2023 Books for Your Beach Bag

Written by: Stephanie on June 15, 2023

wide sandy beach with sea facing beach chair with turquoise water in the background
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Summer is here, and with it comes the arrival of hot new books! Do you have a long flight or car ride coming up? Planning to relax on your stateroom balcony or beside a resort swimming pool? Maybe you’re embracing a summer at home, enjoying the peace of your backyard or front porch swing? No matter where you plan to be this summer, we have a book to keep you company. 

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Tropicália by Harold Rogers 

A family awaits the return of its matriarch and contends with the spilled secrets that precede her arrival in debut novel, Tropicália. Set against the bustling backdrop of Rio de Janeiro in the days leading to New Year’s Eve, Tropicalia explores the challenges of belonging to two worlds, a family’s constant misfortune, and how it all reaches a breaking point on the beaches of Copacabana.  

The Soulmate by Sally Hepworth 

When Gabe and Pippa move to a beautiful cliffside cottage with their young daughters, they soon realize the idyllic location also draws those who wish to end their lives. Gabe becomes a local hero for his ability to help those who creep too close to the edge, but one night he is unsuccessful. When Pippa discovers he knew the victim, questions arise, and Pippa is left wondering what happened in those final seconds on the cliff…and wondering if she knows her husband at all. 

Happy Place by Emily Henry 

Beloved summer author Emily Henry is back at it with another novel exploring friendship and romance. Hariett and Wynn are known among their friends as the perfect couple, together since college, happy in every way. Except, they aren’t. They have been broken up for six months but haven’t revealed this to the friends they vacation with each summer in Maine. Too afraid to break their friends’ hearts, they keep their secret, and each continues to play the part of loving partner. What happens when you still want each other while pretending you don’t?  

Meet Me at the Lake by Carly Fortune 

Fern had plans of her own and never desired to take over the family business, but following the unexpected death of her mother she finds herself returning to her inheritance: Brookbanks Resort, a charming lakeside retreat beloved by its repeat guests. She’s doing the best she can, coping with her mother’s passing and settling into her newfound role as resort manager, but then Will Baxter checks in. (Will Baxter, the dreamy artist she happened into a memorable 24-hour Toronto adventure with in her early 20s.) After a day spent sharing secrets, hopes, and dreams, the pair made a pact to reunite one year later. But Will didn’t show up, and now he is here, ten years later, in his role of consultant hired by her mother to help Brookbanks evolve and compete with the new resort nearby. Past and present collide, and Fern and Will must determine what they mean to one another. 

Bad Summer People by Emma Rosenblum 

Jen and Lauren rule over Salcombe, Fire Island, a summer retreat for New York’s wealthy and connected who avoid The Hamptons. Their husbands, Sam and Jason, have summered there together since childhood, despite their challenging competitive relationship and secrets kept from one another. This season, summer promises the return of old traditions, tennis court rivalries, and endless gossip, but when a body is discovered lying beneath the boardwalk, secrets float to the surface like champagne bubbles. For a dive into the world of rich people doing bad things, Bad Summer People is a fun summer romp perfect for pool reading. 

The Wishing Game by Meg Shaffer 

A sort of Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory for book lovers, The Wishing Game tells the story of a bestselling children’s author who mysteriously quit writing only to resurface later with a new book and an enticing competition. Lucy Hart, dedicated teacher’s aide, is one of four contestants who will meet on Clock Island to try to win the only copy of the most sought-after book in the world. She has wanted nothing more than to adopt 7-year-old orphan Christopher Lamb, with whom she shares a passion for Jack Masterson’s books, and winning this contest could change both of their lives forever. 

Hotel Laguna by Nicola Harrison 

After aiding in World War 2 as one of the “Rosie the Riveters,” Hazel Francis settles in Laguna Beach, California and takes a job as assistant to famous artist, Hanson Radcliff. Although he is respected by the community and appreciated by critics, he lives in the shadow of a scandal that haunts him. Working with Radcliff, Hazel finds herself falling in love with life in Laguna and the life she is creating there, but a yearning to build and pilot airplanes remains in her heart. Will Hazel chase her dreams of flight or be content with the dream life she has made for herself? 

The Only One Left by Riley Sager 

The 1929, the Hope family murders rocked the Maine coast. Most people assumed teenage Lenora was responsible, but she was never proven guilty. Following the incident, she never spoke publicly about it nor left the walls of her home, Hope’s End, the cliffside manor where the crime occurred. In 1983, home-health aide Kit McDeere tends to Lenora after her previous nurse fled. One night, Lenora communicates to Kit that she wants to reveal everything about the massacre, but even as she reveals details, Kit questions her honesty. She is left to wonder if she is safe within the mansion’s walls…and with Lenora. Sager is known for his summer thrillers, and fans anxiously await his new releases. 

The Continental Affair by Christine Mangan 

Henri and Louise are two strangers traveling alone on the train from Belgrade to Istanbul, but it isn’t the first time they have met. Louise is running from her past in England and the owners of the money she has stolen. Henri is the person who is trying to collect it. As Henri follows Louise across 1960s Europe, he confronts his own demons: his past life as a gendarme in Algeria and his current life on a criminal path. In a caper that inspires wanderlust with its lyrical prose, The Continental Affair will captivate fans of historical fiction offering a strong sense of place. 

Want to add more books to your summer reading list? Here are a few articles to read: 

Good Housekeeping Magazine: 12 New Summer Books to Add to Your 2023 Summer Reading List 

NPR: Here Are 19 Books Our Critics Are Excited for This Summer 

Southern Living: Beach Reads Perfect for Summer 2023 

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