Summer Reads – Famous Five to Stephen King holiday cottages

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Summer Reads – Famous Five to Stephen King

Ed 05 July 2018

Disclaimer: Whilst every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information at the time of writing, please ensure you check carefully before making any decisions based on the contents within this article.

Stories set during the holidays

Do you still leave a space in your suitcase for some reading books when you head off on your holiday? If you do, we have some great suggestions for stories set on holiday or during the summer to enhance that unmistakable sunshine feeling.

Our selection comprises some new books and some well-loved classics from all genres. Whether you enjoy carefree popular fiction, horror, literary, crime or classic novels, there’s a suggestion for you. We’ve even compiled a short list for children and young adults to keep them occupied whilst you catch up on your own reading.

The Big Domain teamed up with Pan Macmillan to bring you the very best summer books that could inspire and enhance your next holidays. Most of these tales are set in Europe and a small number of them are set further afield, all with a wide appeal.

New for 2018

The Greek Escape by Karen Swan 

Greek Escape

For romantics looking for the lightest of holiday reads, Karen Swan’s novel The Greek Escape will definitely surpass your expectations. The story equivalent of a pleasant pop tune, this Greece-set tale of love amongst the olive groves is destined to be a carefree hit this summer.

Featured country - Greece

Secrets Under the Sun by Nadia Marks 

secrets under sun

Set in Cyprus, this romantic mystery is primed to intrigue and beguile holiday makers this summer. Make room in your carry-on luggage for this sun-drenched tale of friendship, family legacies and forbidden love in the Mediterranean.

Featured country - Cyprus

Under the Sun by Lottie Moggach

This intriguing novel promises to keep your pulse raising. With one eye on current political flashpoints it paints a deft picture of the life of an expat living in a Spanish holiday resort. Very much one for those who like their crime/thrillers to carry some emotional weight. It’s an ambitious and enthralling summer read.

Featured country - Spain

The Burning Chambers by Kate Mosse 

burning chamber

Kate Mosse is back with another astonishing historical drama set in 16th century France. Although it’s a stretch to include it in this list, the news of another page-turner by this author is reason enough to secure a copy before you head off on your next summer holiday. Fans of Labyrinth get in line.

Featured country - France

An Italian Holiday by Maeve Haran 

italian hols

Sometimes one item of light holiday reading doesn’t do the trick. An Italian Holiday is the perfect companion piece to The Greek Escape this frothy confection of love and romance on a Mediterranean holiday could be just the tonic you need to while away the hours on a poolside sunbed.

Featured country - Italy

Classics and old favourites

Bonjour Tristesse by Francoise Sagan

This classic French novella is the ultimate summer holiday read if you are seeking something literary. Sagan was 18 years old when she penned this succinct treatise on young love, confusion, desire and a dash of thwarted scheming.  Maybe you’ve already read this one, and you’re looking to revisit its unusual story once more. Recommended if you like Cruel Intentions / Les Liaisons dangereuses.

Featured countryFrance (The French Riviera)

On Chesil Beach by Ian McEwan

Is this Ian McEwan’s most enduring novel? Time will tell. Yet it’s still his most persuasive and with the recent film adaptation starring Saoirse Ronan, this tale of a honeymoon in Dorset on the titular beach is one of the best character studies of the 21st century. A slender page-turner, this one sets a gently persuasive challenge to anyone who chooses it for their holiday read this summer.

Featured countryEngland (Dorset)

It by Stephen King

Stephen King’s well-renowned doorstopper is really two books. Immortalised by the 1990s TV mini-series and now a two-parter Hollywood movie; It blends coming-of-age and endless summer story motifs with outright carnage and quieter creepy moments. You may even want to consider buying a large suitcase to fit this novel in when you take it on your next break.

Featured country - America

Famous Five Go Off in a Caravan by Enid Blyton

Famous by name, famous by nature, the Famous Five books are infinitely popular with young children. The fifth volume is about holidaying in England and is great fun to read to your kids or vice-versa. Classics like this never die, so share a memory by taking a copy of this along on your next summer break.

Featured country - England

The Summer Book (Sommarboken) by Tove Jansson

If any book encapsulates a summer break in the countryside it is Tove Jansson’s simple and transportive tale of a 6-year-old girl on holiday one summer visiting her grandmother. It takes place on a wooded island in the Gulf of Finland, where Jansson herself wrote her canon of bewitching books including The Moomins.

Featured country – Finland


Each new title is available via Pan Macmillan. You can also pick up all ten books at your local High Street bookshop.


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