When browsing for a new book to read on a digital device, you will often be presented with a list of the best ebooks, which represent 100 of the most-downloaded titles of the moment.
We reviewed the top 100 ebook titles for Kindle, Apple and Kobo and whittled them down to just 15 of our favourites - the ones we know you will love. We took into consideration which books appear in multiple top 100s, proving popular across the best eReader and best Kindles books lists, as well as novels that we have rated as the best books to read in 2022 or the best books of all time.
We chose light-hearted novels, literary greats, twisting thrillers and fascinating non-fiction books, so there should be an ebook on this list for every kind of reader as we head into the summer...
The best eBooks to read this summer
1. The Paper Palace by Miranda Cowley Heller
Genre: Historical, romantic, literary
Taking a top three spot in every chart we looked at - and personally recommended by w&h's Digital Editor - Miranda Cowley Heller’s The Paper Palace is a treat from beginning to end. It follows Elle Bishop over the course of one day as she tries to make a life-changing decision, but it also covers a 50-year time span, allowing you to form a deep emotional connection with the characters and the intriguing love triangle at the centre of the plot.
Longlisted for this year’s Women’s Prize for Fiction and a New York Times bestseller, The Paper Palace is a perfect summer book because you won't be able to put it down because you won't be able to put it down wherever you're reading it and the title even refers to a Cape Cod getaway used by Elle’s family for generations.
2. The Impulse Purchase by Veronica Henry
Genre: fiction, heartwarming
This is a gorgeously uplifting read, focused on family and community and the loveliness of rural England in the sunshine. Cherry, Maggie and Rose are women from three generations of one family Their lives begin to change when Cherry impulsively buys the pretty but dilapidated pub in the village she grew up in. Her daughter and mother are drawn in to helping her restore and run it, much to the delight of the local villagers. The Impulse Purchase is a charming book, full of new starts, mild eccentricity and the enduring resilience of women.
3. Borderland: A Journey Through the History of Ukraine by Anna Reid
Genre: Non-fiction, history, travel
Borderland was first published in 1997, and updated in 2015, and it’s currently a popular recommendation for those looking to understand Ukraine and its place in the world. Reid speaks to activists and militiamen, peasants and miners, survivors of the Holocaust and of the famine caused by Stalin’s Soviet government. Borderland combines history and travel writing to create a vivd picture of a country and its people.
4. The Man Who Died Twice by Richard Osman
Genre: mystery, humour
The sequel to Richard Osman’s record-smashing The Thursday Murder Club, The Man Who Died Twice allows readers to rejoin Elizabeth, Joyce, Ibrahim and Ron, the four 70-somethings at the heart of the first novel. Elizabeth has received a letter, a man with whom she has a long history is asking for help. There are murders, gangsters and stolen diamonds to propel the plot along – and it is full of twists and intrigue as all the best mystery books should be - but The Man Who Died Twice is also a book of charm and humour.
5. My Evil Mother by Margaret Atwood
Genre: fiction, literary, coming of age
A short-story from the globally-celebrated author of The Handmaid’s Tale, My Evil Mother has been adapted into a special Kindle edition. It focuses on a teenage girl in suburban Toronto in the 1950s. Her mother already stands out in the neighbourhood for being a single parent and willing to use garlic when cooking. But she may also be a witch. Their garden is full of strange plants. Distressed neighbours come and speak in whispers. And the mother knows that a boyfriend is bad news straight away. Atwood is a literary great, but that doesn’t mean her writing is unapproachable. My Evil Mother is a great case in point: the mother-daughter relationship is instantly recognisable and the story raises smiles from the first page.
6. The Night She Disappeared by Lisa Jewell
Genre: thriller, crime, family
Lisa Jewell is always a compelling writer and this brilliant thriller novel, The Night She Disappeared, shows she's still at the top of her game. This thriller concerns two teenage parents who vanish whilst out on a date. Kim is the mother of the girl, Tallulah, and Kim knows her daughter would never abandon her baby: something bad has happened. Two years later, a sign saying ‘dig here’ is attached to a tree near to where Tallulah was last seen. The case is reopened.
7. Anxious People by Fredrik Backman
Genre: fiction, mystery, uplifting
A fancy estate agent is holding an open house, early on New Year’s Eve, when a robber blunders in and takes everyone hostage. Trapped together, will the people held in the apartment realise how much they have in common? Anxious People is a brilliant look at being human and is funny, compassionate and tender. Writer Matt Haig loves it, and fans of his books will find that this appeals to them too. It’s likely to make you cry, but it will also uplift.
