Looking for your next book club pick? Get into the warm and breezy summer spirit by choosing one of these nine extraordinarily pleasant book club favorites. Packed with laughs, magic, and soaring insights, each of these books is sure to both delight and enlighten. From resilient female friendships to unexpected romances, enchanting mysteries to sweeping quests, these plots will have everyone excited for a fun and lively discussion. And a glass of wine, of course.
During WWII, teenaged Hazel and her younger sister, Flora, are sent to a small village to escape London. They fill their time with games of make-believe in the woods until Flora goes missing. After years of blaming herself for her sister’s disappearance, Hazel receives a mysterious book, one that seems to know all the secrets of that long-ago world she invented to keep her sister entertained. Now, Hazel must follow the plot of the book to potentially discover what really happened to her sister. This whimsical story will enchant readers with its fairy tale–esque feel.
When a woman discovers a rare book with connections to her past, long-held secrets about her missing sister and their childhood in the English countryside during World War II are revealed in this “beguiling blend of hope, mystery, and true familial love” (Sadeqa Johnson, New York Times bestselling author).
In the war-torn London of 1939, fourteen-year-old Hazel and five-year-old Flora are evacuated to a rural village to escape the horrors of the Second World War. Living with the kind Bridie Aberdeen and her teenage son, Harry, in a charming stone cottage along the River Thames, Hazel fills their days with walks and games to distract her young sister, including one that she creates for her sister and her sister alone—a fairy tale about a magical land, a secret place they can escape to that is all their own.
But the unthinkable happens when young Flora suddenly vanishes while playing near the banks of the river. Shattered, Hazel blames herself for her sister’s disappearance, and she carries that guilt into adulthood as a private burden she feels she deserves.
Twenty years later, Hazel is in London, ready to move on from her job at a cozy rare bookstore to a career at Sotheby’s. With a charming boyfriend and her elegantly timeworn Bloomsbury flat, Hazel’s future seems determined. But her tidy life is turned upside down when she unwraps a package containing an illustrated book called Whisperwood and the River of Stars. Hazel never told a soul about the imaginary world she created just for Flora. Could this book hold the secrets to Flora’s disappearance? Could it be a sign that her beloved sister is still alive after all these years?
As Hazel embarks on a feverish quest, revisiting long-dormant relationships and bravely opening wounds from her past, her career and future hang in the balance. Spellbinding and atmospheric, “this heartrending, captivating tale of family, first love, and fate will sweep you away” (Kristin Harmel, New York Times bestselling author).
Advertising copywriter Kate thinks that she’s settled down into her unexceptional life in Dublin. But when her great-great-aunt dies, Kate learns that to inherit the estate, she must publish a seven-part series of poems that her great-great aunt wrote called “The Seven Steps,” all about the existence of fairies. Despite Kate’s attempts to publish them under the radar, the poems explode in popularity, inspiring rock songs and fairy fan clubs alike. But as the poems get darker, Kate wonders if her new reputation as a minor celebrity is worth what she’s unleashing on the world in this lighthearted and humorous debut.
In the spirit of Cecelia Ahearn and Regina McBride, a lighthearted and relatable debut novel about an advertising copywriter who upends her ordinary life and captures the attention of the world after publishing a seven-part treatise on the existence of fairies.
Kate McDaid thought that going to the reading of her great-great-aunt’s will would be just another non-event in her ordinary life. A junior copywriter at an advertising agency in Dublin, she was used to spending her days wrangling clients, over-indulging in chocolatey products, and whiling away nights at the pub with her best friends, using her trusty bicycle to get around town. Instead, Kate finds out that the will and her aunt (also known as the Red Witch of Knocknamee) dictates that Kate must publish a series of strange poems called “The Seven Steps” under her own name in order to inherit the rest of her aunt’s estate.
And those poems? They’re a mysterious treatise on the importance and existence of fairies…
Kate decides to publish the Steps on a friend’s website, thinking that the low traffic on the site would let her posts go unnoticed. She never could have imagined that in a matter of days, she would find herself a local celebrity with her own group of devotees and the target of a mysterious and glamorous newspaper reporter. Even Dublin’s rock-and-roll sweetheart—and Kate’s onetime fling—writes a song inspired by the Steps.
While the Steps strike a chord across Ireland and the world, Kate takes the message to heart. But as the tone of each Step moves from free-spirited to sinister, Kate must decide if she will go through with publishing all seven Steps—or protect humankind from an ancient evil.
