Summer is almost upon us meaning that at last we can sigh with relief, pack that suitcase and head to the airport – sunglasses, hat and book in hand. Whether you're after a light and breezy beach read, a nail-biting page-turner, a trip back to the suffragette movement in London's 1912 or a glimpse at the life of a Russian spy – we've got the perfect companion for your summer holidays. Some are debuts, some are by bestselling authors such as Ali Smith and Nick Hornby and they're all hot holiday reads...
How to be both, Ali Smith
Borrowing from painting's fresco technique to make an original literary double-take, it's a fast-moving genre-bending conversation between forms, times, truths and fictions. There's a renaissance artist of the 1460s. There's the child of a child of the 1960s. Two tales of love and injustice twist into a singular yarn where time gets timeless, structural gets playful, knowing gets mysterious, fictional gets real - and all life's givens get given a second chance.
The Girl on the Train, Paul Hawkins
Rachel catches the same commuter train every morning. She knows it will wait at the same signal each time, overlooking a row of back gardens. She's even started to feel like she knows the people who live in one of the houses. "Jess and Jason", she calls them. Their life – as she sees it – is perfect. And then she sees something shocking. Now Rachel has a chance to become a part of the lives she's only watched from afar. Now they'll see; she's much more than just the girl on the train…
Funny Girl, Nick Hornby
It's the swinging 60s and the nation is mesmerised by unlikely comedy star Sophie Straw, the former Blackpool beauty queen who just wants to make people laugh, like her heroine Lucille Ball. Behind the scenes, the cast and crew are having the time of their lives. But when the script begins to get a bit too close to home, and life starts imitating art, they all face a choice.
The Hourglass Factory, Lucy Ribchester
Ebony Diamond is a trapeze artist, tiger-tamer, suffragette – wherever there's trouble she’s never far away. When Ebony suddenly goes missing, her disappearance leads tomboy journalist Frankie from the newsrooms of Fleet Street to the headquarters of the suffragettes on the trail of a murderous villain with a plot more deadly than anyone could have imagined…
Who Is Mr. Plutin?, Rebecca Strong
Vika Serkova is a ditzy New Yorker... until one morning when she learns she's really an elite Russian spy and the only thing standing between her oligarch husband and the overthrow of the Russian president. Two superpowers, one female agent, zero second chances, and plenty of Dom Perignon. What can go wrong?
The Seventh Miss Hatfield, Anna Caltabiano
Cynthia, an 11-year-old American, has her life changed forever when she decides to enter the home of her neighbour, the mysterious Miss Hatfield. For Miss Hatfield is immortal, and now Cynthia is as well, taking on the aspects of her neighbour and slowly becoming the next Miss Hatfield. A journey back to turn-of-the-century New York, a wealthy household and the hardest decision of young Cynthia's life are now in front of her – but who is the stranger following her from place to place?