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Modern Mrs. Darcy's 2020 Summer Reading Guide

Anne Bogel compiled her 30 favorite summer titles, with the tastes of Modern Mrs. Darcy readers in mind. Download the entire guide here!

Playlist Tags: genre: Fiction & Literature influencer-created season: summer topic: best of 2020

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Code Name Hélène

A Novel

By Ariel Lawhon
Narrated by: Barrie Kreinik & Peter Ganim
Length: 17 hours 17 minutes

"This fully animated portrait of Nancy Wake . . . will fascinate readers of World War II history and thrill fans of fierce, brash, independent women, alike."
--LISA WINGATE, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Before We Were Yours

BASED ON THE THRILLING REAL-LIFE STORY OF SOCIALITE SPY NANCY WAKE, comes the newest feat of historical fiction...
Read more »

Audiobook details

The Last Train to Key West

By Chanel Cleeton
Narrated by: Kyla Garcia, Rachel L. Jacobs & Karissa Vacker
Length: 9 hours 16 minutes

One of Bustle’s Most Anticipated Books of Summer 2020
 
“The perfect riveting summer read!”—BookBub
 
In 1935 three women are forever changed when one of the most powerful hurricanes in history barrels toward the Florida Keys.

 
For the tourists traveling on Henry Flagler’s legendary Overseas Railroad, Labor Day weekend is an opportunity to... Read more »

Audiobook details

This Tender Land

By William Kent Krueger
Narrated by: Scott Brick
Length: 14 hours 19 minutes

This Tender Land

“The work of a master storyteller about the making of a young storyteller, This Tender Land is a coming-of-age novel for the ages. It begins in an isolated Dickensian boarding school in Minnesota during the early years of the Depression, then morphs into the story of four runaways in a canoe à la Huckleberry Finn. On the run from their school headmistress and the law, they encounter other wanderers and escapees from life as they canoe towards St. Louis to find their only known relative and a possible home. Odie, his brother Albert, their schoolmate Mose, and newly orphaned Emmy are unforgettable characters in an unforgiving era. Epic, thrilling, and beautifully written, this is storytelling at its very best.”

The Bookstore of Glen Ellyn image Renee Barker, The Bookstore of Glen Ellyn
Audiobook details

The Jane Austen Society

A Novel

By Natalie Jenner
Narrated by: Richard Armitage
Length: 9 hours 55 minutes

The Jane Austen Society

“Utterly and wonderfully charming! The residents of Chawton, England, who seem to have nothing in common, come together by their love for the writings of Jane Austen. They quickly come to realize that true friendship depends on nothing but a caring heart and the willingness and courage to be open to others. This is a book to read again and again whenever your faith in humanity is threatened.”

Sandi Madore image Sandi Madore, Magnolia's Bookstore
Audiobook details

Simon the Fiddler

A Novel

By Paulette Jiles
Narrated by: Grover Gardner
Length: 11 hours 39 minutes

Simon the Fiddler

“Texas is not a typical setting for a novel staged at the end of the Civil War and the chaotic months immediately after. A skinny fiddle player and an indentured servant are not the typical romantic western protagonists. But the story of these two, along with a host of lovable and despicable support characters, vivid descriptions of the country and culture of Texas in the mid-1860s make Simon the Fiddler a winner. Add in the masterful voice of narrator Grover Gardner and this is an unforgettable audiobook experience.”

Rediscovered Books image Becky, Rediscovered Books
Audiobook details

Lovely War

By Julie Berry
Narrated by: Jayne Entwistle, Allan Corduner, Julie Berry, Dion Graham, Fiona Hardingham, John Lee, Nathaniel Parker & Steve West
Length: 12 hours 56 minutes

Lovely War

“One of the best, most unique novels I've read recently! The story of four young lovers during WW1, as told by the Greek Gods during a trial for Aphrodite. The audio cast is amazing, bringing to life the delights of first loves, the heartaches of separation, and the brutal truth of war. Simply perfect!”

