Best Books To Read On Holiday

50 Holiday Book Reads 2023

Are you looking for some of the best books to read on holiday in 2023? Whether it’s for the beach next summer or in an alpine chalet this winter, check out my bookshop.

These inspiring books are from some of the top travel authors around and include the most popular holiday reading books of today. From sun-drenched romances to the most action-filled and exciting crime and thriller books, there are some great choices to pop into your suitcase.

As this page grows I am including “recommendations” with suggestions of what to read from some of the leading travel professionals from around the UK.

Don’t Just Take My Word For It!

Best Books to Read on Holiday
Holiday Book Reads, Bookshop
Holiday Book Reads, Summer Bookshop

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Recommendations

Who better to recommend the best holiday book reads in 2023 than a travel blogger or someone in the holiday business, such as a travel agent, a tour operator or even an airline employee?

Over the last few months, I have been on the lookout for book recommendations from across the travel industry. I have picked up online suggestions and invited my friends, colleagues and business partners to send me their best holiday reads, so here we are!

In some cases there is also a link to their website or their social media page so if you need a Summer 2023 holiday, as well as a book, then why not get in touch with them?

Holiday Book Reads, Travel Blog

Travel agent Kay Halton (pictured) who is based in Scarborough and from Travel Counsellors recently took a holiday to Kalkan on the Turkish Mediterranean coast. While there, she read “Don’t Shake the Mango Tree” by Graeme Forbes Smith.

Kay said “its a fabulous book, I couldn’t put it down” and “I thoroughly enjoyed this fascinating Tanzanian real life adventure. Hopefully there will be a Part 2??”.


Graeme and Candy have a mid-life crisis and abandon their comfortable Edinburgh life and move to Tanzania. Out of the blue, they accept a job to manage a luxury safari lodge in the middle of the wild African bush.

As the year’s pass, their life becomes an exciting rollercoaster of emotions and madcap adventures as they are submerged into the local culture and gradually become respected members of the Maasai community.

On a recent holiday to the Grecotel Kos Imperial Luxury Beach Resort in Kos, Greece, Caroline from the travel agency Travel Finesse Ltd in Bedworth, Warwickshire read “The Four Winds” by Kristin Hannah.

Caroline said… “If you haven’t read this yet… I’d highly recommend it!
Powerful and deeply moving… I couldn’t put it down!”

A good book to read on holiday in 2023 for any woman who wonders how the hell she got here, and why life isn’t quite how she imagined it was going to be. Someone who is desperately trying to figure it all out when everyone around them is making gluten-free brownies.

This fantastic book is inspired by Shah’s childhood Moroccan holidays and represents a fantastic insight into Moroccan culture.

The main character has what so many of us endure – a frustration of modern society, causing us to dream of travelling the world.

The story of an adventurer who took a trek through the Amazon in search of the Lost City of Z. Did he find it?

A great holiday book read about following your dreams and listening to your heart.

A backpackers search for the dream destination.

If you are new to long-term travel then this is a great read for you.

The wonderful Mark Adams reflects on his journey through Peru in search of Inca ruins.

A story of Helen and how, when her family moved to Jutland she felt the need to understand why Danes are such a happy bunch of people.

One of the best 2023 holiday books to read this summer. Prepare to laugh and cry as we travel the world with best friends, Poppy and Alex.

The holidays are here, and down in Cornwall Lorna’s cottages are fully booked. Sun loungers are lined up beside the swimming pool, the sky is blue and a new set of arrivals are on their way . . .

Em’s planned the perfect break with her teenagers plus her new boyfriend . . . but now his difficult six-year-old is coming too. Will their romance survive the realities of parenthood?

 

One of the best books to read on you r 2023 holiday from Sarah Morgan. This romantic summer escape is an emotional and heart-warming piece of fiction.

The acclaimed million-copy number one bestseller and winner of Richard & Judy’s Summer Read 2006.

Victoria Hislop tells a the tale of four generations, illicit love, violence and leprosy, from the thirties, through the war, to the present day.

At only twenty, Tara Tremain has everything: she’s a trainee doctor, engaged to the man of her dreams – Alex, a passionate American biology student. But just when life seems perfect, Alex betrays her in the worst way possible.

