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2020 Virtual Vacation Reads: Books Set in Getaway Locations

Special Feature

2020 Virtual Vacation Reads: Books Set in Getaway Locations

Do the current stay-at-home measures have you craving a summer getaway? Bookreporter has a way for you to virtually travel with our list of books set in vacation locales. Escape to idyllic spots like Cape Cod, Nantucket, Montauk, Charleston and Pasadena --- along with many others --- in our inaugural Virtual Vacation Reads feature. Pick your book(s) to embark on the summer vacation you've been dreaming of. You’ll only have to figure out how to send postcards!

Please note: For your convenience, we have organized these books both by location and alphabetically by title. We also have included links to indie bookstores that are at or near each of these locations, so you can pay them a virtual visit as well! May we suggest that you buy these books from them?

» Click here for our 2021 Virtual Vacation Reads feature.




Half Moon Bay



Local Booksellers
Coastside Books
Ink Spell Books




Local Bookseller
Vroman’s Bookstore




Incline Village, Nevada



Local Booksellers
Sundance Books and Music (Reno, NV)
Word After Word Books (Truckee, CA)




Sunset Beach


SUNSET BEACH by Mary Kay Andrews

Local Booksellers
Sundog Books
Tombolo Books

The West Coast of Florida


HELLO, SUMMER by Mary Kay Andrews

Local Booksellers
Bodacious Bookstore & Cafe
Sundog Books
Sunshine Booksellers




The Coast of Maine


THE GUEST BOOK by Sarah Blake
by Megan Miranda

Local Booksellers
Sherman's Maine Coast Book Shops




The Berkshires


THE SUMMER SET by Aimee Agresti

Local Booksellers
The Bookloft
The Bookstore

Cape Cod


BIG SUMMER by Jennifer Weiner
THE SECOND HOME by Christina Clancy

Local Booksellers
Provincetown Bookshop
Titcomb's Bookshop
Where the Sidewalk Ends

Martha’s Vineyard


SUMMER DARLINGS by Brooke Lea Foster

Local Booksellers
Bunch of Grapes Bookstore
Edgartown Books



28 SUMMERS by Elin Hilderbrand
GIRLS OF SUMMER by Nancy Thayer
SUMMER OF ’69 by Elin Hilderbrand

Local Booksellers
Mitchell's Book Corner
Nantucket Bookworks



TWO TRUTHS AND A LIE by Meg Mitchell Moore

Local Bookseller
Jabberwocky Bookshop




Grand Haven



Local Booksellers
The Bookman
Forever Books


New Jersey


Atlantic City



Local Booksellers
Booktrader of Hamilton
Sun Rose Words & Music

Cape May


CAPE MAY by Chip Cheek

Local Bookseller
The Paper Peddler


New York




EAST COAST GIRLS by Kerry Kletter
MONTAUK by Nicola Harrison

Local Booksellers
Sag Harbor Books

Rockaway Beach


ROCKAWAY: Surfing Headlong into a New Life by Diane Cardwell

Local Bookseller
Avoid the Day Bookstore & Cafe


North Carolina




THE SUMMER GUESTS by Mary Alice Monroe

Local Bookseller
The Book Shelf


Rhode Island


Block Island


THE ISLANDERS by Meg Mitchell Moore

Local Bookseller
Island Bound Bookstore


South Carolina




ON OCEAN BOULEVARD by Mary Alice Monroe

Local Booksellers
Blue Bicycle Books
Buxton Books

Fripp Island



Local Bookseller
NeverMore Books (Beaufort, SC)

Sullivan’s Island


QUEEN BEE by Dorothea Benton Frank

Local Bookseller
Itinerant Literate Books (North Charleston, SC)






A WALK ALONG THE BEACH by Debbie Macomber

Local Bookseller
Time Enough Books




Local Booksellers
Time Enough Books
Vault Books & Brew (Castle Rock, WA)


