Summer’s here, holidays beckon… and time to slip Karen Swan’s sizzling blockbuster into your suitcase.
No book-loving girl will want to head off to the sea, sand and sun without this glamorous, funny and ravishingly romantic travelling companion close by their side.
Because if it’s exotic locations, passion with a capital P, a dash of dark dealings and a delicious dollop of mystery you crave, then Karen Swan’s The Summer Without You provides them in bucketfuls.
Since her first novel, Players, was published in 2010, Swan has been riding high on the crest of a wave with a string of gorgeous novels which offer fun but clever escapism for the thinking woman.
The Summer Without You follows her tried-and-tested formula of love stories with tantalising twists and turns, and an unexpected edginess, as she whisks us away to the legendary Hamptons, Manhattan’s elite beach scene where ‘beautiful people’ while away the long, hot days.
Rowena (Ro) Tipton and Matt Martin have been ‘an item’ for the past 11 years… they share a home and a good life together so when Matt announces that he wants to press the ‘pause’ button on their relationship, Ro is devastated.
After declaring that they both need to ‘freshen things up’ and take the opportunity to ‘be selfish for the last time,’ Matt reveals that he has already booked a six-month trip to Asia.
Ro, a professional photographer, decides she will have to find her own adventure to fill up the months ahead and so accepts a wedding assignment in New York
A chance encounter there with laidback doctor-turned-waiter Humphrey (Hump) Slater leads to an audition for a coveted house-share at his magnificent, family-owned villa in the Hamptons and suddenly Ro has a ‘new life’ with America’s richest people.
Her three eclectic housemates are the irrepressible Hump, straight-talking, feisty architect Bobbi and good-looking ‘ladykiller’ Greg, and before her stretch long days on white-sand beaches and parties on gilded tennis courts.
But high rewards bring high stakes and Ro soon finds herself caught in the crossfire of a vicious local environmental campaign. Alone for the first time in her adult life and at the mercy of strangers, she has no one to turn to but a man who is everything she doesn’t want… but possibly everything she needs.
Swan’s refreshingly uncomplicated writing flows as sweetly as the tides at the Hamptons in a story that is both intriguing and bewitching.
The Summer Without You is this year’s holiday must-read, a delightful concoction of sparkling characters, fabulous scenery, adventure, intrigue, drama and lashings of romance.
Don’t leave home without it…
(Pan, paperback, £7.99)