By Maisie Jane Garvin, Juliette Tulloch and Monique Rosa McClymont
Although travel restrictions may still be in place, summer is still around the corner and there is no better time to use reading as a means of escapism. With longer and lighter days, the romance genre seems the perfect fit for this season. Compiled below is a mix of binge-worthy summer romances that will take their reader on a series of summery adventures like watching the sunset on a beach in a tropical climate, taking a road trip, or wandering round a foreign city.
The Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren
The Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren – pen name for writing duo Christina Hobbs and Lauren Billings – was published by Gallery Books in 2019 and follows middle-aged Olive and her unexpected holiday to Hawaii. After a case of food poisoning knocks down all of Olive’s sister’s wedding guests, including the newlyweds, Olive finds herself with a free holiday with the only other unaffected guest: the best man and Olive’s enemy, Ethan. This holiday romance doesn’t just cover their growing relationship but also themes of friendship, career and family. The vibrant cover design is a clear homage to Hawaii and the comedic situation Olive finds herself in, whereas the 2020 edition has a more toned-down colour palette that focuses on the silhouettes of the unlikely couple. Ella Laytham designed this edition’s cover art and you can find out more about her work and career on her website.
The Road Trip by Beth O’Leary
The Road Trip by Beth O’Leary is an endearing and humorous read, published just in time to make it onto your summer 2021 reading list. Author of the international bestseller The Flatshare, O’Leary describes the stories she writes as uplifting – ‘the sort of books you reach for when you need a hug’ – and The Road Trip is no different. Shortly after embarking on an epic road trip to a wedding in Scotland with her sister, Addie suddenly finds herself stuck on a 400-mile drive with her ex, Dylan, who she’s avoided since their messy break-up two years ago. The cover design by Helen Crawford-White, head of an award-winning design studio, is a perfect fit for the narrative, as it is symbolic of Addie and Dylan’s romantic history and current situation. Red, the colour of love, is used for the book’s title and the car in which the pair find themselves, with the “LOVE” registration plate, symbolic of the destination in which they may be headed. Playfully, the clothing spilling out of the boot not only demonstrates how crammed with luggage the car is, but also symbolises their emotional baggage. To see more of Helen Crawford-White’s designs, head to her website.
You and Me on Vacation by Emily Henry
You and Me on Vacation by Emily Henry is one of 2021’s most talked about summer romance releases. In fact, Henry herself is quite the superstar in the book community with both You and Me on Vacation and her 2020 release Beach Read capturing the hearts of many over on BookTok and Bookstagram. What is interesting about this release is not only the change of cover from the U.S release, which is a normal procedure within the industry, but the change in name of the book itself. Published in the US as People we Meet on Vacation, the title change to You and Me on Vacation seems peculiar, especially since “vacation” isn’t a word commonly used within British vocabulary. Despite this, the U.K cover is the epitome of summertime. With the vibrant pinks and blues and the almost cartoon-like graphic of the two main characters relaxing by a pool, readers should be ready to be transported on holiday with Poppy and Alex. The paperback version is set to release on 22 July, so mark the day in your calendar!
Love and Gelato by Jenna Evans Welch
Love and Gelato by Jenna Evans Welch was published in 2017 and is popular within the genre as a light-hearted romance, making it a quick yet enjoyable summer read. Love and Gelato can instantly whisk a reader away to a summer in Italy with its setting of Tuscany, where the protagonist Lina’s romance with her sexy Italian neighbour and her own journey of self-discovery. The cover design by London artist and illustrator Sam Brewster, is the perfect match for the narrative inside. Brewster states on his website that he likes to “use images to translate abstract concepts into reliable narratives.” With the bottom of the cover showing the Florence skyline and the surrounding Tuscan area, and the title of the book almost melting into the sky-blue background like clouds, we are able to see Brewster’s vision with Evans Welch’s novel. You can find out more about Sam Brewster and his work on his website.