Summer Reading for the Travel Lover

I created a niche summer reading list from books set in Italy, France and Spain. There's nine books on the list with four being new releases this year. If you're feeling left out that you're not having a European summer and wishing you were jetsetting in Italy, I got you covered! These books belong in everyone's pool bag this summer! 

One Italian Summer - Rebecca Serle 2022

I read this last year and the concept for the book was super cool! Katie at age 30, her mother just died right before they were supposed to take a trip together to Italy to visit Positano where her mother vacationed before Katie was born. Katie decides to still take the trip and guess who she runs into in Italy? Her mom at age 30! Her mom of course doesn't know its her daughter and Katie gets to know her mom in a different way. The descriptions really make you feel like you're in Italy as the author gives you a very immersive view of everything. It's a short book and super fast paced!

A Perfect Vintage - Chelsea Fagan 2023

Chelsea is the co-founder and CEO of The Financial Diet, the largest women's personal finance media company. I love her youtube  channel and Instagram. Chelsea is American and lives in NYC and throws amazing dinner parties while renovating her apartment. Her husband is Italian so she travels to Europe often so I enjoy seeing that on her IG. Then she decided to write a fictional book and sent me an advance early copy to read.  This book is a story about renovating a rundown chateau in the French countryside and features a romance between a mature, career-driven heroine and the much younger son of her boss. The main character is similar to Chelsea in that she is a career-driven childfree by choice woman.

Our Last Days in Barcelona - Chanel Cleeton
This is the 5th book in a series about a group of sisters that have left Cuba after the revolution. I've read all the other books and have been to Cuba so I couldn't wait to read this book. Barcelona, 1964. Exiled from Cuba after the revolution, Isabel Perez has learned to guard her heart and protect her family at all costs. After Isabel’s sister Beatriz disappears in Barcelona, Isabel goes to Spain in search of her. Joining forces with an unlikely ally thrusts Isabel into her sister’s dangerous world of espionage, but it’s an unearthed piece of family history that transforms Isabel’s life.

Meet Me in Monaco - Hazel Gaynor 2019
Set in the 1950s against the backdrop of Grace Kelly’s whirlwind romance and glamourous wedding to Prince Rainier of Monaco. The story begins in Cannes for the film festival, where Grace slides into the Duval family perfume shop to avoid paparazzi.
You get to learn more about the development and creation of perfume from the creation of fragrances, and head, heart and base notes of perfumes. This is a story of a French perfumer and British photographer, who got connected by Grace Kelly's appearance in Cannes.

The Villa - Rachel Hawkins 2023

The Villa is a slow-burn thriller/drama about a crime from the past that intertwines with the present. Former BFFs Emily and Chess, both writers, spend the summer in an Italian villa in Umbria, Italyto spark their creativity. The villa happens to be the same one in which a famous murder in the 1970s occurred, involving a rock star that captivated the world. While the two former friends work on their new books, a deep-seated rivalry emerges. At the same time, their investigation into the infamous murder leads to some startling consequences. Inspired by Fleetwood Mac and the Manson murders.

The Lion's Den - Katherine St. John
Bell's best friend invites her on a glamorous getaway to the Mediterranean aboard her billionaire boyfriend's yacht, the only sensible answer is yes. Belle hopes the trip will be a much-needed break from her stalled acting career and uniquely humiliating waitressing job, but once she's aboard the luxurious Lion's Den, it soon becomes clear this jet-setting holiday is not as advertised.

The Little Italian Hotel - Phaedra Patrick 
You can imagine Ginny Splinter’s shock when she finally reveals a special 3-week trip planned to Italy to celebrate their silver wedding anniversary, as well as their 50th birthdays, and her husband announces he wants a divorce instead! After trying without luck to cancel it, she decides to extend the invitation to four lucky listeners! Ginny is a radio host and an on-air advice expert and offers four heartbroken listeners a chance to join her in Italy.  From hiking the hills of Bologna to riding a gondola in Venice to sharing stories around the dining table of the little Italian hotel, Ginny and her newfound company embark on a vacation of healing. It takes the reader down the rabbit hole of what happens when you lose your identity because it has always been attached to someone else. 

The Invitation - Lucy Foley
It starts in Italy in 1953 but takes place on the way to the Cannes Film Festival and you will feel the imagery of the locations in this book. An evocative love story set along the Italian Riviera about a group of charismatic stars who all have secrets and pasts they try desperately -- and dangerously -- to hide. 

Main Character Energy - Jamie Varon 
I haven't read this yet as it releases in Sept 2023. 
Poppy Banks would rather be writing mysteries than writing listicles for her dead-end job at Thought Buzz. But after a series of rejections, she’s ready to accept life on the sidelines as a plus-size woman. But all of Poppy’s beliefs about herself are challenged when her beloved aunt dies and leaves her niece a grand surprise—a trip to her villa in the French Riviera. There, she learns her aunt intends to leave her stunning villa and secretive writer's residency to Poppy—if she can finish her novel in six months.

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