Discover more from Well Read with Anna Bonet
Three new novels to read in June
Also, how I found book lover’s heaven on a reading retreat
It’s officially summer reading season, there’s a heatwave here in London, and I’m piling up the books I want to spend long days reading in the park. If you’re feeling as overjoyed at the prospect as I am, these three new releases are so very worthy of being added to your to-be-read-during-warm-lazy-days list.
The God of Good Looks by Breanne Mc Ivor
Bianca Bridge’s life has not gone to plan. After an affair with a married government official puts her in the centre of a scandal and ruins her prospects of becoming a writer, she ends up taking a job with an infamous (and rather arrogant) make up artist. But despite their clashing, he might just become her most unlikely ally.
Written in diary entries, The God of Good Looks has been likened to Bridget Jones. Although it is worlds apart in many ways - not least because it is set in Trinidad, and you can feel the warmth wafting from the pages, unlike the icy, rainy London of Helen Fielding’s famous books - it does have that same kind of wonderfully comic voice, as well as a protagonist to adore and root for.
The Rachel Incident by Caroline O’Donoghue
Rachel, a student in Ireland who also works part time in a bookshop, has fallen someone. The only issue is that the man she is head over heels for is her university professor - and he’s married. So why not ask her friend James to help her seduce him?
The Rachel Incident is an absolute banger. It’s about love and lust, but also about friendship and growing up and the joy, pain and messiness of being in your early twenties. I defy you not to get lost in the heady brilliance of it.
The Bee Sting by Paul Murray
Also in Ireland are the Barnes family, and they are having a crisis of their own. Dickie’s car business is going under. His wife Imelda is unhappy in their marriage. Their teenage daughter Cass is binge-drinking instead of revising for her finals, and their 12-year-son PJ is talking to a far too nice stranger on the internet and planning to run away from home.
The Bee Sting is a bittersweet, sweeping family saga which asks big questions about love, luck and life. It’s over 600 pages - but well worth the patience a book as long as that requires, because few people can do tragicomedy as good as this.
I have to tell you about a reading retreat I went on a few weeks ago. Yes, it’s a thing! It was two days and three nights of pure bookish bliss. I switched my phone off, went on glorious walks, ate and drank wonderfully, chatted lots about books, met an author who joined us for dinner, and, obviously, read tons. The retreat I was on took place in Derbyshire but the two lovely ladies who run it, Sara and Cressida, host them in various locations across the UK. (I’m now desperate to go on the Suffolk beachfront retreat.) You can read more about my experience here, and the reading retreat website is here. (Not an ad, I just wanted to share. Although if you do end up going on one, tell Sara and Cressi I said hi!).