Summer holidays can be defined by the books you take with you to read on the beach, by the pool – or even on the aeroplane coming home when you're desperate to finish the book before reality takes over once more. Forget the food, the hotel, or the beautiful vista. Holidays are often the only time when you can sit and read an entire novel in a day without worrying because you haven't done your work, laundry or are dashing out on the school run. In the past I've taken so many books with me, my luggage allowance was perilously close to the limit. Having children curtailed that massively, however, it only made the books I managed to read more of a treat and because of that, they stand out more.
1. Getting Away With It by Julie Cohen – A main character who is a stunt woman combined with a family ice cream business. What more do you want in a book? Liza is an identical twin. After a career in LA and a near fatal accident, she travels home where she finds her sister, Lee, is missing. So Liza becomes Lee. And finds out what it's like to live in the good sister's shoes. Not only is this story a page turner but it is Julie Cohen's first stand alone book (she's since gone on to write lots more). I followed her career as she wrote for Little Black Dress and adored those stories, always knowing this author was going places.
2. Vivien's Heavenly Ice Cream Shop by Abby Clements – Did you ever see such a gorgeous cover? I just adored it from the first time I saw it and can't wait to read it when I go away for a few days next month. It is another ice cream story but this time set in Brighton. Imogen and Anna inherit their grandmother's ice cream parlour which drastically needs more customers. Imogen stays in Brighton organising the shop and Anna sets off to Italy for an ice cream making course. I also believe there are ice cream recipes in the back of the book. I do like my books to feature lots of food. So, of course, I'm sold.
3. The Beach Cafe by Lucy Diamond – Evie is a dreamer and a drifter tying lots of careers. But for some reason she seems to have settled down with a rather sensible, and, dare I say it, boring, man. Then she inherits a beach cafe down in Cornwall and her life takes a different turn. We have the sea, food, Cornwall and a little romance. Combined together they make a perfect read for the sunlounger. You can almost smell the sun cream coming off the pages.
4. The Undomestic Goddess by Sophe Kinsella – As someone who is a bit of a control freak when it comes to finances I couldn't really empathise with the Shopoholic series. Samantha in the Undomestic Goddess, a high powered lawyer who walks out of the firm and becomes a housekeeper in an altogether different life, is for me far more relatable. And therefore the book is far more enjoyable.
5. Recipe for Love by Katie Fforde – So now, with this last book, you can tell what makes me relax on holiday. Yup, food. It wasn't meant to be a foodie post but obviously my subconcious has took over and now everyone knows what I like to read to relax. Recipe for Love is about a televised cookery contest. There is romance, a person you love to hate and lots and lots of food. Perfect for a holiday when you can eat what you want (because eating on holiday doesn't count.)