Try a Taste of: Contemporary Fiction on the Beach

Published Monday, August 16, 2021

The perfect “beach read” will look different for each person. For some, it’s a light novel with a predictable plot, allowing you to set it aside for other activities and then slip seamlessly back into the story when you come back. For others, it’s a heavier book with an intricate plot that you haven’t had the opportunity to focus on until now. Regardless of your perfect idea of a beach read, or if you’ll actually be reading on a beach this summer, each of the books in this blog series will take you on your own mini vacation. This week, check out these contemporary fiction novels set on or near the beach!

Plot Summaries from Publisher.

The Islanders
by Meg Mitchell Moore

Anthony Puckett was a rising literary star. The son of an uber-famous thriller writer, Anthony’s debut novel spent two years on the bestseller list and won the adoration of critics. But something went very wrong with his second work. Now Anthony’s borrowing an old college’s friend’s crumbling beach house on Block Island in the hopes that solitude will help him get back to the person he used to be.

Joy Sousa owns and runs Block Island’s beloved whoopie pie café. She came to this quiet space eleven years ago, newly divorced and with a young daughter, and built a life for them here. To her customers and friends, Joy is a model of independence, hard-working and happy. And mostly she is. But this summer she’s thrown off balance. A food truck from a famous New York City brand is roving around the island, selling goodies—and threatening her business.

Lu Trusdale is spending the summer on her in-laws’ dime, living on Block Island with her two young sons while her surgeon husband commutes to the mainland hospital. When Lu’s second son was born, she and her husband made a deal: he’d work and she’d quit her corporate law job to stay home with the boys. But a few years ago, Lu quietly began working on a private project that has becoming increasingly demanding on her time. Torn between her work and home, she’s beginning to question that deal she made.

Over the twelve short weeks of summer, these three strangers will meet and grow close, will share secrets and bury lies. And as the promise of June turns into the chilly nights of August, the truth will come out, forcing each of them to decide what they value most, and what they are willing to give up to keep it.

Available Digitally
Hoopla (ebook and audiobook)
Overdrive/Libby (ebook)

Request in Catalog
A Beach Wish
by Shelley Noble

Zoe Bascombe has never said no to her family. When she blew her Julliard audition, she caved to their wishes and went to business school. But when her mother dies and leaves instructions for Zoe to spread her ashes at a place called Wind Chime Beach, she defies her brothers and starts out for a New England town none of them has ever heard of and discovers a side of her garden club mother that her wildest dreams hadn’t imagined.

Zoe has another family.

Her first instinct is to run home. Instead she is caught in the middle of her feuding new relatives. With one family fighting among themselves and the other not speaking to her, Zoe must somehow find a way to bridge her new life with her old.

For the first time in her life, Zoe must make a stand for her family—both of them. If only she can only figure out how.

Her answer lies at Wind Chime Beach where for generations people have come to add their chimes to the ones already left among the trees. And when the wind blows and the air fills with music, their secrets, dreams, and hopes are sent into the world. There’s a message for Zoe here—if she has the courage to open her heart.

Available Digitally
Cloud Library (ebook)
Hoopla (ebook and audiobook)
Overdrive/Libby (ebook)

Request in Catalog
Family Reunion
by Nancy Thayer

Eleanor Sunderland loves living on the Nantucket cliffside, in a charming home that has been in her family for decades. Now widowed, she looks forward to the arrival of her children and grandchildren for an annual family reunion, eager for the life and laughter that will soon fill the air.

But Eleanor's island idyll is shattered when her money-driven children suggest she sell the house and move to a retirement community. She finds a lone ally in her twenty-two-year-old granddaughter, Ari, who moves in with her for the summer. Ari longs for a change of scenery, to stray from the path her parents have set for her. What she does not expect is an electric romantic spark with a Nantucket local, Cal, whose kind heart and charisma have her absolutely smitten.

With plenty of her signature Nantucket magic, Nancy Thayer brings both Eleanor and Ari on a summer beyond their wildest imaginations, filled with exciting connections, old and new.

Available Digitally
Cloud Library (ebook)
Overdrive/Libby (ebook)

Request in Catalog
A Walk Along the Beach
by Debbie Macomber

The Lakey sisters are perfect opposites. After their mother died and their father was lost in grief, Willa had no choice but to raise her sister, Harper, and their brother, Lucas. Then, as an adult, she put her own life on hold to nurse Harper through a terrifying illness. Now that Harper is better and the sisters are living as roommates, Willa has realized her dream of running her own bakery and coffee shop, bringing her special brand of caretaking to the whole Oceanside community.

Harper, on the other hand, is always on the go. Overcoming a terrible illness has given her a new lease on life, and she does not intend to waste it. When Harper announces her plan to summit Mount Rainier, Willa fears she may be pushing herself too far. Harper, for her part, urges Willa to stop worrying and do something outside of her comfort zone—like taking a chance on love with a handsome new customer.

Sean O’Malley is as charming as he is intriguing—a freelance photographer whose assignments take him to the ends of the earth. Soon Willa’s falling for him in a way that is both exciting and terrifying. But life has taught Willa to hedge her bets, and she wonders whether the potential heartache is worth the risk.

