Fed up with boring routines and looking for the perfect escape? While spring break can be an excellent time to sit back, relax, and unwind in your favorite vacation spot, if you’re a bookworm, chances are that your dream destination is actually just a book away. With this roundup of truly good beach reads 2018, you’ll feel like you’re on a holiday from every day life — whether you have a vacation or not! Publishers’ descriptions below.
Sisters Like Us by Susan Mallery
The grass is always greener on your sister’s side of the fence…
Divorce left Harper Szymanski with a name no one can spell, a house she can’t afford and a teenage daughter who’s pulling away. With her fledgling virtual-assistant business, she’s scrambling to maintain her overbearing mother’s ridiculous Susie Homemaker standards and still pay the bills, thanks to clients like Lucas, the annoying playboy cop who claims he hangs around for Harper’s fresh-baked cookies.
Spending half her life in school hasn’t prepared Dr. Stacey Bloom for her most daunting challenge — motherhood. She didn’t inherit the nurturing gene like Harper and is in deep denial that a baby is coming. Worse, her mother will be horrified to learn that Stacey’s husband plans to be a stay-at-home dad… assuming Stacey can first find the courage to tell Mom she’s already six months pregnant.
Separately they may be a mess, but together Harper and Stacey can survive anything — their indomitable mother, overwhelming maternity stores and ex’s weddings. Sisters Like Us is a delightful look at sisters, mothers and daughters in today’s fast-paced world, told with Susan Mallery’s trademark warmth and humor.
The Family Next Door by Sally Hepworth
Small, perfect towns often hold the deepest secrets.
From the outside, Essie’s life looks idyllic: a loving husband, a beautiful house in a good neighborhood, and a nearby mother who dotes on her grandchildren. But few of Essie’s friends know her secret shame: that in a moment of maternal despair, she once walked away from her newborn, asleep in her carriage in a park. Disaster was avoided and Essie got better, but she still fears what lurks inside her, even as her daughter gets older and she has a second baby.
When a new woman named Isabelle moves in next door to Essie, she is an immediate object of curiosity in the neighborhood. Why single, when everyone else is married with children? Why renting, when everyone else owns? What mysterious job does she have? And why is she so fascinated with Essie? As the two women grow closer and Essie’s friends voice their disapproval, it starts to become clear that Isabelle’s choice of neighborhood was no accident. And that her presence threatens to bring shocking secrets to light.
The Family Next Door is Sally Hepworth at her very best: at once a deeply moving portrait of family drama and a compelling suburban mystery that will keep you hooked until the very last page.
Surprise Me by Sophie Kinsella
A witty and emotionally charged novel that delves into the heart of a marriage, and how those we love and think we know best can sometimes surprise us the most — from #1 New York Times bestselling author Sophie Kinsella
After ten years together, Sylvie and Dan have a comfortable home, fulfilling jobs, and beautiful twin girls, and they communicate so seamlessly they finish each other’s sentences. They have a happy marriage and believe they know everything there is to know about each other. Until it’s casually mentioned to them that they could be together for another sixty-eight years… and panic sets in.
They decide to bring surprises into their marriage to keep it fresh and fun. But in their pursuit of Project Surprise Me — from unexpected gifts to restaurant dates to sexy photo shoots — mishaps arise, with disastrous and comical results. Gradually, surprises turn to shocking truths. And when a scandal from the past is uncovered, they begin to wonder if they ever really knew each other at all.
With a colorful cast of eccentric characters, razor-sharp observations, and her signature wit and charm, Sophie Kinsella presents a humorous yet moving portrait of a marriage — its intricacies, comforts, and complications. Surprise Me reveals that hidden layers in a close relationship are often yet to be discovered.
The Woman in the Window by A. J. Finn
For readers of Gillian Flynn and Tana French comes one of the decade’s most anticipated debuts, to be published in 36 languages around the world and already in development as a major film from Fox: a twisty, powerful Hitchcockian thriller about an agoraphobic woman who believes she witnessed a crime in a neighboring house.
It isn’t paranoia if it’s really happening…
Anna Fox lives alone — a recluse in her New York City home, unable to venture outside. She spends her day drinking wine (maybe too much), watching old movies, recalling happier times… and spying on her neighbors.
Then the Russells move into the house across the way: a father, a mother, their teenage son. The perfect family. But when Anna, gazing out her window one night, sees something she shouldn’t, her world begins to crumble — and its shocking secrets are laid bare.
What is real? What is imagined? Who is in danger? Who is in control? In this diabolically gripping thriller, no one — and nothing — is what it seems.
