Beach Reads

05 May 2021

Five page-turners you can’t miss

The Lost Apothecary by Sarah Penner

Caroline, broken-hearted and conflicted, ends up taking her 10th wedding anniversary trip alone. In London, she stumbles into a mystery when she uncovers an intriguing jar while mud larking. With the help of an intrepid librarian, Caroline sets about unravelling the jar’s origins. The present-day storyline is interwoven with the story of a late 18th century apothecary, Nella, who aided women in poisoning the men who wronged them. The Lost Apothecary takes you on a page-turning journey through the back alleys of London – both present day and historical.

– Megan Mathis

The Last Thing He Told Me by Laura Dave

“Protect her” is the note Hannah receives, hand-delivered, from a student at her floating house’s doorstep in California. She knows it is referring to her 16-year-old stepdaughter, Bailey, but who and what is she supposed to protect her from? So begins an investigation into Owen Michaels, her handsome new husband. Owen is gone, his boss is arrested by the FBI, and there are far more questions than answers. Bailey reluctantly partners with Hannah on a journey to find the truth about her missing father and their family’s secrets. This domestic thriller is sure to thrill with its intensifying pacing, strong character development, and suspenseful climax. Julia Roberts is slated to star in the AppleTV+ adaptation, produced by Reese Witherspoon.

– Morgan Ryan

The Newcomer by Mary Kay Andrews

When Letty Carnahan discovers the body of her murdered sister, Tanya, she knows her sister’s estranged boyfriend had something to do with it, so she goes on the run with her four-year-old niece, Maya. Letty grabs Tanya’s stash of cash and heads for Florida, looking for a place where she and Maya can lay low. She discovers so much more at the beachside Murmuring Surf Motel: a new job, friends, a makeshift family, new love, and that her sister had more secrets than she could have ever guessed. While this reviewer might have wished for a more fully realized romance between the protagonists, Mary Kay Andrews has once again delivered another beach read winner with this fun and frothy novel.

– Chantal Wilson

A Lowcountry Bride by Preslaysa Williams

In this Own Voices romance novel, we follow Maya Jackson who is determined to outwork and outrun her chronic illness, but fate intervenes. Maya wants to make a name for herself in the fashion industry as soon as possible, and she is a competition away from becoming the head designer for Laura Whitcomb, Inc. However, a phone call changes her plans and puts her on a plane from NYC to the Lowcountry of Charleston. Maya furiously looks for ways to sell her own designs while on an unpaid leave and connects with the owner of a local black-owned bridal shop dealing with his own personal and professional troubles. This story covers grief, loss, love, and self-discovery while also shedding light on racism and the value of family, history, and authenticity.

– Ariel Hackett

The Other Black Girl by Zakiya Delila Harris

Beachgoers looking for a uniquely wild ride should pick up Zakiya Delila Harris’ debut novel, The Other Black Girl. 26-year-old Nella finally gets her foot in the door as an editorial assistant at the publishing house of her dreams – Wagner Books in midtown Manhattan. At first, she’s thrilled when Hazel is hired (and Nella is no longer the only Black employee at Wagner), but her happiness turns to dread when she begins to receive menacing unsigned notes telling her to quit. Harris’ sharp, genre-bending book has the bones of a thriller but takes unexpected turns that keep readers guessing until the very end. It’s a little slow to start but is impossible to put down once it takes off.

– Sarah Cameron

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