It can be difficult for moms to find some down time away from the hustle and bustle of daily life, especially in the summer when kids are off from school. With all the chaos of life, it’s important to find some time to yourself, even if it’s just for twenty minutes a day. Pick a time when the kids are at camp, or pull up a lounge chair while they play in the yard, and read a book. Getting lost in a great book can feel like a vacation, without actually leaving the house and it actually sets a good reading example for kids.
Photo credit: Newlyn Art Gallery
I’ve compiled a list of summer reads that are perfect for those precious moments when you can just relax and hide away in the pages of an intriguing story. Whether light and fun or rich and thought-provoking, you’ll definitely want to find some time to treat yourself to these amazing summer reads! All book descriptions are from goodreads.com.
6 Perfect Summer Reads for Moms:
Lost Lake by Sarah Addison Allen
Suley, Georgia, is home to Lost Lake Cottages and not much else. Which is why it’s the perfect place for newly-widowed Kate and her eccentric eight-year-old daughter Devin to heal. Kate spent one memorable childhood summer at Lost Lake, had her first almost-kiss at Lost Lake, and met a boy named Wes at Lost Lake. It was a place for dreaming. But Kate doesn’t believe in dreams anymore, and her Aunt Eby, Lost Lake’s owner, wants to sell the place and move on. Lost Lake’s magic is gone. As Kate discovers that time has a way of standing still at Lost Lake can she bring the cottages—and her heart—back to life? Because sometimes the things you love have a funny way of turning up again. And sometimes you never even know they were lost… until they are found.
It is 1930, the midst of the Great Depression. After her mysterious role in a family tragedy, passionate, strong-willed Thea Atwell, age fifteen, has been cast out of her Florida home, exiled to an equestrienne boarding school for Southern debutantes. High in the Blue Ridge Mountains, with its complex social strata ordered by money, beauty, and girls’ friendships, the Yonahlossee Riding Camp for Girls is a far remove from the free-roaming, dreamlike childhood Thea shared with her twin brother on their family’s citrus farm—a world now partially shattered. As Thea grapples with her responsibility for the events of the past year that led her here, she finds herself enmeshed in a new order, one that will change her sense of what is possible for herself, her family, her country. Weaving provocatively between home and school, the narrative powerfully unfurls the true story behind Thea’s expulsion from her family, but it isn’t long before the mystery of her past is rivaled by the question of how it will shape her future. Part scandalous love story, part heartbreaking family drama, The Yonahlossee Riding Camp for Girls is an immersive, transporting page-turner—a vivid, propulsive novel about sex, love, family, money, class, home, and horses, all set against the ominous threat of the Depression—and the major debut of an important new writer.
The Silver Star by Jeannette Walls
It is 1970 in a small town in California. ‘Bean’ Holladay is twelve and her sister, Liz, is fifteen when their artistic mother, Charlotte, a woman who found something wrong with every place she ever lived, takes off to find herself, leaving her girls enough money to last a month or two. When Bean returns from school one day and sees a police car outside the house, she and Liz decide to take the bus to Virginia, where their Uncle Tinsley lives in the decaying mansion that’s been in Charlotte’s family for generations. An impetuous optimist, Bean soon discovers who her father was, and hears many stories about why their mother left Virginia in the first place. Because money is tight, Liz and Bean start babysitting and doing office work for Jerry Maddox, foreman of the mill in town;a big man who bullies his workers, his tenants, his children, and his wife. Bean adores her whip-smart older sister;inventor of word games, reader of Edgar Allan Poe, nonconformist. But when school starts in the fall, it’s Bean who easily adjusts and makes friends, and Liz who becomes increasingly withdrawn. And then something happens to Liz.
Gloria by Kerry Young
Jamaica, 1938. Gloria Campbell is sixteen years old when a single violent act alters the course of her life forever. Taking along her younger sister, she flees their hometown to forge a new life in Kingston. But in a capital city awash with change, a black woman is still treated as a second-class citizen. From a room in a boarding house and a job at a supply store, Gloria finds her way to a house of ill repute on the edge of the city, intrigued by the glamorous, financially independent women within.It is an unlikely place to meet the love of your life, but here she encounters Pao, a Chinatown racketeer and a loyal customer who will become something more. It is also an unlikely place to gain a passion for social justice, but it is one of the house’s proprietors who instills in Gloria new ideas about the rights of women and all humankind, eventually propelling her to Cuba, where even greater change is underway, and where Gloria must choose between the life she has made for herself and the one that might be.
Stern Men by Elizabeth Gilbert
John Irving wishes. That he could be as mordantly funny as Elizabeth Gilbert, that is. With the publication of her first novel, Stern Men, Gilbert has been widely compared to New England’s unofficial novelist laureate. And the comparison is a natural; this writer gives us a tough, lovable heroine against an iconoclastic, rural backdrop. Ruth Thomas grows up on Fort Niles Island, off the coast of Maine, among lobstermen, lobster boats, and, well, lobsters. There’s just not much out there besides ocean. Abandoned by her mother, she lives sometimes with her dad and sometimes with her beautiful neighbor, Mrs. Pommeroy, and the seven idiot Pommeroy boys. Eventually she is plucked from obscurity by the wealthy Ellises—vacationers on Fort Niles for some hundred years—and sent, against her will, to a fancy boarding school in Delaware. (Sorting out her relationship with this highly manipulative family is one of the novel’s crooked joys.) Now she has returned, and is casting about for something to do. What Ruth does (hang around with her eccentric island friends, fall in love, organize the lobstermen) makes for an engaging book that’s all the more charming for its rather lumpy, slow-paced plotting. Gilbert delivers a kind of delicious ethnography of lobster-fishing culture, if such a thing is possible, as well as a love story and a bildungsroman. But best of all, she possesses an ear for the ridiculous ways people communicate. One of Mrs. Pommeroy’s young sons, “in addition to having the local habit of not pronouncing r at the end of a word—could not say any word that started with r…. What’s more, for a long time everyone on Fort Niles Island imitated him. Over the whole spread of the island, you could hear the great strong fishermen complaining that they had to mend their wopes or fix their wigging or buy a new short-wave wadio.”
Prodigal Summer by Barbara Kingsolver
Prodigal Summer weaves together three stories of human love within a larger tapestry of lives inhabiting the forested mountains and struggling small farms of southern Appalachia. From her outpost in an isolated mountain cabin, Deanna Wolfe, a reclusive wildlife biologist, watches a den of coyotes that have recently migrated into the region. She is caught off-guard by a young hunter who invades her most private spaces and confounds her self-assured, solitary life. On a farm several miles down the mountain, Lusa Maluf Landowski, a bookish city girl turned farmer’s wife, finds herself unexpectedly marooned in a strange place where she must declare or lose her attachment to the land that has become her own. And a few more miles down the road, a pair of elderly feuding neighbours tend their respective farms and wrangle about God, pesticides, and the possibilities of a future neither of them expected.
Which ones of these summer reads appeal to you the most? Have you read any of them yet? Feel free to share your thoughts and summer read suggestions!