Twisty and powerful, ingenious and moving, The Woman in the Window is a smart, sophisticated novel of psychological suspense that recalls the best of Hitchcock.
Now That You Mention It by Kristan Higgins
New York Times bestselling author Kristan Higgins welcomes you home in this witty, emotionally charged novel about the complications of life, love and family
One step forward. Two steps back. The Tufts scholarship that put Nora Stuart on the path to becoming a Boston medical specialist was a step forward. Being hit by a car and then overhearing her boyfriend hit on another doctor when she thought she was dying? Two major steps back.
Injured in more ways than one, Nora feels her carefully built life cracking at the edges. There’s only one place to land: home. But the tiny Maine community she left fifteen years ago doesn’t necessarily want her. At every turn, someone holds the prodigal daughter of Scupper Island responsible for small-town drama and big-time disappointments.
With a tough islander mother who’s always been distant, a wild-child sister in jail and a withdrawn teenage niece as eager to ditch the island as Nora once was, Nora has her work cut out for her if she’s going to take what might be her last chance to mend the family. Balancing loss and opportunity, dark events from her past with hope for the future, Nora will discover that tackling old pain makes room for promise…and the chance to begin again.
Still Me by Jojo Moyes
Louisa Clark arrives in New York ready to start a new life, confident that she can embrace this new adventure and keep her relationship with Ambulance Sam alive across several thousand miles. She is thrown into the world of the superrich Gopniks: Leonard and his much younger second wife, Agnes, and a never-ending array of household staff and hangers-on. Lou is determined to get the most out of the experience and throws herself into her job and New York life within this privileged world.
Before she knows what’s happening, Lou is mixing in New York high society, where she meets Joshua Ryan, a man who brings with him a whisper of her past. In Still Me, as Lou tries to keep the two sides of her world together, she finds herself carrying secrets — not all her own — that cause a catastrophic change in her circumstances. And when matters come to a head, she has to ask herself Who is Louisa Clark? And how do you reconcile a heart that lives in two places?
Sunburn by Laura Lippman
New York Times bestselling author Laura Lippman returns with a superb novel of psychological suspense about a pair of lovers with the best intentions and the worst luck: two people locked in a passionate yet uncompromising game of cat and mouse. But instead of rules, this game has dark secrets, forbidden desires, inevitable betrayals — and cold-blooded murder.
One is playing a long game. But which one?
They meet at a local tavern in the small town of Belleville, Delaware. Polly is set on heading west. Adam says he’s also passing through. Yet she stays and he stays — drawn to this mysterious redhead whose quiet stillness both unnerves and excites him. Over the course of a punishing summer, Polly and Adam abandon themselves to a steamy, inexorable affair. Still, each holds something back from the other — dangerous, even lethal, secrets.
Then someone dies. Was it an accident, or part of a plan? By now, Adam and Polly are so ensnared in each other’s lives and lies that neither one knows how to get away — or even if they want to. Is their love strong enough to withstand the truth, or will it ultimately destroy them?
Something — or someone — has to give.
Which one will it be?
Two Steps Forward by Graeme Simsion and Anne Buist
From the New York Times bestselling author of The Rosie Project comes a story of taking chances and learning to love again as two people, one mourning her husband and the other recovering from divorce, cross paths on the centuries-old Camino pilgrimage from France to Spain.
“The Chemin will change you. It changes everyone…”
The Chemin, also known as the Camino de Santiago, is a centuries-old pilgrim route that ends in Santiago de Compostela in northwest Spain. Every year, thousands of walkers — some devout, many not — follow the route that wends through quaint small villages and along busy highways alike, a journey unlike any other.
Zoe, an artist from California who’s still reeling from her husband’s sudden death, has impulsively decided to walk the Camino, hoping to find solace and direction. Martin, an engineer from England, is road-testing a cart of his own design… and recovering from a messy divorce. They begin in the same French town, each uncertain of what the future holds. Zoe has anticipated the physical difficulties of her trek, but she is less prepared for other challenges, as strangers and circumstances force her to confront not just recent loss, but long-held beliefs. For Martin, the pilgrimage is a test of his skills and endurance but also, as he and Zoe grow closer, of his willingness to trust others — and himself — again.
Smart and funny, insightful and romantic, Two Steps Forward reveals that the most important journeys we make aren’t measured in miles, but in the strength, wisdom, and love found along the way. Fans of The Rosie Project will recognize Graeme Simsion’s uniquely quirky and charming writing style.
I’ll Be Your Blue Sky by Marisa de los Santos
The New York Times bestselling author revisits the characters from her beloved novels Love Walked In and Belong to Me in this captivating, beautifully written drama involving family, friendship, secrets, sacrifice, courage, and true love for fans of Jojo Moyes, Elin Hilderbrand, and Nancy Thayer.
