Little Beach Street Bakery by Jenny Colgan

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Polly’s life has fallen apart. Her shared dreams with her husband have come to a disastrous end, they’ve decided to separate and Polly is looking for a new home and a new life altogether. Fate sends her to a small fishing town where she knows no one but the rent is cheap and the view is priceless. Things get off to a rocky start when she realizes the employment prospects are nearly non-existent, her landlady seems to despise her, and the whole idea, once in effect, seems fairly absurd.

But things aren’t as dire as they initially seem. The locals seem to be warming up to her, she’s adopted a wounded puffin to keep her company, and she’s re-discovered her love for baking. Perhaps the most exciting new development is that not one, but two local men seem to be interested in her.

Will Polly be able to make a life for herself in isolated Cornwall? Will she find love again? What will she say when her ex-husband Chris creeps back into her life?

Little Beach Street Bakery, by Jenny Colgan, is a novel about new beginnings and following your own path to happiness. The breakup recovery novel is a favorite genre of mine, because inevitably the heroine discovers a new passion for life and a talent that she never knew existed, and without the help of her failed relationship she would have never discovered her full potential-which is empowering in itself (and the new romance doesn’t hurt a bit either). If you enjoy novels that fit this description, Little Beach Street Bakery is a great choice to start off your summer.

The Surfing Lesson by Elin Hilderbrand

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A teaser short story for Elin Hilderbrand’s new novel, Beautiful Day, The Surfing Lesson gives you a taste for the characters in the upcoming novel and lays out the background of Margot, a working mother who is seriously questioning her marriage to handsome Drum, once known as the best surfer on the Nantucket beaches. Margot decides to test her marriage for once and for all by setting up Drum in an intimate situation with his ex-girfriend Hadley. The plan: have Drum teach Hadley’s son how to surf, and see if Drum will be tempted by Hadley’s obvious attraction and flirtation…And to watch from where no one can see her and see if she can bring back the old passion and possessiveness that was once her relationship with Drum.

This is not a full-length novel, but a short story. If you are an Elin Hilderbrand superfan, however, you will definitely want to add it to your collection. Those of you who haven’t read Elin Hilderbrand should know that she writes women’s fiction bordering on chicklit, and the stories take place in Nantucket and often involve romance and challenging  family relationships. The audiobook by Hachette Audio is excellent, so if you like to listen to your stories, put this one on your list. A warning, however, if you like the short story, chances are you will want to read Beautiful Day immediately. So be prepared.

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All the Summer Girls by Meg Donohue

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Three  women grew up together spending summers on the Jersey Shore and went their separate ways upon adulthood. Kate moved to Philadelphia and became a very serious lawyer, Dani moved to San Francisco and is still thinking someday she will write a novel, but in the meantime she can’t seem to hold a job, and Vanessa is a very active stay-at-home mother in New York City. When they decide to come together at the beach for a stay that will bring the secrets of the past out into the open, challenging their friendships and perceptions of their own lives, and forcing them to decide whether they will move forward or hold onto the events of the past, letting it weigh them down.

All the Summer Girls, by Meg Donohue, is a good beach read and a good example of chicklit. There is some sadness and heartbreak, but the ending is satisfying. Meg Donohue also wrote How to Eat a Cupcake, which a was another great chicklit pick.