Looking for a good summer read? The Rare Birds Book Club pick their top five books

Rachel Wood, the founder of the home of women’s fiction, Rare Birds Book Club, has put together an exclusive list of her top five picks for The Talented Ladies Club. Which are on your TBR pile?

The Rare Birds Book Club is the book club you can’t read without! A monthly subscription that sees a surprise book sent to your door every month, the letter-box sized packages were the talk of the literary world over the last year.

Championing the best of the best in new, classic and hidden gems, Rare Birds’ founder Rachel picks the creme de la creme for her members, before encouraging them to join in the online book club discussion about that month’s read. From chats on favourite characters to heated debates about who would play them in the movie version, the forum has been a source of connection for many during the pandemic. 

If you’re looking for a brilliant read this summer, Rachel shares her top five picks with us.

1) The Vanishing Half – Brit Bennet 

After running away from home aged sixteen, two twin sisters separate and adopt different racial identities, carving out completely different lives for themselves. Years later and with children of their own both must reckon with the decisions they’ve made. It’s a gripping story about the things that shape our decisions, desires and expectations that’s almost impossible to put down. 

2) You & Me On Vacation – Emily Henry

If you can’t resist a rom-com, Emily Henry’s brilliant novel You & Me On Vacation is just the ticket. It’s romantic, funny – and steamy! The novel follows best friends Poppy and Alex through the years as the two take their annual summer holiday. But when something goes wrong, the two stop talking. Can they find their way back to one another on one last trip? 

3) The Girl With The Louding Voice – Abi Dare 

Girl With The Louding Voice follows the story of our unforgettable teenage heroine, Adunni, who leaves the small Nigerian village where she was born in search of an education. This is the more challenging read in every sense; the dialect is unique and the plot at times makes for harrowing reading.

But if you’re looking for a piece of fiction to make a lasting impression, don’t miss it – this is the kind of novel that I could very easily see on a school’s reading list and is a beautiful piece of storytelling from a debut author that’s already earned her comparisons to contemporary literature’s greats. 

4) Love After Love – Ingrid Persaud 

This prize-winning novel set in Trinidad tells the story of Betty, Solo and Mr Chetan; an unconventional family all fighting to be who they truly are. It takes on deep themes with a light touch – it’s a poignant story about love and trust and forgiveness that our readers just adored. 

5) Last Night – Mhairi McFarlane 

After a tragedy turns her life upside down, Eve realises she doesn’t know her friends as well as she thought. This is the latest book from one of our favourite authors; it’s a wonderful love letter to friendships with a will-they-wont-they love story to boot. Get the tissues ready – this novel is both hilarious and heartbreaking.  

Photo by Nguyen Thu Hoai