For many people, summer is a time to catch up on reading. Whether you’re on the road for a family vacation or just enjoying quiet time in the back yard, you might be looking for some fun summer reads. Here are a few I can recommend, listed in no particular order. Note: You can click on each cover image to go straight to Amazon.com to order that book. Click on each author's name to visit her website and learn more about her work. And be sure to read all the way to the end to see how you can win a free copy of one of these titles.*
Love Finds You in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, by Pamela S. Meyers. In 1933, beautiful Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, is a summertime playground for wealthy Chicagoans. Local girl Meg Alden longs to be a real reporter, but her boss at the town newspaper believes that’s a man’s job, so she’s stuck writing fluff pieces for the society page while she waits for her big break. When a reporter position opens up, she’s hopeful that this is the break she's been waiting for, but her hopes are dashed when Jack Wallace, son of a big-city newspaper publisher, gets hired instead. Meg struggles against resentment, mistrust, and a growing attraction to Jack. Then Jack suggests they team up to investigate a local scandal. The closer they get, though, the more torn Meg is: should she follow her heart and stay with Jack, or follow her dream to a newspaper job in Los Angeles? This book offers an intriguing look at life in the 1930s, as the backdrop for a romance that pits one young womans dreams against her family’s wishes and the call of her own heart.
Wish You Were Here, by Beth K. Vogt. Allison Denman is only days away from marrying her high school sweetheart. It should be the happiest time of her life, but nothing feels right to her. The wedding is too big, the dress is too froufrou, and … well … an impulsive kiss with the groom’s brother five days before the wedding throws everything completely off balance. Allison makes a run for it, seeking sanctuary with her aunt while she tries to figure out what the rest of her life should be now that her plans have all been destroyed. Beth Vogt has created real, believable characters that you can’t help but care about as you follow Allison, Seth, and Daniel through the twists and turns of the plot. This is one of my favorite books I've read in the past few months.
Mississippi Nights, by D.M. Webb. When firefighter David Boyette’s fiancée dies in a car fire, he blames his brother, police sergeant Jeremy Boyette. Jeremy flees their home town for an anonymous life in the big city, but now, three years later, he’s back, hiding a dark and devastating secret. Can the the two brothers’ bond overcome the bitterness and blame between them? Can the love of their family and a good woman help Jeremy conquer the demons that threaten to destroy him? Webb has crafted a novel full of emotion–grief, guilt, loss, and love–with a story that kept me turning pages long after I should have turned off the light.
The Tutor’s Daughter, by Julie Klassen. In the early 19th century, Emma Smallwood has spent her life helping her father teach the sons of the well-to-do at his academy in Devonshire, England. When his boarding school fails, she accompanies her widowed father to the cliff-top manor of a baronet and his four sons, where her father will tutor the two youngest. Although they come at Sir Giles’s invitation, they are not made to feel welcome by the baronet’s new wife or the staff. Then, shortly after their arrival, mysterious events create tension in the manor. Meanwhile, the baronet’s older sons, Phillip and Henry Weston, wrestle with secrets of their own. Emma remembers them well from their time at her father’s academy, but as time goes on and the tension in the household grows, Emma wonders if the boys she knew have grown into very different men. Klassen's strength in is weaving in details of setting and time period that make you feel like you've actually walked on the grounds of the baronet's estate.
*Fair disclosure: I received copies of each of these books from the publisher for free, in exchange for an honest review.
What about you? What are you reading this summer? Share your recommendations in the comments below. If one of the novels I've described appeals to you, let me know in the comments. I'll be drawing names to receive copies of these books.