Ten years later, she’s moved on – with a successful career, good friends and a man who loves her. But when she’s pulled back into her wealthy family’s orbit for a party in the heart of Costa Rica, she’s flung into a crisis: a child is desperately ill and the only treatment is several days’ trek away, deep in the jungle.

 

There’s no place like home… Nursing a broken heart, Jennifer Bolitho retreats to Pixie Cottage. Her new landlord – a former soldier turned movie heartthrob – has grounds so large, she’s sure the little house nestled in the woods will bring her solitude. Alex Delgardo also has reasons to hide away. Seeking refuge after a tragic incident turned his world upside down, he knows that the most important thing now is to care for his ailing family.

But when Jennifer enters their lives, that changes. Because, as they both learn, you can’t heal others until you learn to heal yourself…

One of the Best Summer Holiday Books which you won’t put down.

1930s, London. Having grown up on a secluded Scottish estate with her aunt Phoebe, Caroline is shocked to discover that Phoebe is actually her mother and flees to Egypt in rebellion. Quickly finding herself in an unhappy marriage, Caroline has an affair with an old flame, but soon finds herself pregnant with his child.

With her personal life in tatters and WWII approaching, she volunteers to smuggle valuable information into Europe for the British government. But when Caroline finally returns from war, her baby is gone. Will she be able to track him down?

On the beautiful beaches of Crete, an old woman is handing out scraps of paper. Sofia, eighty-five years old, unable to speak, is desperate to find a daughter she has never known. After a tragic childhood in Athens and a soaring career as a singer, the brutal treatment of the man she loved by a tyrannical regime forced her to give up her daughter mere days after her birth. Now she longs to be reunited with her child before it’s too late.

This is certainly one of the best books to read on holiday in 2023.

Sophie Sturgeon can’t wait for her annual summer holiday. Not only will it be a week away from work, it will be a chance to reconnect with her boyfriend Callum. So this upcoming trip to Majorca is a big deal. Sophie’s spent a lot of time getting ready. She’s bought a new wardrobe. She’s been waxed to within an inch of her life. She’s determined she and Callum will have the best time ever…. will she?

One summer, property seeker, Serendipity Parker finds herself on the beautiful west coast of Ireland, hunting for a home for a wealthy Irish client. But when she finds the perfect house in the small town of Ballykiltara, there’s a problem; nobody seems to know who owns it. ‘The Welcome House’ is a local legend but with a mysterious past that needs to be discovered… 

When her walk up the aisle leads to disaster Maya Thomas must forge a new path… Saying ‘I Do’ was meant to be the start of her greatest adventure, but when Maya’s fiance drops dead just moments before he’s set to kiss the bride, her life is spent spinning out of control.

Now, as Maya travels a path she never expected to take, setting off on the mystery honeymoon her fiance had planned for them, she finds that there is life after loss, that fate has its own way of helping you heal and that those with the courage to grasp love will never go lonely…

Born in 1799, Cashel Greville Ross experiences myriad lives: joyous and devastating, years of luck and unexpected loss. As he travels the world as a soldier, a farmer, a felon, a writer, a father, a lover, he discovers who he truly is. This is the romance of life itself, and the beating heart of The Romantic.

Everyone who meets her thinks they know Liddy James. A single mother, immaculately dressed, she is one of New York City’s top lawyers and seems to juggle her complicated life with ease. Despite her all-consuming work, her devastating divorce, and her two sons to look after, here she is – on top of the high wire.

But after a catastrophic incident on prime time TV, Liddy realises the act is over. She decides to take some time off with the boys and retrace her family’s history in Ireland. But being marooned in the Celtic countryside is no instant fix, and it is not until Liddy has encountered a stormy neighbour, an unorthodox wedding and a very surprising guest, that she remembers how to be The Real Liddy James .

At the end of the row of fishermen’s cottages by the harbour’s edge, stands an old granite house. First it belonged to Ned’s parents; then Ned dropped anchor here after a life at sea and called it home. His nephew Hugo moved in too, swapping London for the small Cornish fishing village where he’d spent so many happy holidays.

It’s a refuge – and now other friends and relations are being drawn to the the house by the sea. As newcomers arrive and old friends reunite, secrets are uncovered, relationships are forged and tested, and romance is kindled. For those who come here find that the house by the harbour wall offers a warm welcome, and – despite its situation at the very end of the village – a new beginning . . .

