyes of their nanny—a college student who, while falling in love on Martha’s Vineyard, is also forced to reckon with the dark side of privilege.

In 1962, coed Heddy Winsome leaves her hardscrabble Irish Brooklyn neighborhood behind and ferries to glamorous Martha’s Vineyard to nanny for one of the wealthiest families on the island. But as she grows enamored with the alluring and seemingly perfect young couple and chases after their two mischievous children, Heddy discovers that her academic scholarship at Wellesley has been revoked, putting her entire future at risk.

Determined to find her place in the couple’s wealthy social circles, Heddy nurtures a romance with the hip surfer down the beach while wondering if the better man for her might be a quiet, studious college boy instead. But no one she meets on the summer island—socialite, starlet, or housekeeper—is as picture-perfect as they seem, and she quickly learns that the right last name and a house in a tony zip code may guarantee privilege, but that rarely equals happiness.

Praised as “a perfect summer book packed with posh people, glamor, mystery, and one clever, brave, young nanny” by New York Times bestselling author Nancy Thayer, Summer Darlings promises entrance to a rarefied world, for anyone who enjoyed Tigers in Red Weather or The Summer Wives.

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The Last Book Party
by Karen Dukess

THE LAST BOOK PARTY is set in both the bustling publishing world of 1980s New York and the brilliant beaches of Cape Cod. Eve Rosen is an aspiring writer growing up in the shadow of her genius brother. Unsure how to realize her professional ambitions, she jumps at the chance to attend a gathering at the Cape Cod home of the famous New Yorker writer Henry Grey and his poet wife, Tillie. This move proves to be a wise one when Eve lands a job as Henry’s research assistant and an invitation to the couple’s renowned Book Party. While this all sounds like a summer dream, by the night of the party Eve discovers some uncomfortable truths about the literary world.

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The Last Book Party
Karen Dukess

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The Seven Sisters
by Lucinda Riley

In this first book of Lucinda Riley’s Seven Sisters series, Maia D’Apliese and her five sisters gather at their family’s secluded castle on the shores of Lake Geneva—a breathtaking summer location. Against this gorgeous backdrop, the sisters are told that their adoptive father has passed away, and each sister is given a clue to her true heritage so that she may put her life’s story together. Maia’s clue takes her across the world to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. In this sweeping, epic tale, Maia uncovers the secrets of her past and learns that her life will never be the same again.

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The Seven Sisters
Lucinda Riley

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Sex and Vanity
by Kevin Kwan

The author of the bestselling novel CRAZY RICH ASIANS is back with a dazzling story set on the fabulous island of Capri. Lucie Churchill, daughter of an American-born Chinese mother and New York–native father, has always sublimated the Asian side of herself. But when she meets George Zao, she can’t help falling for him, though she adamantly denies it. Years later, when Lucie is weekending with her fiancé in East Hampton, George reenters her life, and Lucie finds herself infatuated with him all over again. Lies, family struggles, and a web of deceit soon follow. As Lucie attempts to deny George access to her privileged world, she can’t help but open up her heart. This is the modern love story readers have been waiting for, packed with comedy and romance.

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Sex and Vanity
Kevin Kwan

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MENTIONED IN:

7 Glamorous Vacation Reads Set in Dream Destinations

By Holly Claytor | May 25, 2021

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One Great Lie
by Deb Caletti

In ONE GREAT LIE, Charlotte’s dream comes true when she wins a scholarship to attend a writing workshop in the beautiful city of Venice. Not only will she spend her summer days in gorgeous Italy but she’ll also be studying under her idol, Luca Bruni. When Charlotte arrives, she discovers that Venice is beautiful, charming, and seductive—just like Bruni. But as the author’s behavior grows increasingly unnerving, Charlotte begins to unearth some unusual secrets. This stunning new YA story of romance, mystery, and strength will whisk you away to enchanting and historical Italy.

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One Great Lie
Deb Caletti

A compelling and atmospheric YA story of romance, mystery, and power about a young woman discovering her strength in lush, sultry Venice—from the Printz Honor–winning author of A Heart in a Body in the World.

When Charlotte wins a scholarship to a writing workshop in Venice with the charismatic and brilliant Luca Bruni, it’s a dream come true. Writing is her passion, she loves Bruni’s books, and going to that romantic and magical sinking city gives her the chance to solve a long-time family mystery about a Venetian poet deep in their lineage, Isabella Di Angelo, who just might be the real author of a very famous poem.

Bruni’s villa on the eerie island of La Calamita is extravagant—lush beyond belief, and the other students are both inspiring and intimidating. Venice itself is beautiful, charming, and seductive, but so is Luca Bruni. As his behavior becomes increasingly unnerving, and as Charlotte begins to unearth the long-lost work of Isabella with the help of sweet, smart Italian Dante, other things begin to rise, too—secrets about the past, and secrets about the present.

