Summertime is almost here, and if you love books as much as we do, we know you’re compiling your TBR stack for the summer. Well, guess what? We’ve done it for you, finding the perfect mix of romance, women’s fiction and mystery – all southern fiction, all set at the beach and perfect for reading by the ocean, the pool or in your home while you relax and sip an iced coffee.
Grab your pen and paper and start taking notes. You’re gonna love our list of the six southern fiction beach reads you should be reading this summer!
Sunset Beach by Mary Kay Andrews
Drue Campbell’s life is adrift. Out of a job and down on her luck, life doesn’t seem to be getting any better when her estranged father, Brice Campbell, a flamboyant personal injury attorney, shows up at her mother’s funeral after a twenty-year absence. Worse, he’s remarried – to Drue’s eighth-grade frenemy, Wendy, now his office manager. And they’re offering her a job.
It seems like the job from hell, but the offer is sweetened by the news of her inheritance – her grandparents’ beach bungalow in the sleepy town of Sunset Beach, a charming but storm-damaged eyesore now surrounded by waterfront McMansions.
With no other prospects, Drue begrudgingly joins the firm, spending her days screening out the grifters whose phone calls flood the law office. Working with Wendy is no picnic either. But when a suspicious death at an exclusive beach resort nearby exposes possible corruption at her father’s firm, she goes from unwilling cubicle rat to unwitting investigator and is drawn into a case that may – or may not – involve her father. With an office romance building, a decades-old missing person case re-opened, and a cottage in rehab, one thing is for sure at Sunset Beach: there’s a storm on the horizon.
Sunset Beach author Mary Kay Andrews is a New York Times bestselling author.
Queen Bee by Dorothea Benton Frank
Beekeeper Holly McNee Jensen quietly lives in a world of her own on Sullivans Island, tending her hives and working at the local island library. Holly calls her mother The Queen Bee because she’s a demanding hulk of a woman. Her mother, a devoted hypochondriac, might be unaware that she’s quite ill but that doesn’t stop her from tormenting Holly. To escape the drama, Holly’s sister Leslie married and moved away, wanting little to do with island life. Holly’s escape is to submerge herself in the lives of the two young boys next door and their widowed father, Archie.
Her world is upended when the more flamboyant Leslie returns and both sisters, polar opposites, fixate on what’s happening in their neighbor’s home. Is Archie really in love with that awful ice queen of a woman? If Archie marries her, what will become of his little boys? Restless Leslie is desperate for validation after her imploded marriage, squandering her favors on any and all takers. Their mother ups her game in an uproarious and theatrical downward spiral. Scandalized Holly is talking to her honey bees a mile a minute, as though they’ll give her a solution to all the chaos. Maybe they will.
Queen Bee is a classic Lowcountry Tale—warm, wise and hilarious, it roars with humanity and a dropperful of whodunit added for good measure by an unseen hand. In her twentieth novel, bestselling author, Dorothea Benton Frank brings us back to her beloved island with an unforgettable story where the Lowcountry magic of the natural world collides with the beat of the human heart.
Queen Bee author Dorothea Benton Frank is a New York Times bestselling author.
Forget Me Not by Brenda Jackson
Ashley Ryan never doubted that her husband, Devon, was the love of her life. Even now, three years after Devon died in a car wreck while on a business trip, Ashley can’t bring herself to move on. But when her girlfriends surprise her with a getaway to beautiful Catalina Cove, Louisiana, she gets the shock of her life when she encounters a man—bearded, more rugged than before, but unmistakably her Devon.
“Ray Sullivan” moved to this quiet coastal town after waking up in a hospital with amnesia. Haunted by a life he can’t remember, he’s built walls around his heart and a quiet life running boat tours—a life that includes no recollection of Ashley, a woman he suddenly finds himself irresistibly drawn to.
Doctors warn Ashley of the danger in forcing her husband to remember the past. Though she longs to tell him the truth, she finds herself falling all over again for a man she knows may never truly come back to her. In this place where healing and second chances are just a heartbeat away, can love take root once more?
Forget Me Not author Brenda Jackson is a New York Times bestselling author.
No Good Tea Goes Unpunished by Bree Baker
Catering her childhood friend’s beachfront wedding was a dream come true for Everly Swan―and, with hundreds of guests in attendance, great exposure for her new iced tea shop and café. But when the well-to-do groom is found floating facedown in the surf, the locals of Charm, North Carolina, turn their suspicions to his new bride. Could she have been so desperate to lay her hands on his fortune that she arranged for his murder before they even set off on their honeymoon?
Everly knows her love-struck friend couldn’t be behind the murder, but with clues pointing in several directions, she can’t decide which wedding guest is the most likely culprit. Meanwhile, the frustratingly handsome Detective Hays has made it clear that Everly should stay out of the investigation altogether. But with a killer on the loose and a feeling that someone is watching her café very closely, Everly knows that if she can’t solve this murder soon, her cake might be iced for good.
No Good Tea Goes Unpunished is the second book in Bree Baker’s popular Seaside Café Mystery series – perfect for fans of Joanna Fluke.
The Summer House by Jenny Hale
Callie Weaver and best friend Olivia Dixon have finally done it: put their life savings into the beach house they admired through childhood summers, on the dazzling white sand of North Carolina’s Outer Banks. They’re going to buff the salt from its windows, paint its sun-bleached sidings, and open it as a bed and breakfast.
Callie’s too busy to think about her love life, but when she catches the attention of local heartthrob Luke Sullivan, his blue eyes and easy smile make it hard to say no. He’s heir to his father’s property empire, and the papers say he’s just another playboy, but as they laugh in the ocean waves, Callie realizes there’s more to this man than money and good looks.
Just when true happiness seems within reach, Callie and Olivia find a diary full of secrets… secrets that stretch across the island and have the power to turn lives upside down. As Callie reads, she unravels a mystery that makes her heart drop through the floor.
Will Callie and Luke be pulled apart by the storm it unleashes, or can true love save them?
The Summer House author Jenny Hale is a USA Today and Amazon bestselling author and has had several of her novels adapted into films for the Hallmark Channel.
Tangled Up In You by Samantha Chase
One fateful night Bobby Hannigan sustains a gunshot wound that could end his career as a police officer. If that’s taken from him, he doesn’t know what he’ll do. The only ray of hope is Teagan Shaughnessy―a kindhearted single mom who understands his struggles…
Teagan and her young son have just moved back to the Carolina coast to be near family. When she meets Bobby, the timing feels wrong, but everything else feels oh-so-right. Bobby and Teagan each had plans for their own futures. But they’re finding that those plans are meaningless if they can’t be together…
Tangled Up In You author Samantha Chase is a New York Times and USA Today bestseller of contemporary romance