28 Summers by Elin Hilderbrand - Fiction

When Mallory Blessing's son, Link, receives deathbed instructions from his mother to call a number on a slip of paper in her desk drawer, he's not sure what to expect. But he certainly does not expect Jake McCloud to answer. It's the late spring of 2020, and Jake's wife, Ursula DeGournsey, is the frontrunner in the upcoming presidential election. There must be a mistake, Link thinks. How do Mallory and Jake know each other? Flash back to the sweet summer of 1993: Mallory has just inherited a beachfront cottage on Nantucket from her aunt, and she agrees to host her brother's bachelor party. Cooper's friend from college, Jake McCloud, attends, and Jake and Mallory form a bond that will persevere --- until Mallory learns she's dying.

Big Summer by Jennifer Weiner - Fiction

Six years after the fight that ended their friendship, Daphne Berg is shocked when Drue Cavanaugh walks back into her life, looking as lovely and successful as ever, with a massive favor to ask. Daphne hasn’t spoken one word to Drue in all this time, so when Drue asks if she will be her maid-of-honor at the society wedding of the summer, Daphne is rightfully speechless. Letting glamorous, seductive Drue back into her life is risky, but it comes with an invitation to spend a weekend in a waterfront Cape Cod mansion. When Drue begs and pleads and dangles the prospect of cute single guys, Daphne finds herself powerless as ever to resist her friend’s siren song.

Cape May by Chip Cheek - Historical Fiction

Arriving for their honeymoon in Cape May, New Jersey, from Georgia during the off season, Henry and Effie are startled to find the beach town deserted. The abandoned homes and desolate beaches make them shy of each other, so they decide to cut their trip short. But before they leave, they encounter their glamorous, sensual neighbors and become swept up by their drama. Slowly and agonizingly, these deeply flawed characters pull Henry and Effie out of themselves and expose them to a side of desire they never expected. While they discover new truths in each other and in their marriage, the empty beach town becomes their playground. And as they sneak into the vacant summer homes, go sailing and make love, Henry and Effie slip from innocence into betrayal, with irrevocable consequences.

East Coast Girls by Kerry Kletter - Fiction

Childhood friends Hannah, Maya, Blue and Renee share a bond that feels more like family. Growing up, they had difficult home lives, and the summers they spent together in Montauk were the happiest memories they ever made. Then, the summer after graduation, one terrible night changed everything. Twelve years have passed since that fateful incident, and their sisterhood has drifted apart, each woman haunted by her own lost innocence. But just as they reunite in Montauk for one last summer, hoping to find happiness once more, tragedy strikes again. This time it’ll test them like never before, forcing them to confront decisions they’ve each had to live with and old secrets that refuse to stay buried.

Florence Adler Swims Forever by Rachel Beanland - Historical Fiction

Atlantic City, 1934. Every summer, Esther and Joseph Adler rent their house out to vacationers and move into the small apartment above their bakery. Despite the cramped quarters, this is the apartment where they raised their two daughters, Fannie and Florence, and it always feels like home. Now Florence has returned from college, determined to spend the summer training to swim the English Channel, and Fannie, pregnant again after recently losing a baby, is on bed rest for the duration of her pregnancy. After Joseph insists they take in a mysterious young woman whom he recently helped emigrate from Nazi Germany, the apartment is bursting at the seams. When tragedy strikes, Esther pulls the family into an elaborate web of secret-keeping and lies, bringing long-buried tensions to the surface.

Girls of Summer by Nancy Thayer - Romance

Lisa Hawley is perfectly satisfied living on her own. As the owner of a popular boutique on Nantucket, she’s built a fulfilling life for herself on the island where she grew up. With her beloved house in desperate need of repair, she calls on Mack Whitney, a local contractor, to do the work. The two begin to grow close, and Lisa is stunned to realize that she might be willing to open up again after all. Her children, Juliet and Theo, worry that Mack will only break their mother’s heart. Both stuck in ruts of their own, they each hope that a summer on Nantucket will provide them with the clarity they’ve been searching for. As the season unfolds, a storm threatens to shatter the peace of the golden island, forcing Lisa, Juliet and Theo to decide whether their summer romances are destined for something more profound.

