Looking for a beach read that has some substance? Here are four books that promise to have both, and there’s a bonus: Each of these books was the basis for a classic film that you can watch once you’re finished. How cool is that?
1. Laura, by Vera Caspary. Laura is a murder mystery with a twist. Laura Hunt was found murdered in her apartment on a hot summer day in New York City, and Detective Mark McPherson is determined to bring her killer to justice. Then Laura comes home from a few days in the country, alive and well and quite unaware of what has happened. So just who was the young woman killed in Laura’s apartment, and who would want Laura dead?
2. Georgy Girl, by Margaret Forster. Dance teacher Georgy is large, dowdy, and awkward, but she’s also extremely kind and vivacious. When her selfish roommate Meredith ends up pregnant by her boyfriend Jos, it’s Georgy who steps up to take care of the baby after Meredith abandons it. Jos decides he wants to help with the baby, but Georgy didn’t expect that he would fall in love with her, either. Then Mr. Leamington, the wealthy, middle-aged man who helped put Georgy through school and supports her dance school, makes his feelings known for her, and proposes an arrangement that Georgy is tempted to say yes to. Can Georgy learn to live her life for herself instead of for other people?
3. Show Boat, by Edna Ferber. Show Boat tells the story of three generations of a family that operates a showboat from the mid- to late-nineteenth century to the late 1920s. It focuses mostly on the women of the family: grandmother Parthenia Hawks, daughter Magnolia, and granddaughter Kim. Through the three generations of women, Ferber covers the historical changes in the United States and questions what success and progress actually mean.
4. Now, Voyager, by Olive Higgins Prouty. Charlotte Vale is slowly breaking apart as a meek woman who submits to her mother’s every whim. It’s only through her sister-in-law’s intervention that she’s sent to a sanitarium and slowly begins to figure out who she is on her own. After her stay in the hospital, she embarks on a voyage to Europe, where she meets and falls in love with a married man. Once she returns home, Charlotte must find a way to steel herself against her mother’s repressive rule and make a life for herself.
Hopefully there’s something here that captures your interest…and that these reads make your summer interesting!