If You Like….

A weekend when the temperature dropped to ninety– after sundown– put me in mind of all those books set during sweltering summers.

The ones that pop first to mind for me are mostly Barbara Michaels novels: Be Buried in the Rain, set in a remote and crumbling plantation house in the heat of a Virginia summer, where the lack of an air conditioner is practically a second character; Shattered Silk, in a Georgetown town house in the summer heat of D.C.; and Houses of Stone, also a Virginia summer.

In the realm of YA, Rosemary Clement-Moore’s The Splendor Falls takes place in an old house down South over the summer, while you can practically see the heat haze on the tarmac in her Highway to Hell, when the heroine’s car breaks down in a haunted Texas town on a road trip.

I remember being at a book talk once where Lee Child described the Texas summer heat in one of his Jack Reacher novels, Echo Burning, as a character in the book.

What are your favorite summer heat wave novels? Or do you prefer to read about the cool when the weather gets hot?


  1. Joanne M. on July 8, 2013 at 11:52 am

    It was indeed hot, hot, hot in NYC this weekend! I was there for 3 days of shopping and some Broadway shows and it was sizzling. When the temps are really hot, I like to turn to romance and adventures at sea……like Trade Wind. Something about the wind and the water and the ship’s sails has a very soothing effect.

  2. Jessica S. on July 8, 2013 at 12:51 pm

    Sweltering summers? That makes me think of the opening of To Kill A Mockingbird…

    Another one is Anne Rivers Siddons’s Heartbreak Hotel, set during summer 1956 in Alabama.

    When it’s really hot, I just eat ice cream.

  3. Alice on July 8, 2013 at 4:03 pm

    Susan Elizabeth Phillip’s “Call Me Irresistable.” Set in TX during a very hot summer, I remember feeling sorry for the heroine as her old church had no AC. Sarah Addison Allen’s “The Girl Who Chased the Moon .” But to cool off I like her “Sugar Queen.”

  4. Anne Burner on July 8, 2013 at 7:03 pm

    Ah…Be Buried in the Rain. That was he very first Barbara Michaels book I ever read. And that’s been more than 20 years ago now. Brings back such fond memories.

  5. Jeffrey on July 9, 2013 at 8:21 am

    The series burned (pun intended) into my memory is the Border Trilogy by Cormac McCarthy: 1) All the Pretty Horses 2) The Crossing 3) Cities on the plain. All are set in in Mexico or the states bordering. McCarthy’s descriptions of weather (especially the scorching heat) and landscapes are unparalleled. Definitely NOT chick-lit here as he assaults the unsuspecting reader’s mind with an intensity unlike any other writer.

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