The Guest Book by Sarah Blake - Fiction

While Kitty Milton and her husband, Ogden, summer on their island in Maine, anchored as they are to the way things have always been, the winds of change are beginning to stir. In 1959 New York City, two strangers enter the Miltons’ circle. One captures the attention of Kitty’s daughter, while the other makes each of them question what the family stands for. This new generation insists the times are changing. And in one night, everything does. So much so that in the present day, the third generation of Miltons doesn’t have enough money to keep the island in Maine. Evie Milton’s mother has just died, and as Evie digs into her mother’s and grandparents’ history, what she finds is a story as unsettling as it is inescapable, the story that threatens the foundation of the Milton family myth.

The Heirloom Garden by Viola Shipman - Fiction

Iris Maynard lost her husband in World War II, her daughter to illness and, finally, her reason to live. Walled off from the world for decades behind the towering fence surrounding her home, Iris has built a new family…of flowers. Iris propagates her own daylilies and roses while tending to a garden filled with the heirloom starts that keep the memories of her loved ones alive. When Abby Peterson moves next door with her family --- a husband traumatized by his service in the Iraq War and a young daughter searching for stability --- Iris is reluctantly yet inevitably drawn into her boisterous neighbor’s life, where, united by loss and a love of flowers, she and Abby tentatively unearth their secrets, and help each other discover how much life they have yet to live.

Hello, Summer by Mary Kay Andrews - Fiction

Conley Hawkins left her family’s small-town newspaper, The Silver Bay Beacon, in the rearview mirror years ago. Now a star reporter for a big-city paper, Conley is exactly where she wants to be and is about to take a fancy new position in Washington, D.C. Or so she thinks. When the new job goes up in smoke, Conley finds herself right back where she started, working for her sister, who is trying to keep The Silver Bay Beacon afloat --- and she doesn’t exactly have warm feelings for Conley. Soon she is given the unenviable task of overseeing the local gossip column, “Hello, Summer.” Then Conley witnesses an accident that ends in the death of a local congressman --- a beloved war hero with a shady past. The more she digs into the story, the more dangerous it gets.

The House on Fripp Island by Rebecca Kauffman - Fiction

Fripp Island, South Carolina, is the perfect destination for the wealthy Daly family: Lisa, Scott and their two girls. For Lisa’s childhood friend, Poppy Ford, the resort island is a world away from the one she and Lisa grew up in --- and when Lisa invites Poppy's family to join them, how can a working-class woman turn down an all-expenses paid vacation for her husband and children? But everyone brings secrets to the island, distorting what should be a convivial, relaxing summer on the beach. Those who return from this vacation will spend the rest of their lives trying to process what they witnessed, the tipping points, moments of violence and tenderness, and the memory of whom they left behind.

The Islanders by Meg Mitchell Moore - Fiction

Over the 12 short weeks of summer, three strangers --- former literary star Anthony Puckett, whoopie pie café owner Joy Sousa, and working mother Lu Trusdale --- will meet and grow close, share secrets and bury lies on Block Island. 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.

The Last Book Party by Karen Dukess - Fiction

In the 1980s, famed New Yorker writer Henry Grey and his poet wife Tillie throw Cape Cod’s most unmissable party each summer’s end, a legendary fête for the literary elite. Twenty-five-year-old aspiring writer Eve Rosen finagles her way into this Gatsbyesque orbit, which is completely different from her conventional, Jewish upbringing. But moving into one sphere means leaving another behind, and as Eve tries to negotiate the differences between her family values and this glittering world, she learns the risks of unbridled ambition and the importance of making her own choices about who she wants to be.

