I’m a bizarrely intense reader. I’ll read fiction, mysteries, history, fantasy, biographies, cozies, humour, you name it. A lot of people criticise and mock chick lit as a genre for being fluffy and flip. However, sometimes I want to read a book to escape from stress and work and don’t want to have to do mental gymnastics to make my way through a book. Summer is definitely a reading season for me! I love sitting outside or in the three season room for a few hours, especially with a fun piece of chick lit that helps me “get away”. These are my top recommendations for chick lit this summer!
The Boy is Back, Meg Cabot
From New York Times bestselling author Meg Cabot comes the sweetly humorous story of a man who has to face his past in order to find his future.
Sometimes to move forward, you have to go back…
One post. That’s all it took to destroy the care free, glamorous life of pro golfer Reed Stewart. One tiny post on the Internet.
Then again, it’s not like Reed’s been winning many tournaments lately, and his uncle isn’t the only one who says it’s because of the unfinished business he left behind back home in Bloomville, Indiana—namely Reed’s father, the Honorable Judge Richard P. Stewart, and the only girl Reed ever loved, Becky Flowers.
But Reed hasn’t spoken to either his father or Becky in over a decade.
Until that post on the Internet. Suddenly, Reed’s family has become a national laughingstock, his publicist won’t stop calling, his siblings are begging for help, and Reed realizes he has no other choice: He’s got to go home to face his past . . . the Judge and the girl he left behind.
Becky’s worked hard to build her successful senior relocation business, but she’s worked even harder to forget Reed Stewart ever existed—which hasn’t been easy, considering he’s their hometown’s golden boy, and all anyone ever talks about. It was fine while they were thousands of miles apart, but now he’s back in Bloomville. She has absolutely no intention of seeing him—until his family hires her to help save his parents.
Now Reed and Becky can’t avoid one another…or the memories of that one fateful night.
Can the quirky residents of Bloomville bring these two young people back together, or will Reed and Becky continue to allow their pasts to deny them the future they deserve?
I started reading Meg Cabot’s books back in 2001, right before The Princess Diaries film came out. Every Scholastic book order (shout out to everyone who got weirdly excited for those fliers to be sent home with you) I would check to see if a new Princess Diaries book was available- I loved that series! However, Meg has diversified and is now the author of several adult series, as well. When I was wandering through the Seattle airport, of course I was sucked into the bookstore where I spotted The Boy is Back. I wasn’t sure but I’m now very happy that I grabbed it! It’s a fun series that is a modern epistolary, connecting characters through emails, texts, newspaper clippings, blog entries, among other pieces. It keeps it light and fun, and exposes you to the thoughts of characters you might not otherwise have seen! I’m reading these out of of order and it’s making no difference, so far there are four fantastic books in the series to enjoy.
The Difference Between You and Me, Celia Hayes
Trudy Watts has everything she’s ever dreamed of: a job that she loves, a successful boyfriend and an ultra-modern apartment in one of the most fashionable parts of London. With a long-awaited promotion due to come her way and her wedding just around the corner, Trudy’s life is just perfect…
That is until catastrophe strikes and her life is turned upside down. She’s transferred to Turriff, a remote Scottish town to manage a small, struggling bank branch.
Her arrival is traumatic and she wishes she was anywhere but here… Until she sees him – Ethan, the charming pub landlord, who seems to enjoy nothing more than to tease her. And it’s right there, in that pub, that her life will suddenly change… (Via Goodreads)
What I loved about The Difference Between You and Me is the fact that Trudy is a realistic character that makes several mistakes and is a little short-tempered like some of us might be, and the fact that Celia fleshed out supporting characters beyond cliche friends and family. I read this on the way to and from Seattle, and I couldn’t put it down, either. Set in rural Scotland, it’s the perfect book to read when you want to relax and escape from the craziness of everyday life. I also love supporting newer authors, and I plan on buying Celia’s other book, Don’t Marry Thomas Clark!
Mr. Darcy Forever, Victoria Connelly
The third in a trilogy of Jane Austen romantic comedies from UK author Victoria Connelly featuring characters obsessed with Jane Austen and set in Jane Austen locations (A Weekend with Mr. Darcy, Dreaming of Mr. Darcy). Sarah and Mia Castle, two estranged sisters (and Austen addicts) who have spent a lifetime fighting over the men in their lives, meet for the first time in three years during the annual Jane Austen Festival in Bath, the city where Anne Elliot (Persuasion) and Catherine Morland (Northanger Abbey) found their happy endings. During the festival, the sisters realize that they can’t bear to be apart, even though Mia fell in love with the man Sarah eventually married and settled with in beautiful Devon, another Jane Austen location (the filming of Emma Thompson’s Sense & Sensibility). They discover that their sisterhood forms a bond stronger than their mutual connection as Jane Austen addicts. And in true Jane Austen fashion, they each begin to lose their hearts to dashing gentlemen. A beautiful, fun and quirky story of sisterhood and romance.
Victoria’s Jane Austen series is perfect for any Austen lover! There is enough Austen in it to make connections to the original texts and remind you of your favourites without trying to replicate all of Pride and Prejudice. I think part of the reason I’m drawn to these books is I love that there is a nod to Austen- like a movie being filmed or a conference being held- that acknowledges the history nicely. A few readers have criticised it for being predictable, but most chick lit is predictable, and for me is part of why it is so enjoyable! The Darcy series goes best with a fuzzy blanket and a mug of tea.
The Runaway Princess, Hester Browne
If Amy Wilde’s new boyfriend, Leo, treats her like a queen, that’s because he’s secretly a prince himself: Leopold William Victor Wolfsburg of Nirona, the ninth most eligible royal bachelor in the world. Amy soon discovers that dating an heir to a throne has many charms—intimate dinners, glittering galas, and a dazzling new wardrobe with tiaras to match. But there are also drawbacks: imagine the anxiety of meeting your boyfriend’s parents multiplied by “riding in a private jet,” “staying in a castle,” and “discussing the line of succession over lunch.” Not to mention the sudden press interest in your very un-royal family. Amy would do anything for Leo, but is finding her Prince Charming worth the price of losing herself? (Via Goodreads)
Hester Browne is quintessential English chick lit, and she does it fabulously. The adult version of The Princess Diaries, Amy finds out that her boyfriend is actually prince of a European principality and reacts much the way the rest of us would- with many questions and difficulty. What I love about stories like these is that they are slowly evolving- people don’t want to a princess in a tower, but rather a person out in the world. Sure, it sounds great to not have to work ever again. However, I’m fairly certain that I would be bored in an instant. Amy is all of us as she tries to navigate her newly royal life!
What is your number one chick lit recommendation? Please share in the comments!