Fountain Bookstore image Kate, Fountain Bookstore
Audiobook details

Musical Chairs

A Novel

By Amy Poeppel
Narrated by: Amanda Carlin, Matthew Lloyd Davies, Gibson Frazier, Fred Sanders, Jackie Sanders & Carly Robins
Length: 12 hours 39 minutes

Musical Chairs

“I found Musical Chairs to be an utter delight. This is my first Amy Poppel novel and it certainly will not be my last. Bridget and Will have been best friends since they were students Julliard. They also play in a trio together. They are now in the trenches of middle age and have gone through all of life's ups and downs together. Bridget inherited an old broken-down cottage in Connecticut which is filled with memories. She had high hopes for a romantic Summer with the current love of her life, Sterling. Unfortunately, Sterling backs out and Will ends up visiting along with her two adult children. The cottage soon becomes full of activity as well as quirky characters. I found this story to be very entertaining. Poppel has a gift for creating colorful, likable characters. The narration was music to my ears. No pun intended.”

Buttonwood Books and Toys image Melinda, Buttonwood Books and Toys
Audiobook details

I Was Told it Would Get Easier

By Abbi Waxman
Narrated by: Lisa Flanagan & Bailey Carr
Length: 8 hours 45 minutes

I Was Told it Would Get Easier

“Mother and daughter pair Jessica and Emily find themselves on a week-long bus trip up the East Coast visiting exclusive colleges. All Jessica wants is for Emily to attend a good school that will secure her future, but Emily's not even sure she wants to go to college. Both mother and daughter have secrets to hide and this pointed novel gets to the bottom of the relationship in a loving and very funny way.”

Blue Willow Bookshop image Cathy, Blue Willow Bookshop
Audiobook details

When you shop at your local bookstore, you are directly supporting and enriching your own community with your purchases—and your tax dollars.

Join the movement and #ShopLocalBookstores.

Learn more

I'd Give Anything

A Novel

By Marisa de los Santos
Narrated by: Caitlin Kelly
Length: 9 hours 14 minutes

I'd Give Anything

“A beautifully written story of identity lost and found, friendship, the love of a mother for her child, and what happens when decades-old secrets are brought to light. Ginny is married with a teenage daughter when her husband’s scandal threatens to bring her world crashing down around her. Strong female relationships take the lead as Ginny strives to protect her daughter and reckons with her past. Highly recommend.”

Main Street Books Davidson image Jessica Nock, Main Street Books Davidson
Audiobook details

The Vanishing Half

A Novel

By Brit Bennett
Narrated by: Shayna Small
Length: 11 hours 33 minutes

The Vanishing Half

“Within the first few pages of The Vanishing Half, I knew I was reading something special. In this slow-burn novel, twins Desiree and Stella grow up in Mallard, a small black community in segregated Louisiana that prides itself on the lightness of its people’s skin. At sixteen, the twins flee from Mallard after their mother pulls them out of school to work cleaning white people’s houses, sacrificing the familiarity of home, the safety of their community, and the predictable trajectory of their lives. In New Orleans, the twins begin their new lives together, but eventually Stella takes off on her own, choosing to live the rest of her life “passing” as white; Desiree marries a dark-skinned man, has a child who looks like him, and ends up living back in Mallard. The consequences of the twins’ life choices unfold throughout the book, from the 1950s to the 1990s, and include the lives (and perspectives) of their daughters, Kennedy and Jude. The Vanishing Half is a fascinating story about family relationships, identity, and belonging, and I savored every page.”

Phinney Books image Anika, Phinney Books
Audiobook details

Sea Wife

A novel

By Amity Gaige
Narrated by: Emily Eiden, Cassandra Campbell & Will Damron
Length: 9 hours 45 minutes

Sea Wife

“Wherever you go, your anxieties go with you — even (or especially) if you go live on a boat to sail the world with your spouse and small children. Nothing will ever be the same for Juliet, Michael, and their family after their harrowing year at sea, and no reader will be the same after reading this taut, brilliant novel. I can’t stop thinking about it.”

Parnassus Books image Mary Laura Philpott, Parnassus Books
Audiobook details

The End of October

A novel

By Lawrence Wright
Narrated by: Mark Bramhall
Length: 13 hours 25 minutes

“An eerily prescient novel about a devastating virus that begins in Asia before going global . . . A page-turner that has the earmarks of an instant bestseller.” New York Post
 
“Featuring accounts of past plagues and pandemics, descriptions of pathogens and how they work, and dark notes about global warming, the book produces deep shudders . .... Read more »

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The City We Became

A Novel
The Great Cities Trilogy: Book #1

By N. K. Jemisin
Narrated by: Robin Miles
Length: 16 hours 12 minutes

If you enjoyed Lovecraft Country, then you’ll love The City We Became.