The Last House Guest by Megan Miranda - Psychological Thriller/Mystery

Littleport, Maine, has always felt like two separate towns: an ideal vacation enclave for the wealthy, whose summer homes line the coastline, and a simple harbor community for the year-round residents whose livelihoods rely on service to the visitors. Typically, fierce friendships never develop between a local and a summer girl, but that’s just what happens with visitor Sadie Loman and resident Avery Greer. Each summer for almost a decade, the girls are inseparable --- until Sadie is found dead. While the police rule the death a suicide, Avery can’t help but feel there are those in the community, including a local detective and Sadie’s brother, Parker, who blame her. Someone knows more than they’re saying, and Avery is intent on clearing her name, before the facts get twisted against her.

Montauk by Nicola Harrison - Historical Fiction

Montauk, Long Island, 1938. For three months, this humble fishing village will serve as the playground for New York City’s wealthy elite. Beatrice Bordeaux was looking forward to a summer of reigniting the passion between her and her husband, Harry. Instead, tasked with furthering his investment interest in Montauk as a resort destination, she learns she’ll be spending 12 weeks sequestered with the high society wives at The Montauk Manor --- a 200-room seaside hotel --- while Harry pursues other interests in the city. Bea ultimately finds herself drawn to a man who is nothing like her husband. Inspiring a strength and courage she had almost forgotten, his presence forces her to face a haunting tragedy of her past and question her future.

On Ocean Boulevard by Mary Alice Monroe - Fiction

It’s been 16 years since Caretta “Cara” Rutledge has returned home to the beautiful shores of Charleston, South Carolina. Over those years, she has weathered the tides of deaths and births, struggles and joys. And now, as Cara prepares for her second wedding, her life is about to change yet again. Meanwhile, the rest of the storied Rutledge family is also in flux. Cara’s niece, Linnea, returns to Sullivan’s Island to begin a new career and an unexpected relationship. Linnea’s parents, having survived bankruptcy, pin their hopes and futures on the construction of a new home on Ocean Boulevard. But as excitement over the house and wedding builds, a devastating illness strikes the family and brings plans to a screeching halt.

One Perfect Summer by Brenda Novak - Fiction

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. The women decide to dig into the mystery together at Serenity’s family cabin in Lake Tahoe. With Reagan navigating romantic politics at work 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 past and determine how to move forward when everything they previously thought to be true was a lie.

The Oysterville Sewing Circle by Susan Wiggs - Fiction

Caroline Shelby thought she’d left Oysterville, Washington, forever. Ten years ago, Caroline launched a career in the glamorous world of fashion. But her success imploded on a wave of scandal, forcing her to flee to the only safe place she knows. And in the backseat of her car are two children who were orphaned in a single chilling moment: five-year-old Addie and six-year-old Flick. She’s now their legal guardian --- a role she’s not sure she’s ready for. Caroline returns to the sewing shop where she first discovered her passion, and discovers that even in an idyllic beach town, there are women living with the deepest of secrets. Thus begins the Oysterville Sewing Circle --- where women can join forces to support one another through the troubles they keep hidden.

Queen Bee by Dorothea Benton Frank - Fiction

Beekeeper Holly McNee Jensen quietly lives in a world of her own on Sullivan’s Island, tending her hives and working at the local island library. Holly calls her mother The Queen Bee because she’s a demanding hulk of a woman. Her mother, a devoted hypochondriac, might be unaware that she’s quite ill, but that doesn’t stop her from tormenting Holly. To escape the drama, Holly’s sister Leslie married and moved away, wanting little to do with island life. Holly’s escape is to submerge herself in the lives of the two young boys next door and their widowed father, Archie. Her world is upended when the more flamboyant Leslie returns, and both sisters, polar opposites, fixate on what’s happening in their neighbor’s home.

