House on the Edge of the Cliff by Carol Drinkwater (Penguin, £7.99)

This is everything you want for a summer read. It has romance, passion, intrigue and danger. It has a heroine that you can relate to and who is a really refreshing face in fiction: a successful, confident mature woman who is now a grandma to her step children and a loving wife to a husband about to undergo life-threatening heart surgery.

The book is set in the sumptuous South of France, in a dream of a house that sits on a hill and provides the inhabitants with a near idyllic life of early morning sea swims, lunch on the veranda and evenings sipping wine while listening to cicadas.

So when a sinister man appears and very nearly kidnaps her grandson, Grace’s world is turned upside down, especially when she realises this all might be linked to an incident that happened a lifetime ago, when she was 16 and just discovering herself.

Fundamentally this is a book about the different types of love we experience in our lives: all-consuming passion that flares up but then quickly fades, platonic love, love of a child, and then long-lasting love which couples grow on solid foundations.

Carol’s writing creates a vivid sensual setting, the narrative alternating adeptly between the present and Paris in 1968.

So if you are looking for a bit of an escape for this holiday, then you might just have found it here.

Philippa Morris