One of the best summer holiday books to read in 2023 is this selection of short stories for the beach.

Steph, Jo and Meredith have been friends since school. Their lives have all taken very different paths across the years, but when Meredith buys a romantic chateau in an idyllic village in the Dordogne she finds she can’t do it alone – so who better to enlist for help than her two old friends? Together they hope to bring the chateau back to life and create the most romantic wedding venue in France.
 

And it seems that the nearby village of Bratenac has much more to offer than sun, wine and delicious French food when a handsome chef and his equally charming son, a vigneron from New Zealand, not to mention the local ladies’ luncheon club and a British bulldog named Nelly all join the party. Friends and lovers, old and new, come together and fall apart in deepest France, culminating in a very special chateau wedding. Funny, uplifting and poignant.

It is the summer solstice, but in a faded Scottish cabin park the rain is unrelenting. Twelve people on holiday with their families look on as the skies remain resolutely grey. A woman goes running up the Ben as if fleeing; a teenage boy chances the dark waters of the loch in his kayak; a retired couple head out despite the downpour, driving too fast on the familiar bends.

But there are newcomers too, and one particular family, a mother and daughter with the wrong clothes and the wrong manners, start to draw the attention of the others. Who are they? Where are they from? Should they be here at all? As darkness finally falls, something is unravelling . . .

Nell Ballard is a runaway.

A former foster child with a dark secret she is desperate to keep, all Nell wants is to find a place she can belong. So when a position comes up at Starling Villas, home to the enigmatic Robin Wilder, she seizes the opportunity with both hands.

But her new lodgings may not be the safe haven she was hoping for. Her employer has secrets of his own and lives by a rigid set of rules she must abide by. But is Nell’s arrival at the Villas really the coincidence it seems? After all, she knows more than most how fragile people can be – and how easy they are to break . . .

Somewhere along the cobbled streets of Paris, an apartment lies thick with dust and secrets: full of priceless artworks hidden away for decades. High-flying fine art agent Flora from London, more comfortable with the tension of a million-pound auction than a cosy candlelit dinner for two, is called in to assess these suddenly discovered treasures. As an expert in her field, she must trace the history of each painting and discover who has concealed them for so long.

Thrown in amongst the glamorous Vermeil family as they move between Paris and Antibes, Flora begins to discover that things aren’t all that they seem, while back at home her own family is recoiling from a seismic shock. The terse and brooding Xavier Vermeil seems intent on forcing Flora out of his family’s affairs – but just what is he hiding?

A remote island. A brutal murder and a secret hidden in the past . . .

In the middle of the North Sea, between the UK and Denmark, lies the beautiful and rugged island nation of Doggerland.

Detective Inspector Karen Eiken Hornby has returned to the main island, Heimoe, after many years in London and has worked hard to become one of the few female police officers in Doggerland.

So, when she wakes up in a hotel room next to her boss, Jounas Smeed, she knows she’s made a big mistake. But things are about to get worse: later that day, Jounas’s ex-wife is found brutally murdered. And Karen is the only one who can give him an alibi.

Lily and her ex-husband, Ryle, have just settled into a civil co-parenting rhythm when she suddenly bumps into her first love, Atlas, again. After nearly two years separated, she is elated that for once, time is on their side, and she immediately says yes when Atlas asks her on a date.

But her excitement is quickly hampered by the knowledge that, though they are no longer married, Ryle is still very much a part of her life—and Atlas Corrigan is the one man he will hate being in his ex-wife and daughter’s life.

Switching between the perspectives of Lily and Atlas, It Starts with Us picks up right where the epilogue for the bestselling phenomenon It Ends with Us left off. Revealing more about Atlas’s past and following Lily as she embraces a second chance at true love while navigating a jealous ex-husband, it proves that “no one delivers an emotional read like Colleen Hoover” (Anna Todd, bestselling author).

 

At twenty-six, Cheryl Strayed thought she had lost everything. In the wake of her mother’s rapid death from cancer, her family disbanded and her marriage crumbled.