Rockaway: Surfing Headlong into a New Life by Diane Cardwell - Memoir

Unmoored by a failed marriage and disconnected from her high-octane life in the city, Diane Cardwell finds herself staring at a small group of surfers coasting through mellow waves toward shore --- and senses something shift. ROCKAWAY is the story of one woman’s reinvention --- beginning with Cardwell taking the A Train to Rockaway, a neglected spit of land dangling off New York City into the Atlantic Ocean. She finds a teacher, buys a tiny bungalow, and throws herself headlong into learning the inner workings and rhythms of waves, and the muscle development and coordination needed to ride them. As Cardwell begins to find her balance in the water and out, superstorm Sandy hits, sending her into the maelstrom in search of safer ground.

The Second Home by Christina Clancy - Fiction

After a disastrous summer spent at her family summer home on Cape Cod, 17-year-old Ann Gordon was left with a secret that changed her life forever, and created a rift between her sister, Poppy, and their adopted brother, Michael. Now, 15 years later, her parents have died, leaving Ann and Poppy to decide the fate of the Wellfleet home that's been in the Gordon family for generations. For Ann, the once-beloved house is tainted with bad memories. Poppy loves the old saltbox, but after years spent chasing waves around the world, she isn't sure she knows how to stay in one place. Just when the sisters decide to sell, Michael re-enters their lives with a legitimate claim to the house. But more than that, he wants to set the record straight about that long-ago summer.

Summer of '69 by Elin Hilderbrand - Historical Fiction

It's 1969, and for the Levin family, the times they are a-changing. Every year the children have looked forward to spending the summer at their grandmother's historic home in downtown Nantucket. But like so much else in America, nothing is the same. Blair, the oldest sister, is marooned in Boston, pregnant with twins and unable to travel. Middle sister Kirby, caught up in the thrilling vortex of civil rights protests and determined to be independent, takes a summer job on Martha's Vineyard. Only-son Tiger is an infantry soldier, recently deployed to Vietnam. Thirteen-year-old Jessie suddenly feels like an only child, marooned in the house with her out-of-touch grandmother and her worried mother, each of them hiding a troubling secret.

Summer Darlings by Brooke Lea Foster - Historical Fiction

In 1962, coed Heddy Winsome leaves her hardscrabble Irish Brooklyn neighborhood behind and ferries to glamorous Martha’s Vineyard to nanny for one of the wealthiest families on the island. But as she grows enamored with the alluring and seemingly perfect young couple and chases after their two mischievous children, Heddy discovers that her academic scholarship at Wellesley has been revoked, putting her entire future at risk. Determined to find her place in the couple's wealthy social circles, Heddy nurtures a romance with the hip surfer down the beach while wondering if the better man for her might be a quiet, studious college boy instead. But no one she meets on the summer island is as picture-perfect as they seem.

The Summer Guests by Mary Alice Monroe - Fiction

When a hurricane threatens the coasts of Florida and South Carolina, an eclectic group of evacuees flees for the farm of their friends Grace and Charles Phillips in North Carolina: the Phillips’ daughter Moira and her rescue dogs, famed equestrian Javier Angel de la Cruz, makeup artist Hannah McLain, horse breeder Gerda Klug and her daughter Elise, and island resident Cara Rutledge. They bring with them only the few treasured possessions they can fit in their vehicles. During the course of one of the most challenging weeks of their lives, relationships are put to the test as the evacuees are forced to confront the unresolved issues they have with themselves and with each other.

The Summer Set by Aimee Agresti - Fiction

Charlie Savoy was once Hollywood’s hottest A-lister. Now, 10 years later, she’s pushing 40, exiled from the film world, and back at the summer Shakespeare theater in the Berkshires that launched her career --- and where her old flame, Nick, is the artistic director. It’s not exactly her first choice. But as parts are cast and rehearsals begin, Charlie is surprised to find herself getting her groove back, bonding with celebrity actors, forging unexpected new friendships, and even reigniting her spark with Nick, who still seems to bring out the best in her despite their complicated history. Until Charlie’s old rival, Hollywood’s current It Girl, is brought on set, threatening to undo everything she’s built.