On the weekend of her wedding, Clare Hobbes meets an elderly woman named Edith Herron. During the course of a single conversation, Edith gives Clare the courage to do what she should have done months earlier: break off her engagement to her charming — yet overly possessive — fiancée.
Three weeks later, Clare learns that Edith has died — and has given her another gift. Nestled in crepe myrtle and hydrangea and perched at the marshy edge of a bay in a small seaside town in Delaware, Blue Sky House now belongs to Clare. Though the former guest house has been empty for years, Clare feels a deep connection to Edith inside its walls, which are decorated with old photographs taken by Edith and her beloved husband, Joseph.
Exploring the house, Clare finds two mysterious ledgers hidden beneath the kitchen sink. Edith, it seems, was no ordinary woman — and Blue Sky House no ordinary place. With the help of her mother, Viviana, her surrogate mother, Cornelia Brown, and her former boyfriend and best friend, Dev Tremain, Clare begins to piece together the story of Blue Sky House — a decades-old mystery more complex and tangled than she could have imagined. As she peels back the layers of Edith’s life, Clare discovers a story of dark secrets, passionate love, heartbreaking sacrifice, and incredible courage. She also makes startling discoveries about herself: where she’s come from, where she’s going, and what — and who — she loves.
Shifting between the 1950s and the present and told in the alternating voices of Edith and Clare, I’ll Be Your Blue Sky is vintage Marisa de los Santos — an emotionally evocative novel that probes the deepest recesses of the human heart and illuminates the tender connections that bind our lives.
Indecent by Corinne Sullivan
Blurring the lines of blame and moral ambiguity, Indecent by Corinne Sullivan is a smart, sexy debut.
Shy, introverted Imogene Abney has always been fascinated by the elite world of prep schools, having secretly longed to attend one since she was a girl in Buffalo, New York. So, shortly after her college graduation, when she’s offered a teaching position at the Vandenberg School for Boys, an all-boys prep school in Westchester, New York, she immediately accepts, despite having little teaching experience–and very little experience with boys.
When Imogene meets handsome, popular Adam Kipling a few weeks into her tenure there, a student who exudes charm and status and ease, she’s immediately drawn to him. Who is this boy who flirts with her without fear of being caught? Who is this boy who seems immune to consequences and worry; a boy for whom the world will always provide?
As an obsessive, illicit affair begins between them, Imogene is so lost in the haze of first love that she’s unable to recognize the danger she’s in. The danger of losing her job. The danger of losing herself in the wrong person. The danger of being caught doing something possibly illegal and so indecent.
Exploring issues of class, sex, and gender, this smart, sexy debut by Corrine Sullivan shatters the black-and-white nature of victimhood, taking a close look at blame and moral ambiguity.
The Wedding Date by Jasmine Guillory
A groomsman and his last-minute guest are about to discover if a fake date can go the distance in this fun and flirty debut novel.
Agreeing to go to a wedding with a guy she gets stuck with in an elevator is something Alexa Monroe wouldn’t normally do. But there’s something about Drew Nichols that’s too hard to resist.
On the eve of his ex’s wedding festivities, Drew is minus a plus one. Until a power outage strands him with the perfect candidate for a fake girlfriend…
After Alexa and Drew have more fun than they ever thought possible, Drew has to fly back to Los Angeles and his job as a pediatric surgeon, and Alexa heads home to Berkeley, where she’s the mayor’s chief of staff. Too bad they can’t stop thinking about the other…
They’re just two high-powered professionals on a collision course toward the long distance dating disaster of the century — or closing the gap between what they think they need and what they truly want…
The Wife Between Us by Greer Hendricks & Sarah Pekkanen
When you read this book, you will make many assumptions.
You will assume you are reading about a jealous ex-wife.
You will assume she is obsessed with her replacement — a beautiful, younger woman who is about to marry the man they both love.
You will assume you know the anatomy of this tangled love triangle.
Twisted and deliciously chilling, Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen’s The Wife Between Us exposes the secret complexities of an enviable marriage — and the dangerous truths we ignore in the name of love.
Read between the lies.
As You Wish by Jude Deveraux
New York Times bestselling author Jude Deveraux returns with the highly anticipated third installment in her beloved Summerhouse series, where three women have the coveted opportunity to answer the age-old question: What would you do differently if you could do it all again?
