Don’t be the person who lands on their lounger with nothing to read – not with summer reads as diverting as this to devour.

You’ve been planning this trip for months. You’ve sorted your wardrobe and stocked up on sun cream. You’ve packed your passport and the forecast is promising. Have you thought about what you will read on this longed-for holiday, though? Have you taken time to truffle out the most diverting releases of the year? If not, fear not – because we have done it for you.

Here, we present six of the best novels of the summer.

With A Mind To Kill

Anthony Horowitz

In 2014, Ian Fleming’s estate commissioned Horowitz to write a new Bond novel using some of Fleming’s unpublished material. Entitled Trigger Mortis, it came out to rave reviews the following year. Horowitz followed it in 2018 with Forever and a Day. Last month, he published his third Bond thriller, With a Mind to Kill. In it, 007 stands accused of murdering M. Amid high-octane treachery, espionage and deception, how will Bond get out of this scrape? The Guardian says: ‘The story rips along with plenty of familiar Bond staples: evil villains, fast cars and women falling for young Bond’s charms. Ian Fleming would be proud.’ Buy it here.

The Exhibitionist

Charlotte Mendelson

Fans of the English writer Charlotte Mendelson will not be disappointed by her latest novel, The Exhibitionist. Longlisted for the 2022 Women’s Prize for Fiction, it examines the tangle of toxic relationships that make up the family of Ray Hanrahan, a formerly celebrated and utterly tyrannical contemporary British artist. Mendelson uses spiky humour, metropolitan insight and colourful detail to depict this flawed bunch and their recognisable frailties. The Spectator says: ‘It’s a glorious ride. Mendelson observes the minutiae of human behaviour like a comic anthropologist, skewering pomp and sulking faux victimhood.’ Buy it here.

Young Mungo

Douglas Stuart

Douglas Stuart has followed his 2020 Booker-Prize winning debut, Shuggie Bain, with a second corker. In Young Mungo, the action is set, once again, in working-class Glasgow. The protagonist is another teenaged boy. The familiar themes include love, squalor and sexuality. This time around, though, we are rooting for a pair of star-crossed lovers, agonisingly constrained by religious and societal prejudice. The Observer says: ‘Prepare your hearts, for Douglas Stuart is back. After the extraordinary success of Shuggie Bain, his second novel, Young Mungo, is another beautiful and moving book, a gay Romeo and Juliet set in the brutal world of Glasgow’s housing estates.’ Buy it here.

Brother Of The More Famous Jack

Barbara Trapido

Thank God that this divine coming-of-age tale has just celebrated the fortieth anniversary of its publication. Were it not for that milestone, the 21st-century reader might never have known about Brother of the More Famous Jack. Katherine is a wide-eyed student, fresh from the confines of suburbia. When she meets the messy, marvellous Goldman family, her eyes spring open and her world is changed for ever. Published in 1982, this was Trapido’s first novel. Once you’ve read it, you’ll devour each of her others. The Guardian says: ‘Trapido’s readers hold her in desperate affection and her fiction inspires an almost compulsive desire to share. Deceptively intelligent, her novels are domestic tragicomedies, all intricacy and knowing.’ Buy it here.

The Summer Book

Tove Jansson

This pretty little book – written in 1972 by the creator of the Moomins – is a gentle, lyrical, evocative account of a summer spent by a grandmother and her granddaughter on an idyllic island in the Gulf of Finland. It is as suited to the committed reader as it is to a part-timer because each chapter happily stands on its own, allowing you to dip in and out and your leisure. The New York Times says: ‘Absent of sentimentality, full of love and humour and wisdom, this is a tale about how much fun two people can have in the middle of nowhere, when they are practicing social isolation in earnest.’ Warning: it will make you wish you were holidaying in some sort of Scandi island cabin. Buy it here.

A Terrible Kindness

Jo Browning-Wroe

The final entry on our list of great summer reads is an elegant and heart-wrenching debut. It packs a hefty punch, full of emotion, trauma and grief. But if that sounds too heavy, don’t be put off. Your spirits will ultimately soar, as, with her lovely light touch, Browning Wroe demonstrates humanity’s ability to heal. Set in the 1960s, with wonderful musical references and pleasing historical detail, this is a novel to get lost in. The Guardian says: ‘This well-crafted tale contains many joys.’ Buy it here.

By Becky Ladenburg
June 2022

Becky Ladenburg

Features Editor

As the GWG's features editor, Becky has her discerning finger on the cultural pulse. She's also our go-to expert on the property market.