As the events of the summer build to a shattering climax, Charlotte will be forced to confront some dark truths about the history of powerful men—and about the determination of creative girls—in this stunning new novel from award-winning author Deb Caletti.

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MENTIONED IN:

7 Glamorous Vacation Reads Set in Dream Destinations

By Holly Claytor | May 25, 2021

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Big Summer
by Jennifer Weiner

Impromptu and glamorous vacations are always welcome. In BIG SUMMER, Daphne is a plus-size model building a life of self-confidence through her social following. She’s worked hard to build up her life online, so when an ex-best friend from her past knocks on her door, Daphne is entirely shocked. Although Drue and Daphne’s friendship ended in a blowout, Drue is back to ask Daphne for a massive favor. Would she stand as her maid of honor in her wedding? Letting Drue back into Daphne’s life is risky, but the request comes with a chance to spend a weekend at a Cape Cod mansion. How could she refuse?

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Big Summer
Jennifer Weiner

AN INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

“Sexy and satisfying, Big Summer is the perfect quarantine read.” —USA TODAY

“The beach read to end all beach reads.” —Entertainment Weekly

“Big fun, and then some. It’s empowering and surprising—a reminder to put down the phone and enjoy each moment for what it is.” —The Washington Post

A deliciously funny, remarkably poignant, and simply unputdownable novel about the power of friendship, the lure of frenemies, and the importance of making peace with yourself through all life’s ups and downs. From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Good in Bed and Best Friends Forever, Big Summer is the perfect escape with one of the most lovable heroines to come to the page in years.

Six years after the fight that ended their friendship, Daphne Berg is shocked when Drue Cavanaugh walks back into her life, looking as lovely and successful as ever, with a massive favor to ask. Daphne hasn’t spoken one word to Drue in all this time—she doesn’t even hate-follow her ex-best friend on social media—so when Drue asks if she will be her maid-of-honor at the society wedding of the summer, Daphne is rightfully speechless.

Drue was always the one who had everything—except the ability to hold onto friends. Meanwhile, Daphne’s no longer the same self-effacing sidekick she was back in high school. She’s built a life that she loves, including a growing career as a plus-size Instagram influencer. Letting glamorous, seductive Drue back into her life is risky, but it comes with an invitation to spend a weekend in a waterfront Cape Cod mansion. When Drue begs and pleads and dangles the prospect of cute single guys, Daphne finds herself powerless as ever to resist her friend’s siren song.

A sparkling novel about the complexities of female relationships, the pitfalls of living out loud and online, and the resilience of the human heart, Big Summer is a witty, moving story about family, friendship, and figuring out what matters most.

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The House on Willow Street
by Cathy Kelly

Cathy Kelly’s novel THE HOUSE ON WILLOW STREET is set in the Irish seaside town of Avalon—a quaint and adorable tourist’s dream. The Power family has held on to Avalon House for generations, but now Tess Power is left watching the mansion crumble as she waits for a new owner to arrive. Tess’s life is in shambles—a rocky marriage and a floundering business, paired with the demise of her family’s home—but her love for the town of Avalon never wavers. Her sister, Suki, on the other hand, has left the seaside town and never looked back. Until, that is, a biographer comes into the picture and sends her running back to Ireland to escape a scandal. Stories about the women in this family are woven together as the seasons unfold, telling the tale of this picturesque village.

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The House on Willow Street
Cathy Kelly

Set in an idyllic village named Avalon, a warm and wonderful new novel from Ireland’s #1 bestselling author.

 #1 international bestselling author Cathy Kelly’s writing is “warm, lyrical, and fascinating” (Marian Keyes) and “rich with the emerald allure of the Irish landscape” (Publishers Weekly). In The House on Willow Street, four women discover that home isn’t where you come from, but where you are meant to be. . . .

Every picture-perfect village tells a story. . . .

The Irish seaside town of Avalon is a tourist’s dream of quaint shops and welcoming cafés. Avalon House, perched at the end of Willow Street, was in Tess Power’s family for generations. Now Tess ekes out a living from her antiques shop while the crumbling mansion awaits a new owner. Her marriage and business may be floundering, but her affection for Avalon is undimmed. The same can’t be said of her glamorous sister. Suki left without a backward glance and married into an American political dynasty. Only a muckraking biographer could send her slinking back to Ireland to escape a scandal.

Postmistress Danae watches from the sidelines, doling out gentle advice while locking away her own secrets. Then her unconventional niece Mara comes to stay and draws her lonely aunt back into the world. As autumn gives way to winter, the four women encounter old loves, embrace new friendships, and begin to look beyond the past to the possibilities just beginning to unfold.

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MENTIONED IN:

7 Glamorous Vacation Reads Set in Dream Destinations

By Holly Claytor | May 25, 2021

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Photo credit: iStock / eternalcreative

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