10 brilliant books by women to read this summer

Looking for a scintillating read to pack in your suitcase? Or something to sweep you off to sunnier climes while you enjoy a staycation? Either way, we’ve got a bunch of brilliant reads which all deserve a spot on your sun lounger (perhaps alongside a cheeky iced coffee and Baileys! Scroll down for the recipe).

The Shore by Sara Taylor

Journey to ‘The Shore,’ a collection of tiny islands off the coast of Virginia, in which wild ponies and quaint, unkempt dwellings meet murder and dark magic. Sara Taylor’s bewitching debut will transport you to a far away place even if all you’re planning is a staycation this year.

The Bees by Laline Paull

Likened to Game of Thrones, but with insects, The Bees is bound to keep you on the edge of your seat (deckchair or otherwise). Laline Paull’s unique tale follows Flora 717, a sanitation bee, the lowest class of her society. Yet Flora is different, possessing talents forbidden and strange to her kin. We guarantee you’ll be hooked as Flora struggles for survival in her hive where ‘mutant’ bees are routinely destroyed.

The Improbability of Love by Hannah Rothschild

Half comic satire of the art world, half enchanting love story; Hannah Rothschild’s first novel is a beach read with a difference. Shortlisted for this year’s Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction, our judges praised its originality and wit, you’d be well advised to make a little space in your suitcase for this one.

The Country of Ice Cream Star by Sandra Newman

Sandra Newman plunges you into an America devastated by a strange virus known as Posies. This America is populated only by children who perish before their 20th birthday. You’ll find yourself  cheering on Ice Cream Star, our unlikely but charismatic 15-year-old heroine, as she takes on the world, hellbent on finding a cure for this disease.

NW by Zadie Smith

In preparation for Zadie Smith’s long awaited new novel Swing Time, out this Autumn, why not read her most recent novel NW? Following four Londoners as they try to make their way in the world outside of their North-West London council estate, NW is both brutal and beautiful in its portrayal of urban life.

Where’d you go Bernadette by Maria Semple

Semple’s hilarious and witty epistolary novel, is a unique and surprising look at an unconventional mother-daughter relationship, tracing the backstory of the eccentric Bernadette and her daughter Bee through a series of emails, letters and even a transcribed TED Talk. This is the perfect summer read to make you want to take off on an impromptu adventure.

A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan

This novel will sweep you up in a flurry of crazy characters, pulsing music and age-old questions and not let you go until you’ve turned the final page. Told through vivid anecdotes from former punk rockers, roadies, fans, and including a whole chapter told through as a Powerpoint presentation, this is a wild ride of a book.

Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

This year Half of a Yellow Sun celebrates a decade since publication, it’s now heralded as a classic and was crowned Best of the Best of the Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction winners of the last twenty years. Adichie weaves an unforgettable tale populated by vivid characters caught up in the horrors, hopes and disappointment of the Biafran war – discover it if you haven’t already.

Brick Lane by Monica Ali

An enthralling glimpse into the chaos of East London life through the eyes of Nazneen, a Bangladeshi immigrant. Ali beautifully captures both the opportunity and colour, and the isolation and despair Nazneen experiences whilst anchored to an arranged marriage to a husband some 20 years her senior.

Whispers Through a Megaphone by Rachel Elliot

A wonderfully clever look at the way we struggle to make meaningful relationships in our age of hyper-connectedness, instead relying on a ‘retweet’ or a ‘like’ to convey how we feel. This 2016 Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction longlistee is the ideal read to take along with you if you’re planning a bit of a digital detox this summer.

How about indulging in an iced coffee and Baileys alongside your book? It’s as easy as can be…

Baileys Iced Coffee


50ml Baileys® Original Irish Cream Liqueur
100ml coffee


Brew coffee and allow to cool.
Pour Baileys and coffee into a tall, ice-filled glass.
0.9 units per serve

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