The Summer of Sunshine and Margot by Susan Mallery - Fiction

Etiquette coach Margot Baxter knows precisely how to manage wayward clients…until she comes face-to-exquisite-face with Bianca, an aging movie star notorious for her shock-and-awe tactics. Schooling Bianca on the fine art of behaving like a diplomat’s wife is the greatest challenge of Margot’s career. Soon secrets unravel that bring them closer together and force Margot to confront the truth: change doesn’t just happen. She has to be brave enough to demand the life --- and love --- she’s always wanted. For years, Sunshine has been the good-time sister, abandoning jobs to chase after dreams that will never come true. No more. This time, she’ll finish college and dedicate herself to her future. And she will not let her life get derailed by a man again…no matter how tempting that man may be.

Sunrise on Half Moon Bay by Robyn Carr - Fiction

Born 20 years apart, Justine was already an adult when Addie was born. The sisters love each other, but they don’t really know each other. When Addie dropped out of university to care for their ailing parents, Justine, a successful lawyer, covered the expenses. It was the best arrangement at the time, but now that their parents are gone, the future has changed dramatically for both women. Addie had great plans for her life, but has been worn down by the pressures of being a caregiver and doesn’t know how to live for herself. And Justine’s success has come at a price. Her marriage is falling apart despite her best efforts. Neither woman knows how to start life over, but both realize they can and must support each other the way only sisters can.

Sunset Beach by Mary Kay Andrews - Fiction

Out of a job and down on her luck, Drue Campbell’s life doesn’t seem to be getting any better when her estranged father, a flamboyant personal injury attorney, shows up at her mother’s funeral after a 20-year absence. Worse, he’s remarried --- to Drue’s eighth grade frenemy, Wendy, now his office manager. And they’re offering her a job. It seems like the job from hell, but the offer is sweetened by the news of her inheritance: her grandparents’ beach bungalow in the sleepy town of Sunset Beach. With no other prospects, Drue begrudgingly joins the firm. But when a suspicious death at an exclusive beach resort nearby exposes possible corruption at her father’s firm, she is drawn into a case that may --- or may not --- involve her father.

Surfside Sisters by Nancy Thayer - Fiction

Keely Green always dreamed of leaving the beautiful shores of Nantucket to become a writer. Now she’s a bestselling novelist living in New York City and dating a pediatric surgeon who looks good on paper but isn’t “the one.” She just can’t bear to break it off --- until he declares his desire to settle down. Then Keely’s editor rejects her latest novel. With her personal and professional lives suddenly in shambles, Keely longs for the soothing island way of life. Returning home would mean facing former best friend Isabelle, who married Keely’s high school boyfriend, Tommy. But when Keely’s mother falls into a deep depression, Keely knows what she must do, even though she is reluctant to face the person who betrayed her.

Two Truths and a Lie by Meg Mitchell Moore - Fiction

Truth: Sherri Griffin and her daughter, Katie, have recently moved to the idyllic beach town of Newburyport, Massachusetts. Rebecca Coleman, former leader of the Newburyport Mom Squad, has made a surprising effort to include these newcomers in typically closed-group activities. Rebecca’s teenage daughter, Alexa, has even been spotted babysitting Katie. Truth: Alexa has time on her hands because of a recent falling-out with her longtime best friends for reasons no one knows --- but everyone suspects have to do with Alexa’s highly popular and increasingly successful YouTube channel. Lie: Rebecca Coleman doesn’t have a new man in her life. Alexa is not seeing anyone new herself and is planning on shutting down her YouTube channel in advance of attending college in the fall. Sherri Griffin’s real name is Sherri Griffin, and a bad divorce is all she’s running from.

A Walk Along the Beach by Debbie Macomber - Fiction

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. 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.