With nothing to lose, she made the most impulsive decision of her life: to walk eleven hundred miles of the west coast of America and to do it alone. She had no experience with long-distance hiking and the journey was nothing more than a line on a map. But it held a promise – a promise of piecing together a life that lay shattered at her feet.

Jon Krakauer’s Into the Wild examines true story of Chris McCandless, a young man who, in 1992, walked deep into the Alaskan wilderness and whose SOS note and emaciated corpse were found four months later.

International bestselling author Jon Krakauer explores the obsession which leads some people to explore the outer limits of self, leave civilization behind and seek enlightenment through solitude and contact with nature.

Travels with Boogie is the story of two city slickers – one an unattractive but streetwise mongrel from Stockwell, the other the long-suffering author – and how they came to terms with England’s countryside and waterways.

Travels with Boogie is a witty and fascinating account of a mismatched couple and of the people they meet and places they visit. One of the best books to read on holiday in 2023.

For nurse Lucie Burrows, it’s time to put the last year behind her and embrace Greek life.

Finally free from her demanding, stressful job, Lucie is excited about a restriction-free summer. When her best friend Gavin finds the perfect Greek island getaway, Lucie is sure that this holiday to Corfu is going to be one to remember.

But when a landslide cuts the village off from the rest of the island, Lucie is thrown together with Michalis Andino, the super sexy village doctor. It’s not quite the escape she had planned, but things could certainly be worse.

Lorna loves her daughter, and the two of them is all that matters. But after nearly twenty years, she and Ella are suddenly leaving London for the Isle of Kip, the tiny remote Scottish island where Lorna grew up.

Alice’s world is tiny but full. She loves the community on Kip, her yoga classes drawing women across the tiny island together. Now Lorna’s arrival might help their family finally mend itself – even if forgiveness means returning to the past…

So, with two decades, hundreds of miles and a lifetime’s worth of secrets between Lorna and the island, can coming home mean starting again?

When she is given the opportunity to move to a remote tidal island off the Cornish Coast, Marisa Rossi decides some peace and quiet might be just what she needs.

Since the death of her beloved grandfather back in Italy, she’s been struggling to find a way out of her grief. Perhaps this will be the perfect place for her to recuperate.

But Mount Polbearne is a far cry from the sleepy little place she was imagining. Between her noisy piano-teaching Russian neighbour and the hustle and bustle of a busy community, Marisa finds solitude is not so easy to come by. Especially when she finds herself somehow involved with a tiny local bakery desperately in need of some new zest to save it . . .

Under the golden Cornish sun, buried treasure and family secrets will change Emma’s life forever…

Emma loved her life in the seaside village of Silver Cove. But when the discovery of sunken treasure ignited a feud between her family and of Luke, her first love, everything fell apart. Heartbroken and betrayed, she fled.

Now, as she wades into the sparkling surf for the first time in fifteen years, she remembers everything she loved about this beautiful place. Then a huge wave knocks her off her feet. Wet and dripping, Emma is rescued by none other than Luke – who is, to her dismay, even more, handsome than ever.

As their paths continue to cross, and Emma is reminded of everything she ran away from, she starts to wonder if returning home was a huge mistake.

Or could the real treasure have been waiting here for her all along?

An unforgettable story of past love and family secrets, set in sunny Seville. A fabulous 2023 Holiday Book Read !

With the Blitz over and London reeling from war, jazz musician Lawrie Matthews has answered England’s call for help. Fresh off the Empire Windrush, he’s taken a tiny room in south London lodgings and has fallen in love with the girl next door. Lawrie has poured his heart into his new home – and it’s alive with possibility. Until, one morning, he makes a terrible discovery.

As the local community rallies, fingers of blame are pointed at those who had recently been welcomed with open arms. And, before long, the newest arrivals become the prime suspects in a tragedy which threatens to tear the city apart.

Landry and Prentiss are two brothers born into slavery, finally freed as the American Civil War draws to its bitter close. Cast into the world without a penny to their names, their only hope is to find work in a society that still views them with nothing but intolerance.

Farmer George Walker and his wife Isabelle are reeling from a loss that has shaken them to their core. After a chance encounter, they agree to employ the brothers on their land, and slowly the tentative bonds of trust begin to blossom between the strangers.

