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5 Books To Spice Up Your Summer 2024 | CrunchyTales

5 Books to Spice Up Your Summer 2024

4 min read

Summer sighs with the promise of long, lazy days and evenings spent curled up with a good book. But for women in midlife, that perfect beach read can feel elusive. You crave a story that resonates with your experiences, one that celebrates the joys and complexities of this dynamic chapter in life, or even a kind of literary vacation in the comfort of your home for a perfect summer escape.

Here at CrunchyTales, we believe that books offer a passport to anywhere your imagination desires. They allow you to explore at your own pace, revisiting favourite scenes or lingering on moments of wonder, enriching your perspective and sparking your imagination (all without packing a bag or booking a flight for an unlike a jam-packed itinerary).

We’ve curated a selection of captivating reads that we hope can transport you, inspire you, and make you laugh (or cry – in a good way) this summer. 

A book for the badass woman

When Women Ran Fifth Avenue by Julie Satow

In her book, When Women Ran Fifth Avenue, journalist Julie Satow sheds light on three trailblazers who took bold risks, paving the way for future generations of women and transforming the shopping scene in America.

In the 1930s, Hortense Odlum joined her husband’s department store, Bonwit Teller, as a housewife with the mission of attracting more shoppers like herself. Surprisingly, she ended up becoming the head of the company. Dorothy Shaver, from Lord & Taylor, courageously supported American designers during World War II at a time when most fashion in the US was merely imitations of Parisian style. She made history by becoming the first businesswoman to earn a $1 million salary. During the 1960s, Geraldine Stutz, the visionary behind Henri Bendel, revolutionized the concept of a modern department store. With her innate ability to predict trends, she cultivated a loyal following of fashion-forward shoppers while inspiring numerous imitators throughout the decades.

A glittering portrait of the golden age of American department stores and of three visionary women who led them, from the award-winning author of The Plaza.

For the woman who needs a good laugh

How to Age Disgracefully by Clare Pooley

Did you know that when age makes you invisible, secrets are easier to hide? Daphne knows that age is just a number. She also knows that society no longer pays her any attention – something she’s happy to exploit to help her hide a somewhat chequered past.

But finding herself alone on her 70th birthday, with only her plants to talk to and neighbours to stalk online, she decides she needs some friends. Joining a Senior Citizen’s Social Club she’s horrified at the expectation she’ll spend her time enduring gentle crafting activities. Thankfully, the other members – including a failed actor addicted to shoplifting and a prolific yarn-bomber – agree.

After a tragic accident, the local council threatened to close the club – but they underestimated the wrong group of pensioners, and with the help of a teenage dad and an orphaned dog, the incongruous gang set out to prove it. As long as their pasts don’t catch up with them first.

For the woman on a journey of self-discovery

The Phoenix Ballroom by Ruth Hogan

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How late is “too-late” for a woman to change her life? In Hogan’s novel, Venetia Hargreaves embarks on a journey of self-discovery in her 70s after being widowed.

Despite 50 years of marriage, Venetia, a former dancer, embraces her newfound independence. She purchases and renovates the old Phoenix Ballroom, hoping to recapture her youth. Through this endeavour, she forms connections with a diverse group of individuals seeking a fresh start. The Phoenix Ballroom is a tale of optimism and opportunities for redemption that spans generations.

For the woman who is struggling to let go

Same as it ever was by Claire Lombardo

Julia Ames, despite a tumultuous youth, has now reached a calm and stable point in her life. However, Julia has never experienced the same level of composure as her current privileged status. She has faced numerous challenges and made desperate attempts to form connections that always seemed out of reach.

Now, at the age of fifty-seven, she finally feels confident and in control. But little does she know, that unexpected events are about to shake up her life once again. Her straight-arrow son delivers a surprising announcement, her rebellious teenage daughter is on the verge of separation, and the past resurfaces in a tempting and alluring way. These circumstances threaten to pull her back into the patterns that had previously kept her on edge.

Same As It Ever Was traverses the rocky terrain of real life, —exploring new avenues of maternal ambivalence, intergenerational friendship, and the happenstantial cause-and-effect that governs us all.

Delving even deeper into the nature of relationships—how they grow, change, and sometimes end—Lombardo proves herself a true and definitive cartographer of the human heart and asserts herself among the finest novelists of her generation.

A book for the woman who believes in second chances

Summer Romance by Annabel Monaghan

Ali Morris is a professional organizer whose own life is a mess. Her mom died two years ago, then her husband left, and she hasn’t worn pants with a zipper in longer than she cares to remember.

No one is more surprised than Ali when the first time she takes off her wedding ring and puts on pants with hardware—overalls count, right?—she meets someone. Or rather, her dog claims a man for her…by peeing on him. Ethan smiles at Ali like her pants are just right—like he likes what he sees. He looks at her like she’s a younger, braver version of herself. The last thing newly single mum Ali needs is to make her life messier, but there’s no harm in a little summer romance. Is there?

The romantic and hilarious story of a professional organizer whose life is a mess, and the summer she gets unstuck with the help of someone unexpected from her past, by the bestselling author of Nora Goes Off Script.

Now pack your bag and remember, the best summer reads are the ones that stay with you long after the last page is turned. Are you ready to delve into your favourite one?

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