“Enthralling and just a half step away from reality. The audio book performance adds a depth and resonance that transforms the text giving an already incredible read tangible texture.”

Odyssey Bookshop image Tegan, Odyssey Bookshop
Audiobook details

Strike Me Down

A Novel

By Mindy Mejia
Narrated by: Samantha Desz, George Newbern & Allyson Ryan
Length: 8 hours 35 minutes

In this “whip-smart thriller featuring a brilliant female protagonist, a finely-tuned plot, and some truly spectacular writing” (Cristina Alger, USA TODAY bestselling author) from the author of Leave No Trace, a high stakes crime triggers a woman’s complicated and potentially deadly search for the truth.

Nora Trier catches thieves. As a forensic... Read more »

Audiobook details

Big Summer

A Novel

By Jennifer Weiner
Narrated by: Danielle Macdonald
Length: 10 hours 54 minutes

Big Summer

“I have never read or listened to anything by Jennifer Weiner before, I thought would be a bit too fluffy for me. I was really surprised to find that I really enjoyed this audio. This story about friendship, loyalty, being comfortable with yourself and staying true to yourself, was very well written and I also really enjoyed the narration. I liked it even more once I got to the twist and realized there was a bit of a mystery thrown in! I very much enjoyed listening to this audio. I highly recommend this one to get your summer reading/listening started!!”

Gottwals Books image Julie, Gottwals Books
Audiobook details

Tweet Cute

A Novel

By Emma Lord
Narrated by: Dan Bittner & Emily Shaffer
Length: 10 hours 8 minutes

A fresh, irresistible rom-com from debut author Emma Lord about the chances we take, the paths life can lead us on, and how love can be found in the opposite place you expected.

Meet Pepper
, swim team captain, chronic overachiever, and all-around perfectionist. Her family may be falling apart, but their massive fast-food chain is booming — mainly... Read more »

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Loveboat, Taipei

By Abigail Hing Wen
Narrated by: Emily Woo Zeller
Length: 11 hours 2 minutes

Loveboat, Taipei

“Ever Wong’s loving, but very strict, Chinese American parents expect her to go to medical school to assume the profession her father gave up when they moved to America to provide her with a better life. But Ever, an accomplished dancer, has dreams of her own. When her parents send her to an elite summer school program in Taipei to study her cultural heritage and language, a whole new world opens up for Ever. The freedom to skip classes, break rules, and explore new friendships leads to plenty of eye-opening experiences and busting of long-held stereotypes. But will Ever figure out how to balance her life in both of her worlds and maybe even fall in love? Remember the old saying, “Don’t judge a book by its cover”? Despite what you might assume from a glance, this story is so much more than a teen romance novel.”

Rediscovered Books image Becky, Rediscovered Books
Audiobook details

Throw Like a Girl

By Sarah Henning
Narrated by: Devon Hales
Length: 9 hours 14 minutes

Friday Night Lightsmeets Morgan Matson's The Unexpected Everything in this contemporary debut where swoonworthy romance meets underdog sports story.

When softball star Liv Rodinsky throws one ill-advised punch during the most important game of the year, she loses her scholarship to her fancy private school, her boyfriend, and her teammates all... Read more »

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Girl, Serpent, Thorn

By Melissa Bashardoust
Narrated by: Nikki Massoud
Length: 10 hours 6 minutes

Girl, Serpent, Thorn

“Not just another gratifying powerful girl story: an intensely imagined, emotionally realistic, absorbing adventure, packed with rich realizations about a woman's anger, a mother's love, a young person's desire to change the world. The author has tapped the Shanameh and Zoroastrian beliefs to build a unique fantasy world in which the main character can explore issues of power and value while testing the waters of affection. Amazing descriptions of rose gardens, hidden halls, moths, and Soraya's magical power/curse. Queer and POC positive (and not pedantic).”

The Haunted Bookshop image Nialle, The Haunted Bookshop
Audiobook details

Tell Me Three Things

By Julie Buxbaum
Narrated by: Jorjeana Marie
Length: 8 hours 54 minutes

A New York Times Bestseller


What if the person you need the most is someone you’ve never met?

 
Funny and romantic, this tug-at-your-heartstrings contemporary YA debut is perfect for readers of Rainbow Rowell, Jennifer Niven, and E. Lockhart.

Everything about Jessie is wrong. At least, that’s what it feels like during her first week as a junior at... Read more »

Audiobook details