Infused with just enough magic and everyday familiarity that anyone can relate to, this fantastic debut is a page-turner with the perfect mix of humor and mystery.
Bride-to-be Georgia returns to her family’s vineyard after uncovering a shocking secret her fiancé has been keeping from her. But when she arrives, she finds that her brothers, parents, and the family business are all struggling as well. It appears they’ve also been keeping a secret from her, forcing Georgia to wonder if she really knows anyone at all and what she can do to find a happily-ever-after in the midst of such a mess. Celebrate this fun and addictive novel by pairing it with a wine tasting for a perfectly pleasant book club discussion.
EIGHT HUNDRED GRAPES is escapist reading at its best because not only are there sun-dappled fields to picture, a dashing neighbor vying for Georgia’s attention, and behind-the-scenes winemaking (author Laura Dave took her wine research seriously!), there is also real heart.
There’s nothing quite like a book club book about a book club to get everyone in a good mood! IN A BOOK CLUB FAR AWAY follows Regina, Adelaide, and Sophie, three army wives–turned–best friends who are pulled apart by one major betrayal. Eight years later, Adelaide is forced to reach out to the other two when an emergency leaves her needing someone to watch her daughter. As the three women come together again, they will explore the wounds of their past and the strength of their friendship through the books they love.
From the author of Once Upon a Sunset and The Key to Happily Ever After comes a heartwarming and moving novel following three Army wives—estranged friends—who must overcome their differences when one of them is desperate for help.
Regina Castro, Adelaide Wilson-Chang, and Sophie Walden used to be best friends. As Army wives at Fort East, they bonded during their book club and soon became inseparable. But when an unimaginable betrayal happened amongst the group, the friendship abruptly ended, and they haven’t spoken since.
That’s why, eight years later, Regina and Sophie are shocked when they get a call for help from Adelaide. Adelaide’s husband is stationed abroad, and without any friends or family near her new home of Alexandria, Virginia, she has no one to help take care of her young daughter when she has to undergo emergency surgery. For the sake of an innocent child, Regina and Sophie reluctantly put their differences aside to help an old friend.
As the three women reunite, they must overcome past hurts and see if there’s any future for their friendship. Featuring Tif Marcelo’s signature “enchanting prose” (Amy E. Reichert, author of The Coincidence of Coconut Cake) and the books that brought them together in the first place, In a Book Club Far Away honors the immense power of female friendship and how love can defy time, distance, and all old wounds.
Rich, handsome, and charming, Farrell Covington, the son and heir to a powerful conservative empire, is able to get everything he wants. That is, until he falls in love with Nate Reminger, a nice Jewish boy and writer from New Jersey. As the two embark on a passionate and carefully managed lifelong affair, the world slowly changes around them. From exuberant lifestyles in 1970s NYC to groundbreaking political shifts, Farrell and Nate’s love story spans half a century in this humorous and affirming portrait of a relationship.
“A case study in elegant, honest tragicomedy…by the genuinely hilarious Paul Rudnick” (Gary Shteyngart, New York Times bestselling author) that follows the decades-long, rule-breaking romance between the son of one of America’s wealthiest families and a middle-class aspiring author.
Devastatingly handsome and insanely rich, Farrell Covington is capable of anything and impossible to resist. He’s a clear-eyed romantic, an aesthete but not a snob, self-indulgent yet wildly generous. As the son of one of the country’s most powerful and deeply conservative families, the world could be his. But when he falls for Nate Reminger, an aspiring writer from a nice Jewish family in Piscataway, New Jersey, the results are passionate and catastrophic.
Together, the two embark on a unique romance that spans half a century. They are inseparable—except for the many years when they are apart. Moving from the ivy-covered bastion of Yale to New York City, Los Angeles, and eventually all over the world, Farrell and Nate experience the tremendous upheaval and social change of the last fifty years. From the freedom of gay life in 1970s Manhattan to the Hollywood closet, the AIDS epidemic, and the profound strides of the LGBTQ+ movement, this witty and moving novel shows how the world changes around us while we’re busy doing other things.
Written with “engaging wit, side-eyed perceptiveness, and barbed elan” (Michael Chabon), this modern classic proves that style has its limits, love does not.
