3 Beach Reads

What is a beach read, anyway? A gracious book, that will probably incite pleasure. A delightful, relatively risk-free story. Reading that encourages you to indulge in escapist fantasies, preferably of island life. While several authors ponder the meaning of the term over at our friends’ electric lit blog, I will present 3 books I think are promising beach reads.

MeetMeet Me in Monaco: A Novel
Hazel Gaynor and Heather Webb
Paperback, $16.99
On Street: July 2019 / William Morrow (Harper Collins)

Movie stars and paparazzi flocked to Cannes for the glamorous film festival. But Grace Kelly, the biggest star of all, just wanted to escape the flashbulbs. When struggling perfumer Sophie Duval sheltered Miss Kelly in her boutique, fending off persistent British press photographer James Henderson, a bond was forged between the two women, who quickly become life friends.

But James hasn’t been able to forget about Sophie. Despite his guilt about leaving his daughter, he finds himself sailing with Grace Kelly’s wedding party on the USS Constitution from New York. In Monaco, James and Sophie–much like Princess Grace–must ultimately decide what they are prepared to give up for love.

Why it’s Worth Choosing

  • There are times when two heads are better than one at writing a book, and this is definitely one of these times. Both women are best-selling authors in their own right.
  • One of the authors lives in Ireland with her husband and children, and one lives in New England with her family and “one feisty bunny”.  Aw.

Electric HotelThe Electric Hotel
Dominic Smith
Hardback, $27
June 4, 2019 / Farrar, Straus and Giroux 

In the spring, a person’s thoughts allegedly turn toward love–in the summer, they may turn toward entertainment. Like the first novel featured in today’s blog, this book is a work of historical fiction centered around the film industry. This time the protagonist is a French silent-film pioneer. The book deals with his relationship to his muse and the masterpiece film that upends their lives.

There are cameo encounters with celebrities, like Marilyn Monroe who meets Claude in an elevator, but remembers him as a mushroom hunter. Claude remembers the time Elvis recorded “Love Me Tender” in Room 1016, and the seance Houdini’s window held on the rooftop of the Knickerbocker Hotel.

So sit back, relax, and enjoy the show.

Why it’s Worth Choosing

  • Metaphors like “Claude felt his mind slacken and go blank, as if someone had lowered an awning over his thoughts”.  And “A director once said that her voice sounded like a burglar creeping down an old wooden staircase.”
  • Quirky characters like Susan Berg, the famous silent film actress who whispers a lot and makes “treacherous soups”.  And the Knickerbocker Hotel, itself a quirky character that contributes to a sharply-honed sense of place
  • The writing is delicious!

CarnegieCarnegie Hill: A Novel
Jonathan Vatner
Hardback, $27.99
On Street: August 20, 2019 / $27.99

Deception is just another day in the lives of the elite. In an elegant Upper East Side neighborhood, Penelope “Pepper” Bradford is having second thoughts about her financier fiancé. As Pepper casts about her building for advice, she learns about the secret lives of the other wealthy residents and the staff that serve them–as they suffer, deceive each other, and fumble their way to honesty. This richly-imagined story has been described as charming and hilarious.

Why it’s Worth Choosing

Sometimes I feel like the glowing blurbs on books’ back covers are the equivalent of Shakespearian teacup storms: full of sycophancy and bluster, signifying nothing. Not for this book.

  • “You won’t envy these people for a second, but you’ll have a great time watching them undo and fix themselves,” says Joan Silber.
  • “A shrewd comic tale of old lovers, young lovers, and the blanket of privilege that both warms and binds them all,” adds Jonathan Dee. Sign me up!








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