8. Conversations With Friends by Sally Rooney
Genre: fiction, literary
Sally Rooney’s 2017 debut has reappeared on the best-seller charts ahead of its BBC TV adaptation. Like Normal People, Conversations With Friends covers the tangled intimacies of a group of people. Bobbi and Frances are best friends and former lovers. During their university summer holiday they meet an older writer, Melissa and Bobbi develops a crush on her. Frances meanwhile can’t help her attraction to Melissa’s husband Nick. Rooney’s novel was hugely well-reviewed when it came out, making its then-26-year-old writer into a literary star. Conversations With Friends finds the poetry in the mess of everyday life.
9. Where The Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens
Genre: fiction, literary, mystery
Abandoned by her family, her drunken father the last to go, Kya lives alone from childhood. Her home is a shack on the edge of the North Carolina salt marsh and her companions are the gulls, bullfrogs and other creature that share her habitat. The Marsh Girl is looked on with prejudice by the local townspeople, with the exception of two young men drawn in by her beauty and wild nature. When one of those boys is found dead, Kya is considered guilty before her trial even starts. The book is absorbing and gripping, but writer Delia Owens is also a zoologist and Crawdads sings with love for the natural world. Read before the book to movie adaptation lands in theatres in July.
10. House Arrest by Alan Bennett
Genre: non-fiction, diaries
Alan Bennett is one of Britain’s most-loved writers, his seemingly gentle humour often carrying a sting in the tail. He is now in his mid-80s and House Arrest tells the story of his pandemic. He reminisces, but also brings in contemporary events, from the Zoom restaging of his well-known Talking Heads plays, to being caught outside as the Clap for Carers begins and being horrified that his neighbours may think he’s accepting the applause. Bennett has been publishing his diaries since the 1980s, and these are a great addition to the series.
11. Six Graves by Angela Marsons
Genre: thriller, crime, suspense
Detective Kim Stone is called to a house fire. The family are all dead, but not because of the fire. Each member has a gunshot wound and the mother of the household is holding the gun. It should be a simple case, but then Detective Stone finds a clue that changes everything. She also needs to deal with the painful memories of her own childhood and her abusive mother. And then the death threat arrives. This is a twisting, rushing thriller and will certainly appeal to anyone who loves Karin Slaughter or Mark Billingham.
12. Written In Bones by Professor Sue Black
Genre: non-fiction, science
Professor Dame Sue Black is a forensic pathologist with an international reputation. She has worked identifying victims in war zones, including Kosovo and Sierra Leone, and in the wake of the Thai tsunami. She has also pioneered the use of vein pattern analysis to identify perpetrators in child pornography cases. Written In Bone draws upon her years of experience and takes the reader of a mystery tour of the human body, showing how our physical selves can reveal our secrets. This is a fascinating book from a remarkable woman.
13. The Evil Seed by Joanne Harris
Genre: fiction, literary, horror
Writer Joanne Harris is best know for her best-seller Chocolat, and the subsequent film of the book. But it would be a wild mistake to pass over her other work, including The Evil Seed, her very first novel written at just 19. It’s sensuous and spooky, taking in lost graves and pre-Raphaelite art and it’s a vampire novel that never once mentions the word vampire. It’s now been reprinted and is also riding high in the digital charts.
14. The Essex Serpent by Sarah Perry
Genre: fiction, literary, gothic
Interest in Sarah Perry’s marvellous The Essex Serpent is peaking again, following the adaptation for Apple TV featuring Claire Danes and Tom Hiddlestone. Set in the Victorian era, the book follows Cora Seaborne, finding freedom after being widowed from an abusive husband. She throws herself into her passion for natural history, moving to the misty, shifting Essex marshes to try and track down a water serpent that could be a new species, or could be a terrifying supernatural beast. Whilst investigating she also develops an intense friendship with married local vicar Will, a believer in God, but not in the serpent. This is an intense, gothic book that’s well worth your time and attention. It also makes a great book club book - if your group is looking for their next read.
15. The Keeper of Stories by Sally Page
Genre: fiction, humour, uplifting
Funny and charming, The Keeper of Stories is a cure for a bad day. Janice starts cleaning for Mrs B, a woman in her 90s and who wants to know more about Janice. But Janice insists that she only keeps stories, she doesn’t have one of her own. Mrs B begs to differ. The Keeper of Stories is full of fascinating characters and Janice is a realistic and touching protagonist.
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Anna is an award-winning journalist with over 20 years experience as a writer and editor. The former Associate Editor of Stylist Magazine, Anna has also written for Elle, The Guardian, British Vogue and the New Statesman.
A self-confessed bibliophile, Anna has hosted live literature events and workshops and is also the host of new author recommendations podcast @readlikeapod.
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