This is my very favorite time of year to read. I love snuggling up on our couch and reading by our wood stove. Winter is long here in Vermont but I do love the slower pace of life during this time of the year…well at least after the holidays.
I get asked about book recommendations quite a bit and recently some friends have asked about books I would suggest for cozy winter reading. For me, books like that are easy and enjoyable to read and nothing too heavy or stressful. I love reading for all different reasons but sometimes I just like it as an escape and these books fit that bill.
How to Find Love in a Bookshop by Veronica Henry
How to Find Love in a Bookshop was a surprise hit for me. When I picked this one up at the library I was worried it could be cheesy because of the cover…I try not to judge a book by it’s cover in a negative way but it’s hard for me!
I was pleasantly surprised that not only was it not cheesy but it ended up being such a delightful and enjoyable read. There is a great mix of characters and a great balance of loss, hope and love within the different storylines. This book was filled with charm and warmth but also some depth and I enjoyed how the ending wrapped up in the most perfect, non-perfect way.
“The enchanting story of a bookshop, its grieving owner, a supportive literary community, and the extraordinary power of books to heal the heart.
Nightingale Books, nestled on the main street in an idyllic little village, is a dream come true for book lovers–a cozy haven and welcoming getaway for the literary-minded locals. But owner Emilia Nightingale is struggling to keep the shop open after her beloved father’s death, and the temptation to sell is getting stronger. The property developers are circling, yet Emilia’s loyal customers have become like family, and she can’t imagine breaking the promise she made to her father to keep the store alive.
There’s Sarah, owner of the stately Peasebrook Manor, who has used the bookshop as an escape in the past few years, but it now seems there’s a very specific reason for all those frequent visits. Next is roguish Jackson, who, after making a complete mess of his marriage, now looks to Emilia for advice on books for the son he misses so much. And the forever shy Thomasina, who runs a pop-up restaurant for two in her tiny cottage–she has a crush on a man she met in the cookbook section, but can hardly dream of working up the courage to admit her true feelings.
Enter the world of Nightingale Books for a serving of romance, long-held secrets, and unexpected hopes for the future–and not just within the pages on the shelves. How to Find Love in a Bookshop is the delightful story of Emilia, the unforgettable cast of customers whose lives she has touched, and the books they all cherish.”
Love and Other Words by Christina Lauren
I wouldn’t say I am huge fan of romance novels but this is definitely in that genre. It reminded me a lot of a Judy Blume book and had the perfect first romance and coming of age storyline that just got me and I was hooked.
I think the thing I think of with “romance” books is predictability. I found Love and Other Words to have a depth I was not expecting and it was just such an enjoyable and satisfying book.
“Love, loss, friendship, and the betrayals of the past all collide in this first fiction novel from New York Times and #1 international bestselling author Christina Lauren (Autoboyography, Dating You / Hating You).
The story of the heart can never be unwritten.
Macy Sorensen is settling into an ambitious if emotionally tepid routine: work hard as a new pediatrics resident, plan her wedding to an older, financially secure man, keep her head down and heart tucked away.
But when she runs into Elliot Petropoulos—the first and only love of her life—the careful bubble she’s constructed begins to dissolve. Once upon a time, Elliot was Macy’s entire world—growing from her gangly bookish friend into the man who coaxed her heart open again after the loss of her mother…only to break it on the very night he declared his love for her.
Told in alternating timelines between Then and Now, teenage Elliot and Macy grow from friends to much more—spending weekends and lazy summers together in a house outside of San Francisco devouring books, sharing favorite words, and talking through their growing pains and triumphs. As adults, they have become strangers to one another until their chance reunion. Although their memories are obscured by the agony of what happened that night so many years ago, Elliot will come to understand the truth behind Macy’s decade-long silence, and will have to overcome the past and himself to revive her faith in the possibility of an all-consuming love.”
How to Walk Away by Katherine Center
How to Walk Away was my first ever Book of The Month club pick and it was such an enjoyable read. The storyline is semi predictable but it is the character development that Center just does so well and that makes her books so satisfying.