BROWN GIRLS is a unique invitation to reflect on your own coming-of-age story. In this one-of-a-kind debut, a chorus of girls growing up in Queens, New York, drift in and out of one another’s lives as they seek their own places in the world. Living in the same eclectic neighborhood, Nadira, Gabby, Trish, Angelique, Naz, and others blast through adolescence to the tune of Mariah Carey. But as their paths diverge and their bonds are tested, these girls must come to terms with the true meaning of friendship.
A poignant portrait of the ways America both inspires and haunts us, THIS TENDER LAND is a classic coming-of-age adventure story and a bighearted odyssey. During the Great Depression four homeless children set out on a journey down the Mississippi River. Odie, an orphan trapped at the Lincoln Indian Training School, escapes with his brother, his best friend, and a mysterious girl named Emmy. Together they embark on a journey of self-discovery that will uncover if there is a place left in America for them to call home.
For fans of Before We Were Yours and Where the Crawdads Sing, “a gripping, poignant tale swathed in both mythical and mystical overtones” (Bob Drury, New York Times bestselling author) that follows four orphans on a life-changing odyssey during the Great Depression, from the New York Times bestselling author of Ordinary Grace.
1932, Minnesota—the Lincoln School is a pitiless place where hundreds of Native American children, forcibly separated from their parents, are sent to be educated. It is also home to an orphan named Odie O’Banion, a lively boy whose exploits earn him the superintendent’s wrath. Forced to flee, he and his brother Albert, their best friend Mose, and a brokenhearted little girl named Emmy steal away in a canoe, heading for the mighty Mississippi and a place to call their own.
Over the course of one unforgettable summer, these four orphans will fly into the unknown and cross paths with others who are adrift, from struggling farmers and traveling faith healers to displaced families and lost souls of all kinds. With the feel of a modern classic, This Tender Land is an enthralling, big-hearted epic that is “more than a simple journey; it is a deeply satisfying odyssey, a quest in search of self and home” (Booklist).
In this runaway New York Times bestseller, chemist Elizabeth Zott works with a conservative group of all-male colleagues at the Hastings Research Institute. There, the cranky but brilliant Nobel Prize nominee Calvin Evans unexpectedly falls in love with her. But years later, Elizabeth finds herself a single mother and the star of a beloved cooking show. While Supper at Six seems to just be revolutionizing meals, Elizabeth is determined to use it to revolutionize the status quo for women, too, in this hilarious and astute novel, soon to be a show on Apple TV!
THE MIDNIGHT ROSE is an atmospheric and extraordinary adventure by internationally bestselling author Lucinda Riley. It’s 1911, and eleven-year-old Anahita becomes best friends with the impulsive Princess Indira, the daughter of Indian royalty. When, on the brink of war, Anahita accompanies the princess to England, she meets Donald Astbury, the heir to the Astbury Estate, and his conniving mother. Almost a century later, Rebecca, a young American movie star, begins filming a new project at the Astbury Estate, where Ari Malik, Anahita’s descendent, is looking for answers from his family’s past.
From the #1 international bestselling author of The Orchid House—an epic saga of two remarkable women and two love stories spanning the years from 1920s India to modern-day England.
Spanning four generations, The Midnight Rose sweeps from the glittering palaces of the great maharajas of India to the majestic stately homes of England, following the extraordinary life of a remarkable girl, Anahita Chaval, from 1911 to the present day . . .
In the heyday of the British Raj, eleven-year-old Anahita, from a noble but impoverished family, forms a lifelong friendship with the headstrong Princess Indira, the privileged daughter of Indian royalty. As the princess’s official companion, Anahita accompanies her friend to England just before the outbreak of WorldWar I. There, she meets young Donald Astbury—reluctant heir to the magnificent, remote Astbury Estate—and his scheming mother.
Ninety years later, Rebecca Bradley, a young American film star, has the world at her feet. But when her turbulent relationship with her equally famous boyfriend takes an unexpected turn, she’s relieved that her latest role, playing a 1920s debutante, will take her away from the glare of publicity to a distant corner of the English countryside. Shortly after filming begins at the now-crumbling Astbury Hall, Ari Malik, Anahita’s great-grandson, arrives unexpectedly, on a quest for his family’s past. What he and Rebecca discover begins to unravel the dark secrets that haunt the Astbury dynasty . . .
A multilayered, heartbreaking tale filled with unforgettable characters caught in the sweep of history, The Midnight Rose is Lucinda Riley at her most captivating and unforgettable.
Photo credit: iStock / Anastasiia Yanishevska