One fateful summer, three very different women find themselves together in Summer Hill, Virginia, where they find they have much more in common than they realized…
Sixty-year-old Olivia’s first marriage was long and unhappy, but now she is a newlywed, thrilled to finally be starting her life with the man she’s always truly loved — even if they are getting a late start. Kathy is in her forties and married to a handsome, successful businessman. Theirs would be a fairy-tale romance if it weren’t for one problem: He’s passionately in love with someone else! Twenty-something Elise is also in a troubled marriage, stuck with the man her wealthy parents chose for her. Now that he has a pregnant mistress, he seems willing to go to drastic lengths to take Elise out of the picture.
Though each of them wound up at the Summerhouse for separate reason, it’s not long before they begin to open up about their regrets, their wishes and their dreams. And when they’re presented with the opportunity of a lifetime — a chance to right the wrongs of their past—all three discover what can happen when dreams really do come true.
A heartfelt, magical tale, As You Wish is a shining example of Jude Deveraux’s enchanting storytelling that will charm longtime fans and delight a new generation of readers.
By the Book by Julia Sonneborn
An English professor struggling for tenure discovers that her ex-fiancé has just become the president of her college–and her new boss–in this whip-smart modern retelling of Jane Austen’s classic Persuasion.
Anne Corey is about to get schooled.
An English professor in California, she’s determined to score a position on the coveted tenure track at her college. All she’s got to do is get a book deal, snag a promotion, and boom! She’s in. But then Adam Martinez–her first love and ex-fiancé–shows up as the college’s new president.
Anne should be able to keep herself distracted. After all, she’s got a book to write, an aging father to take care of, and a new romance developing with the college’s insanely hot writer-in-residence. But no matter where she turns, there’s Adam, as smart and sexy as ever. As the school year advances and her long-buried feelings begin to resurface, Anne begins to wonder whether she just might get a second chance at love.
Funny, smart, and full of heart, this modern ode to Jane Austen’s classic explores what happens when we run into the demons of our past…and when they turn out not to be so bad, after all.
The Perfect Nanny by Leila Slimani
She has the keys to their apartment. She knows everything. She has embedded herself so deeply in their lives that it now seems impossible to remove her.
When Myriam, a French-Moroccan lawyer, decides to return to work after having children, she and her husband look for the perfect nanny for their two young children. They never dreamed they would find Louise: a quiet, polite, devoted woman who sings to the children, cleans the family’s chic apartment in Paris’s upscale tenth arrondissement, stays late without complaint, and hosts enviable kiddie parties. But as the couple and the nanny become more dependent on one another, jealousy, resentment, and suspicions mount, shattering the idyllic tableau. Building tension with every page, The Perfect Nanny is a compulsive, riveting, bravely observed exploration of power, class, race, domesticity, and motherhood — and the American debut of an immensely talented writer.
Fall From Grace by Danielle Steel
Sydney Wells’s perfect life with her wealthy, devoted husband vanishes when he dies suddenly in an accident. Widowed at forty-nine, she discovers he has failed to include her in his will. With Andrew’s vicious daughters in control of his estate, and no home or money, Sydney finds a job in fashion, despite her own designer daughters’ warnings. Naïve, out of her element, and alone in a world of shady international deals and dishonest people, she is set up by her boss and finds herself faced with criminal prosecution.
What happens when you lose everything? Husband, safety, protection, money, and reputation gone, faced with prison, Sydney must rebuild her life from the bottom to the top again, with honor, resourcefulness, and dignity. Sydney finds herself, as well as courage and resilience. Taking life by the horns, she revives her own career as a talented designer, from New York to Hong Kong, risking all in an exotic, unfamiliar world. She is determined to forge a new life she can be proud of.
The Chalk Man by C. J. Tudor
A riveting and relentlessly compelling psychological suspense debut that weaves a mystery about a childhood game gone dangerously awry, and will keep readers guessing right up to the shocking ending.
In 1986, Eddie and his friends are just kids on the verge of adolescence. They spend their days biking around their sleepy English village and looking for any taste of excitement they can get. The chalk men are their secret code: little chalk stick figures they leave for one another as messages only they can understand. But then a mysterious chalk man leads them right to a dismembered body, and nothing is ever the same.
In 2016, Eddie is fully grown, and thinks he’s put his past behind him. But then he gets a letter in the mail, containing a single chalk stick figure. When it turns out that his friends got the same message, they think it could be a prank… until one of them turns up dead.
That’s when Eddie realizes that saving himself means finally figuring out what really happened all those years ago.
Expertly alternating between flashbacks and the present day, The Chalk Man is the very best kind of suspense novel, one where every character is wonderfully fleshed out and compelling, where every mystery has a satisfying payoff, and where the twists will shock even the savviest reader.