I enjoyed watching Margarets journey towards healing and she had the perfect mix of vulnerability and strength that kept me rooting for her while also being relatable. Katherine Center excels at infusing both humor and also resilience into her characters and I just enjoy her books so much.
“From the author of Happiness for Beginners comes an unforgettable love story about finding joy even in the darkest of circumstances.
Margaret Jacobsen has a bright future ahead of her: a fiancé she adores, her dream job, and the promise of a picture-perfect life just around the corner. Then, suddenly, on what should have been one of the happiest days of her life, everything she worked for is taken away in one tumultuous moment.
In the hospital and forced to face the possibility that nothing will ever be the same again, Margaret must figure out how to move forward on her own terms while facing long-held family secrets, devastating heartbreak, and the idea that love might find her in the last place she would ever expect.
How to Walk Away is Katherine Center at her very best: an utterly charming, hopeful, and romantic novel that will capture reader’s hearts with every page.”
The Mother’s Promise by Sally Hepworth
I first found The Mother’s Promise when I was searching for a book to read in the middle of the night on my Libby app and it quickly got me hooked on her books in general. It is an easy and engaging story that also beautifully shows the the power of connection and relationships. This story is heartbreaking but also gives you so much hope. Hepworth really excels at getting you so connected to her characters and I could relate to them so much while I was reading this.
“With every book, Sally Hepworth becomes more and more known for her searing emotional portraits of families—and the things that test their bonds. In The Mother’s Promise, she delivers her most powerful novel yet: the story of a single mother who is dying, the troubled teenaged daughter who is battling her own demons, and the two women who come into their lives at the most critical moment.
Alice and her daughter Zoe have been a family of two all their lives. Zoe has always struggled with crippling social anxiety and her mother has been her constant and fierce protector. With no family to speak of, and the identity of Zoe’s father shrouded in mystery, their team of two works—until it doesn’t. Until Alice gets sick and is given a grim prognosis.
Desperate to find stability for Zoe, Alice reaches out to two women who are practically strangers, but who are her only hope: Kate, her oncology nurse, and Sonja, a social worker. As the four of them come together, a chain of events is set into motion and all four of them must confront their sharpest fears and secrets—secrets about abandonment, abuse, estrangement, and the deepest longing for family. Imbued with heart and humor in even the darkest moments, The Mother’s Promise is an unforgettable novel about the power of love and forgiveness.”
The Winters by Lisa Gabrielle
I found this to be the perfect escape reading. I loved the twist of family drama, mystery and suspense and I had a hard time putting this one down. For what it’s worth, I have never read Daphne du Maurier’s Rebecca so I didn’t have that to compare this to, and maybe that helped me just read this for what it is. The creepiness factor with the characters made this super engaging and I just needed to know what was going to happen.
“Inspired by Daphne du Maurier’s Rebecca, a spellbindingly suspenseful novel set in the moneyed world of the Hamptons, about secrets that refuse to remain buried and consequences that can’t be escaped
After a whirlwind romance, a young woman returns to the opulent, secluded Long Island mansion of her new fiancé Max Winter—a wealthy politician and recent widower—and a life of luxury she’s never known. But all is not as it appears at the Asherley estate. The house is steeped in the memory of Max’s beautiful first wife Rebekah, who haunts the young woman’s imagination and feeds her uncertainties, while his very alive teenage daughter Dani makes her life a living hell. She soon realizes there is no clear place for her in this twisted little family: Max and Dani circle each other like cats, a dynamic that both repels and fascinates her, and he harbors political ambitions with which he will allow no woman—alive or dead—to interfere.
As the soon-to-be second Mrs. Winter grows more in love with Max, and more afraid of Dani, she is drawn deeper into the family’s dark secrets—the kind of secrets that could kill her, too. The Winters is a riveting story about what happens when a family’s ghosts resurface and threaten to upend everything.”
The Husband’s Secret by Liane Moriarty
This was my first Liane Moriarty book I ever read and it made me into a big fan. This story is told from 3 separate points of view that become intertwined. I always love Moriarty’s character development and she does such a great job of showing the complexities in relationships. The Husband’s Secret has mystery along with incredible wit and I just found this one so satisfying.
At the heart of The Husband’s Secret is a letter that’s not meant to be read.
