Great reads for your summer holiday…

Looking for some great reads for your summer holiday? Here’s what our book club members recommend…

Have you seen Henpicked’s free online book club? Each month we select a new book to read and discuss, and send a free copy to 10 book club champions. There are some great reads on there, so we thought we’d take a look at what they recommend and give you some inspiration for your summer holiday. And if you love to read, we’d love you to join in! 

The Girl On The Train by Paula Hawkins

A fast-paced, psychological thriller…

“I read this book in about four sittings. It was unputdownable, which is my definition of the perfect book. Written so well with chapters dedicated to individual characters the reader is transported directly into each character’s head.” Di

“Thoroughly enjoyed reading it, except that I couldn’t put it down! Found that I had to keep reading, was worried that I might miss something if I stopped. I loved the human stories being so entwined.” Rowena


How Hard Can It Be by Allison Pearson

The follow-up to I Don’t Know How She Does It, this time Kate Reddy is juggling work, teenagers and ageing parents.

“I loved the way that it was both funny and sad in equal measure as Kate juggled her many roles and tackled all that life threw at her.” Nicola

“I really loved this book. I thought it was well written, in an almost ‘chatty’ way – I felt like a fly on the wall of Kate’s life. I really liked her character & thought she was laugh out loud funny on more than one occasion. Peri menopausal symptoms had me in stitches (as well as wincing with empathy).” Vicki

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Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman

An astonishing story that powerfully depicts the loneliness of life, and the simple power of a little kindness.

“A great read which kept me interested right through to the end, and what an ending! I thought mommy was in prison or in a mental institution so the author played clever with the surprise twist. Eleanor of course is not complete fine but functions well on the surface; the title is a clever twist in itself.

“The characters are very well drawn and they develop with the story. I loved the funny throwaway one liners which relieved the dark abusive history that Eleanor and her sister have endured. For a debut novel, it is a great achievement. I can’t wait for the next.” Carol


The Aftermath by Rhidian Brook

In the bitter winter of 1946, Rachael Morgan arrives with her only remaining son Edmund in the ruins of Hamburg. Here she is reunited with her husband Lewis, a British colonel charged with rebuilding the shattered city. But as they set off for their new home, Rachael is stunned to discover that Lewis has made an extraordinary decision: they will be sharing the grand house with its previous owners, a German widower and his troubled daughter.

“Stories like this need to be told. I note it’s based on a real scenario . The horrors of WW2 are going to mean less and less to each generation.

“This book manages to portray the humanity of people amongst the desperate circumstances of the aftermath of the war in a way that reminds me of Schindlers Ark. I am surprised if people find the attitudes shocking. For nations to have experienced such atrocities at the hands of the hatred stirred up by Hitler is something that has to be remembered and the power of a dictator has to be understood by each generation. The story was wonderfully told and the characters were all endearing.” Claire

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Brooklyn by Colm Tóibín

It is Ireland in the early 1950s and for Eilis Lacey, as for so many young Irish girls, opportunities are scarce. So when her sister arranges for her to emigrate to New York, Eilis knows she must go, leaving behind her family and her home for the first time.

“I absolutely loved this book. I loved its gentle voice and its sheer story telling. I particularly liked the search for self and belonging, For the consideration of who we are and to what extent our surroundings govern our responses. The dilemma of who to love and how to untangle our messy lives was fascinating. The knowledge that nothing you can do will make it right, that we hurt people almost unwittingly and that the hurt can’t be stopped was so painful.” Marion

“Simply loved this book! I have to admit I found the book a bit slow moving to start with but once I’d reached the end of part one, I was desperate to see how Eilis would fare on her journey from Ireland to America. Would this quiet, gentle and naive character come into her own, find her feet and get what she wanted out of life once she crossed the pond to Brooklyn?” Nicola


Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier

Not since Jane Eyre has a heroine faced such difficulty with the Other Woman. An international bestseller that has never gone out of print, Rebecca is the haunting story of a young girl consumed by love and the struggle to find her identity.

“I know several people who have always said that Rebecca is one of their very favourite novels and I didn’t ever understand why ………until now! It is so beautifully descriptive and it puts the reader right into the scene so that you become absorbed into the book as if you were standing watching from the side lines – unseen by the characters but still very much feeling you are there. The powerful, glamorous and cruel Rebecca, the dark and sinister Mrs Danvers, the mouselike second Mrs de Winter – they are all drawn so well and Daphne Du Maurier takes the reader on a twisty turny adventure that makes the book unputdownable.” Imogen

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“Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again”. Best opening sentence of a book. Hooks you in right from the start. I love it!”

We hope this has given you some food for thought. Don’t forget to let us know what you think, and do please join our FREE book club to get involved every month.

Happy reading!