Whiskey and Ribbons by Leesa Cross-Smith
Set in contemporary Louisville, Leesa Cross-Smith’s mesmerizing first novel surrounding the death of a police officer is a requiem for marriage, friendship and family, from an author Roxane Gay has called “a consummate storyteller.”
Evi—a classically-trained ballerina—was nine months pregnant when her husband Eamon was killed in the line of duty on a steamy morning in July. Now, it is winter, and Eamon’s adopted brother Dalton has moved in to help her raise six-month-old Noah.
Whiskey & Ribbons is told in three intertwining, melodic voices: Evi in present day, as she’s snowed in with Dalton during a freak blizzard; Eamon before his murder, as he prepares for impending fatherhood and grapples with the danger of his profession; and Dalton, as he struggles to make sense of his life next to Eamon’s, and as he decides to track down the biological father he’s never known.
In the vein of Jojo Moyes’ After You, Whiskey & Ribbons explores the life that continues beyond loss, with a complicated brotherly dynamic reminiscent of Elizabeth Strout’s The Burgess Boys. It’s a meditation on grief, hope, motherhood, brotherhood and surrogate fatherhood. Above all, it’s a novel about what it means—and whether it’s possible—to heal.
A Nantucket Wedding by Nancy Thayer
A few years after losing her beloved husband, Alison is doing something she never thought she would do again: getting married. While placing the finishing touches on her summer nuptials, Alison is anxious to introduce her fiancé, David, to her grown daughters: Felicity, a worried married mother of two, and Jane, also married but focused on her career. The sisters have a somewhat distant relationship and Alison hopes that the wedding and the weeks leading up to the ceremony will give the siblings a chance to reconnect, as well as meet and get to know David’s grown children.
As the summer progresses, it is anything but smooth sailing. Felicity stumbles upon a terrible secret that could shatter her carefully cultivated world. Jane finds herself under the spell of her soon-to-be stepbrother, Ethan, who is as charming as he is mysterious. And even Alison is surprised (and slightly alarmed) by her new blended family. Revelations, intrigue, resentments—as the Big Day approaches, will the promise of bliss be a bust?
Against the gorgeous backdrop of the sunswept island of Nantucket, Nancy Thayer sets the stage for a walk down the aisle no one will ever forget.
Release date: April 3
The Family Gathering by Robyn Carr
An exceptional storyteller, #1 New York Times bestselling author Robyn Carr beautifully captures the emotionally charged, complex dynamics that come with being part of any family. Readers will laugh and shed a few tears as they discover what it means to be loved, supported and accepted by the people who mean the most.
Having left the military, Dakota Jones is at a crossroads in his life. With his elder brother and youngest sister happily settled in Sullivan’s Crossing, he shows up hoping to clear his head before moving on to his next adventure. But, like every visitor to the Crossing, he’s immediately drawn to the down-to-earth people and the seemingly simple way of life.
Dakota is unprepared for how quickly things get complicated. As a newcomer, he is on everyone’s radar–especially the single women in town. While he enjoys the attention at first, he’s really only attracted to the one woman who isn’t interested. And spending quality time with his siblings is eye-opening. As he gets to know them, he also gets to know himself and what he truly wants.
When all the Jones siblings gather for a family wedding, the four adults are drawn together for the first time in a way they never were as children. As they struggle to accept each other, warts and all, the true nature and strength of their bond is tested. But all of them come to realize that your family are the people who see you for who you really are and love you anyway. And for Dakota, that truth allows him to find the home and family he’s always wanted.
Release date: April 17
The Husband Hour by Jamie Brenner
When a young widow’s reclusive life in a charming beach town is interrupted by a surprise visitor, she is forced to reckon with dark secrets about her family, her late husband, and the past she tried to leave behind.
Lauren Adelman and her high school sweetheart, Rory Kincaid, are a golden couple. They marry just out of college as Rory, a star hockey player, earns a spot in the NHL. Their future could not look brighter when Rory shocks everyone-Lauren most of all-by enlisting in the U.S. Army. When Rory dies in combat, Lauren is left devastated, alone, and under unbearable public scrutiny.
Seeking peace and solitude, Lauren retreats to her family’s old beach house on the Jersey Shore. But this summer she’s forced to share the house with her overbearing mother and competitive sister. Worse, a stranger making a documentary about Rory tracks her down and persuades her to give him just an hour of her time.
One hour with filmmaker Matt Brio turns into a summer of revelations, surprises, and upheaval. As the days grow shorter and her grief changes shape, Lauren begins to understand the past-and to welcome the future.
Release date: April 24
Which of these beach reads of 2018 are you excited to read? Tell us in the comments!