My darling Cecilia, if you’re reading this, then I’ve died…
Imagine that your husband wrote you a letter, to be opened after his death. Imagine, too, that the letter contains his deepest, darkest secret—something with the potential to destroy not just the life you built together, but the lives of others as well. Imagine, then, that you stumble across that letter while your husband is still very much alive. . . .
Cecilia Fitzpatrick has achieved it all—she’s an incredibly successful businesswoman, a pillar of her small community, and a devoted wife and mother. Her life is as orderly and spotless as her home. But that letter is about to change everything, and not just for her: Rachel and Tess barely know Cecilia—or each other—but they too are about to feel the earth-shattering repercussions of her husband’s secret.
Acclaimed author Liane Moriarty has written a gripping, thought-provoking novel about how well it is really possible to know our spouses—and, ultimately, ourselves.
One Day In December by Josie Silver
I chose this book expecting a lighter “rom-com” type feel. I was pleasantly surprised that there was a little more than that and enjoyed the story of love, loss, and friendship. The story is told over a period of 10 years and I enjoyed that even though I didn’t love the characters all the time I could relate to their challenges and enjoyed the concept of falling in love with someone vs staying in love and what that really means in the long term.
“Two people. Ten chances. One unforgettable love story.
Laurie is pretty sure love at first sight doesn’t exist anywhere but the movies. But then, through a misted-up bus window one snowy December day, she sees a man who she knows instantly is the one. Their eyes meet, there’s a moment of pure magic…and then her bus drives away.
Certain they’re fated to find each other again, Laurie spends a year scanning every bus stop and cafe in London for him. But she doesn’t find him, not when it matters anyway. Instead they “reunite” at a Christmas party, when her best friend Sarah giddily introduces her new boyfriend to Laurie. It’s Jack, the man from the bus. It would be.
What follows for Laurie, Sarah and Jack is ten years of friendship, heartbreak, missed opportunities, roads not taken, and destinies reconsidered. One Day in December is a joyous, heartwarming and immensely moving love story to escape into and a reminder that fate takes inexplicable turns along the route to happiness.”
Winter Street by Elin Hilderbrand (Book #1 in the four part Winter Series)
I don’t read a lot of book series but last year I was looking for a holiday themed book and this came highly recommended. Winter Street is book #1 of a four part Winter Series and is the introduction to the Quinn Family and takes place on Nantucket. Elin Hilderbrand is known for her “summer book” so this series was a departure from that and makes this the perfect cozy winter read.
I found this whole series to be light but not super fluffy and just a great escape. I loved getting to know this family and going through their ups and downs with them over the course of this series. It definitely has aspects of a Hallmark movie so it may not be for everyone but I found it thoroughly enjoyable and really missed the Quinn family when it was over.
“In bestseller Elin Hilderbrand’s first Christmas novel, a family gathers on Nantucket for a holiday filled with surprises.
Kelley Quinn is the owner of Nantucket’s Winter Street Inn and the proud father of four, all of them grown and living in varying states of disarray. Patrick, the eldest, is a hedge fund manager with a guilty conscience. Kevin, a bartender, is secretly sleeping with a French housekeeper named Isabelle. Ava, a school teacher, is finally dating the perfect guy but can’t get him to commit. And Bart, the youngest and only child of Kelley’s second marriage to Mitzi, has recently shocked everyone by joining the Marines.
As Christmas approaches, Kelley is looking forward to getting the family together for some quality time at the inn. But when he walks in on Mitzi kissing Santa Claus (or the guy who’s playing Santa at the inn’s annual party), utter chaos descends. With the three older children each reeling in their own dramas and Bart unreachable in Afghanistan, it might be up to Kelley’s ex-wife, nightly news anchor Margaret Quinn, to save Christmas at the Winter Street Inn.
Before the mulled cider is gone, the delightfully dysfunctional Quinn family will survive a love triangle, an unplanned pregnancy, a federal crime, a small house fire, many shots of whiskey, and endless rounds of Christmas caroling, in this heart-warming novel about coming home for the holidays.”
Do you have any cozy reading book suggestions? I would love to hear in the comments below. <3