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Summer Reads: Romance novelist Paige Toon on the best books to take to the beach

WORDS BY CAIT EMMA BURKE

Her favourite beach-worthy novels.

Like many Fashion Journal readers, I love a good book. I love buying them and stacking them on my bedside table and around my fireplace, but obviously, I gain the most joy from actually reading them.

This year’s been a weird one, and often my brain has felt too scrambled and frazzled to focus on any one book for longer than a hot minute, so I’m very much enjoying trips to the beach this summer, primarily because you get a few hours or days of precious, uninterrupted reading time.


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With my reading glasses and sunscreen at the ready, I’m on the lookout for book recommendations, but not just any old books. I want the best of the best, the crème de la crème.

And who better to ask than author Paige Toon, who writes best-selling romance novels for a living? You know, the kind of page-turners that you greedily devour within a mere few days (aka the ultimate holiday books). Below, Paige recommends her favourite love-laden reads to take to the beach with you this summer.

Beach Read by Emily Henry

January is a hopeless romantic who writes happy-ever-after fiction while Gus is a serious literary type who thinks true love is a fairy tale. Both authors are suffering from crippling writers’ block, and when their paths cross one summer, they make a pact to swap genres and see who gets published first. From enemies to frenemies to friends to lovers, this is a deliciously enjoyable read, fizzing with witty banter and sexual chemistry.

The Invisible Girl by Lisa Jewell

When Saffyre was ten, something terrible happened and now she spends her life hiding in the shadows. Owen Pick feels invisible too, with no friends and no one who cares about him. Then Saffyre goes missing from opposite his house and suddenly the world seems to be watching. I’ve always loved Lisa Jewell’s style of writing, from her early days of smart romantic fiction to her more recent divergence into dark psychological thrillers. This will have your heart hammering and your fingers flying as you struggle to turn the pages fast enough.

Boyfriend Material by Alexis Hall

Luc is reluctantly famous: his absentee rock star dad is making a comeback and Luc is back in the spotlight for all the wrong reasons. With his PR job on the rocks, Luc needs to clean up his image, and he decides the best way to do this is to find himself a nice, respectable boyfriend. Enter serious, swoon-worthy ‘Mark Darcy’ type, Oliver. Both men know the relationship is fake, but as lines are crossed, it becomes harder to keep their hearts intact. Luc is so self-deprecating and witty that you’ll be laughing out loud while desperately hoping for a happy ending.

The Switch by Beth O’Leary

After screwing up at work, Leena is ordered to take a two-month sabbatical, so she leaves city life behind and heads to her grandmother’s house for some overdue rest. Newly single and about to turn eighty, Eileen would like a second chance at love, but isn’t having much luck in her tiny rural village. So the two women decide to swap lives for a couple of months and see how things turn out. Perfectly heartwarming and gorgeously uplifting, this is the ideal novel to help you escape from the outside world.

Just My Luck by Adele Parks

For fifteen years, Lexi and Jake have played the same six lottery numbers with their best friends the Pearsons and the Heathcotes. But one night, there’s a rift in the group, and Lexi and Jake are left holding a winning ticket worth £18 million. Their so-called friends are determined to claim a share of it… A brilliantly gripping and unpredictably dark thriller about friendship, wealth, betrayal – and good luck gone bad.

Daisy Jones & The Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid

This is an incredibly clever and compelling book about a fictional rock band and the sequence of events that led to its eventual downfall. A ‘mockumentary’, although not strictly a comedy, the story unfolds via a series of interviews with band members and those connected to the band. Ultimately, it’s a brilliant, goosebump-inducing forbidden love story – one you will want to recommend over and over.

The Honey-Don’t List by Christina Lauren

 

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Carey and Josh are hard-working assistants to Russ and Melly Tripp, a celebrity couple whose brand relies on their happy marriage. The problem is, the Tripps hate each other. As they embark on a whirlwind book tour, Carey and Josh have their hands full, but when things run off the rails, they learn to rely on each other. Yet another sexy, funny page-turner of a read from epic writing duo Christina Hobbs and Lauren Billings.

City of Girls by Elizabeth Gilbert

The author of ‘Eat Pray Love’ brings us this gorgeous historical fiction novel told from the perspective of 95-year-old Vivian Morris as she looks back on her life, beginning as a teenager against the heady backdrop of the 1940’s New York theatre scene. With a cast of colourful characters, scintillating scandals and an exploration of what it means to be female, this is a truly unique love story.

@paigetoonauthor

Paige’s new book ‘Someone I Used to Know‘ will be out June 2021. In the meantime, you can read her latest romantic novel ‘The Minute I Saw You‘.

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