Life has more challenges in store for them all. But both sisters will discover that even in the darkest moments, family is everything.

Available Digitally
Cloud Library (ebook and audiobook)
Overdrive/Libby (ebook and audiobook)

Request in Catalog
One Perfect Summer
by Brenda Novak

When Serenity Alston swabbed her cheek for 23andMe, she joked about uncovering some dark ancestral scandal. The last thing she expected was to discover two half sisters she didn't know existed. Suddenly, everything about her loving family is drawn into question. And meeting these newfound sisters might be the only way to get answers.

Serenity has always found solace at her family's Lake Tahoe cabin, so what better place for the three women to dig into the mystery that has shaken the foundation each of them was raised on? With Reagan navigating romantic politics at her New York City advertising firm, and Lorelei staring down the collapse of her marriage, all three women are converging at a crossroads in their lives. Before the summer is over, they'll have to confront the paths they walked to get there and determine how to move forward when everything they previously thought to be true was a lie.

But any future is easier to face with family by your side.

Available Digitally
Cloud Library (ebook and audiobook)
Hoopla (ebook and audiobook)
Overdrive/Libby (ebook and audiobook)

Request in Catalog
The Path to Sunshine Cove
by RaeAnne Thayne

With a past like hers, Jessica Clayton feels safer in a life spent on the road. She's made a career out of helping others downsize--because she's learned the hard way that the less "stuff," the better, a policy she applies equally to her relationships. But a new client is taking Jess back to Cape Sanctuary, a town she once called home...and that her little sister, Rachel, still does. The years apart haven't made a dent in the guilt Jess still carries after a handgun took the lives of both their parents and changed everything between them.

While Jess couldn't wait to put the miles between her and Cape Sanctuary, Rachel put down roots, content for the world--and her sister--to think she has a picture-perfect life. But with the demands of her youngest child's disability, Rachel's marriage has begun to fray at the seams. She needs her sister now more than ever, yet she's learned from painful experience that Jessica doesn't do family, and she shouldn't count on her now.

Against her judgment, Jess finds herself becoming attached--to her sister and her family, even to her client's interfering son, Nate--and it's time to put everything on the line. Does she continue running from her painful past, or stay put and make room for the love and joy that come along with it?

Available Digitally
Cloud Library (ebook and audiobook)
Hoopla (audiobook)
Overdrive/Libby (ebook and audiobook)

Request in Catalog
Lighthouse Beach
by Shelley Noble

When Lillo Gray pulls up to Kennebunkport’s most exclusive hotel wearing a borrowed dress and driving a borrowed VW van, she knows she’s made a big mistake. She’s not even sure why Jessica Parker invited her to her posh wedding. They haven’t seen each other since they were unhappy fourteen-year-old girls at fat camp. And now they’re from two completely different worlds. There’s no way Lillo fits in the rarefied circles Jessica travels in.

Jess isn’t sure she’s ready to go through with this wedding, but she’s been too busy making everyone else happy to think about what she wants. But when she and her two closest friends, Allie and Diana, along with Lillo, discover her fiancé with his pants down in the hotel parking lot, she’s humiliated…and slightly relieved. In a rush to escape her crumbling life, Jess, Allie, and Diana pile into Lillo’s beat-up old van and head up the coast to Lighthouse Island. Once there, she hopes to figure out the next chapter in her life.

Nursing broken hearts and broken dreams, four lost women embark on a journey to find their way back into happiness with new love, friendship, and the healing power of Lighthouse Beach.

Available Digitally
Hoopla (ebook and audiobook)
Overdrive/Libby (ebook)

Request in Catalog
Cottage by the Sea
by Debbie Macomber

Annie Marlow has been through the worst. Rocked by tragedy, she heads to the one place that makes her happy: Oceanside in the Pacific Northwest, the destination of many family vacations when Annie was a teenager.

Once there, Annie begins to restore her broken spirit, thanks in part to the folks she meets: a local painter, Keaton, whose large frame is equal to his big heart—and who helps Annie fix up her rental cottage by the sea; Mellie, the reclusive, prickly landlord Annie is determined to befriend; and Britt, a teenager with a terrible secret. But it is Keaton to whom Annie feels most drawn. His quiet, peaceful nature offers her both comfort and reprieve from her grief, and the two begin to grow closer.

Then events threaten to undo the idyll Annie has come to enjoy. And when the opportunity of a lifetime lands in her lap, she is torn between the excitement of a new journey toward success and the safe and secure arms of the haven—and the man—she’s come to call home.

In this heartwarming tale, Annie finds that the surest way to fix what is damaged within is to help others rise above their pain and find a way to heal.

Available Digitally
Cloud Library (ebook and audiobook)
Overdrive/Libby (ebook and audiobook)

Request in Catalog
About the Author

Kaylee is a Circulation Clerk and has been working at the library since 2018. She loves reading fantasy, has a particular weak spot for reimagined fairytales, and can most often be found in the Youth Library helping reluctant and enthusiastic readers alike find the perfect book.