But this sanctuary survives on a knife’s edge, and it isn’t long before a tragedy causes the inhabitants of the nearby town to turn their suspicion onto these new friendships, with devastating consequences.

For fans of Jane Harper’s The Dry comes a powerful novel about the lengths we will go to keep our family safe. This is a story about good and evil and how life is lived somewhere in between.

Thirty years ago, Vincent King became a killer.

Now, he’s been released from prison and is back in his hometown of Cape Haven, California. Not everyone is pleased to see him. Like Star Radley, his ex-girlfriend, and sister of the girl he killed.

Duchess Radley, Star’s thirteen-year-old daughter, is part-carer, part-protector to her younger brother, Robin – and to her deeply troubled mother. But in trying to protect Star, Duchess inadvertently sets off a chain of events that will have tragic consequences not only for her family, but also the whole town.

Murder, revenge, retribution.

How far can we run from the past, when the past seems doomed to repeat itself?

August,1983, it is the day of Nina Riva’s annual end-of-summer party, and anticipation is at a fever pitch. Everyone who is anyone wants to be around the famous Rivas: surfer and supermodel Nina, brothers Jay and Hud, and their adored baby sister Kit. Together, the siblings are a source of fascination in Malibu and the world over – especially as the children of the legendary singer Mick Riva.

By midnight the party will be completely out of control.

By morning, the Riva mansion will have gone up in flames.

But before that first spark in the early hours of dawn, the alcohol will flow, the music will play, and the loves and secrets that shaped this family will all come bubbling to the surface.

When we go through something impossible, someone, or something, will help us, if we let them . . .

It is October 1966 and William Lavery is having the night of his life at his first black-tie do. But, as the evening unfolds, news hits of a landslide at a coal mine. It has buried a school: Aberfan.

William decides he must act, so he stands and volunteers to attend. It will be his first job as an embalmer, and it will be one he never forgets.

His work that night will force him to think about the little boy he was, and the losses he has worked so hard to forget. But compassion can have surprising consequences, because – as William discovers – giving so much to others can sometimes help us heal ourselves.

It is 1985, in an Irish town. During the weeks leading up to Christmas, Bill Furlong, a coal and timber merchant, faces into his busiest season. As he does the rounds, he feels the past rising up to meet him – and encounters the complicit silences of a people controlled by the Church.

Just days after Raynor learns that Moth, her husband of 32 years, is terminally ill, their home is taken away and they lose their livelihood. With nothing left and little time, they make the brave and impulsive decision to walk the 630 miles of the sea-swept South West Coast Path, from Somerset to Dorset, via Devon and Cornwall.

Carrying only the essentials for survival on their backs, they live wild in the ancient, weathered landscape of cliffs, sea and sky. Yet through every step, every encounter and every test along the way, their walk becomes a remarkable journey.

When twelve-year-old Esther Bianchi disappears on her way home from school in the small town of Durton in rural Australia, the local community is thrown into a state of grief and suspicion.

One by one, she undid each event, each decision, each choice. If Davy had remembered to put on a coat. If Seamie McGeown had not found himself alone on a dark street. If Michael Agnew had not walked through the door of the pub on a quiet night in February in his white shirt. There is nothing special about the day Cushla meets Michael, a married man from Belfast, in the pub owned by her family. But here, love is never far from violence, and this encounter will change both of their lives forever.

As people get up each morning and go to work, school, church or the pub, the daily news rolls in of another car bomb exploded, another man beaten, killed or left for dead. In the class Cushla teaches, the vocabulary of seven-year-old children now includes phrases like ‘petrol bomb’ and ‘rubber bullets’. And as she is forced to tread lines she never thought she would cross, tensions in the town are escalating, threatening to destroy all she is working to hold together.

On a farm outside Pretoria, the Swarts are gathering for Ma’s funeral. The younger generation, Anton and Amor, detest everything the family stand for – not least their treatment of the Black woman who has worked for them her whole life. Salome was to be given her own house, her own land…yet somehow, that vow is carefully ignored.

As each decade passes, and the family assemble again, one question hovers over them. Can you ever escape the repercussions of a broken promise?

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Are you looking for recommendations for that summer beach holiday book read. Check out the latest best-sellers.

Be sure to check out my travel blog page where you will find all of my latest stories and travel adventures. 
 

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