Great books set in winter
Contrary to popular belief, summer is not the best time to read, it’s winter! Well…at least I think so. Cosy winter reads are the best to survive the long snowy days.
Winter is the only time when you feel to cosy up in the reading nook beside a pile of books.
Cold and grey weather may not be tolerable for long, but it’s the best season to curl up by the fireplace with hot cocoa and get transported to a whole new world.
Perhaps, you might be already familiar with classic winter reads such as “A Christmas Carol” and “How the Grinch Stole Christmas”, the books on this list include a blend of intense dramas and charming YA winter reads.
Let’s get started with epic books to read in the winter!
Winter by Ali Smith
“That’s what winter is: an exercise in remembering how to still yourself then how to come pliantly back to life again.”― Ali Smith, Winter
Winter is the second novel in Ali Smith’s tetralogy. The story essentially follows four people. Two middle-aged, estranged sisters and two strangers, who pretend to be in a relationship. All of them come together to live in a mansion in Cornwall. Although the story takes place during the Christmas season, Smith infuses so much more political and social issues in the novel. Winter is a thought-provoking read that should be reserved for cold and blustery days.
‘Graceful, mischievous, joyful . . . Infused with some much-needed humour, happiness and hope’ Independent
Greenglass House Series by Kate Milford
“Nobody said it had to be a story with an ending all neatly tied up like some ridiculous fairy tale. This story’s true, and true stories don’t have endings, because things just keep going.”― Kate Milford, Greenglass House
Greenglass House Series is a captivating mystery novel for middle graders but also greatly loved by adult readers. The story takes place on the frosty winter days at Green Glasshouse. Twelve-year-old Milo encounters secretive guests, each with their own mysterious stories that involve the house. From snow drifts to chilly nights an epic atmospheric series to indulge in.
“Milford employs a Westing Game level of cunning in setting up clues, revealing their importance, and immediately pivoting to a higher level of mystery, gratifying readers as she pulls them into the story.”—Horn Book Magazine
The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden
“All my life,” she said, “I have been told ‘go’ and ‘come.’ I am told how I will live, and I am told how I must die. I must be a man’s servant and a mare for his pleasure, or I must hide myself behind walls and surrender my flesh to a cold, silent god. I would walk into the jaws of hell itself if it were a path of my own choosing. I would rather die tomorrow in the forest than live a hundred years of the life appointed me. Please. Please let me help you.”― Katherine Arden, The Bear and the Nightingale
This irresistible debut novel winter-story takes you to the Russian wilderness, to the life of quick-witted Vasya. She loves everything about winter, especially the time spent listening to the nurse’s fairytales about the blue-eyed winter demon. When her stepmother refuses to serve the creature of the forest, Vasya senses a darkness in the village. This dark fairy-tale is a must-read during the cold months.
“An extraordinary retelling of a very old tale . . . A Russian setting adds unfamiliar spice to the story of a young woman who does not rebel against the limits of her role in her culture so much as transcend them. The Bear and the Nightingale is a wonderfully layered novel of family and the harsh wonders of deep winter magic.”—Robin Hobb
In a Holidaze by Christina Lauren
“The only person whose expectations you have to live up to is yourself.”― Christina Lauren, In a Holidaze
Christina Lawrence’s New York Times bestselling novel is a quintessential Christmas romance that revolves around the choices made by the central character Maelyn Jones. Having celebrated their week-long holidays, the family and friends of Maelyn are about to leave the cabin. She secretly wishes for the thing that will make her most happy. And just like she wished for, it’s been granted to her. A charming YA winter novel to read during the chilly nights.
“In a Holidaze is everything I’ve ever wanted in a wintry love story. As hilarious as it is sweet and sexy as it is tender, this story is pure, irresistible magic from start to finish. I couldn’t possibly love this book anymore—my favourite Christina Lauren novel yet!” — Emily Henry, New York Times bestselling author of Beach Read.
Call of the Wild by Jack London
“There is an ecstasy that marks the summit of life, and beyond which life cannot rise. And such is the paradox of living, this ecstasy comes when one is most alive, and it comes as a complete forgetfulness that one is alive.”― Jack London, The Call of the Wild
Jack London’s masterpiece is set in the wildness of Canada and Alaska. The novel begins with Buck,- half St. Bernard and half sheepdog. He leads a prosperous life as a household dog on the ranch of California. Later, Buck is kidnapped and transported to wildlife as a sledge dog in Alaska. Soon Buck becomes ferocious and savage in nature. He learns to fight for food and sleep beneath the snow on frosty nights. A classic winter-themed adventure novel you should read.
The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah
“You know what they say about finding a man in Alaska—the odds are good, but the goods are odd.”― Kristin Hannah, The Great Alone
Kristin Hannah’s New York Times bestselling novel follows dysfunctional a family, destined to follow an untamed life in the wild of Alaska.
Ernt Allbright’s wife and daughter are incapable of confronting his impulsive decisions, including his recent choice to move to Alaska. Thirteen-year-old Leni is both anxious and excited about this new life, but she secretly hopes that the new land can give her family a new start. But soon when winter approaches, their life in the remote corner of life gets hard and miserable. A heartwrenching novel that describes the hardships of Alaskan winter.
“Hannah skillfully situates the emotional family saga in the events and culture of the late ’70s… But it’s her tautly drawn characters―Large Marge, Genny, Mad Earl, Tica, Tom―who contribute not only to Leni’s improbable survival but to her salvation amid her family’s tragedy.” ―Publishers Weekly
The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis
“I hope no one who reads this book has been quite as miserable as Susan and Lucy were that night; but if you have been – if you’ve been up all night and cried till you have no more tears left in you – you will know that there comes, in the end, a sort of quietness. You feel as if nothing is ever going to happen again.”― C.S. Lewis, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
C.S Lewi’s fantasy novel follows four siblings- Peter, Edmund, Susan and Lucy who has been sent to their country house during World War II. But soon they are about to explore the magical world- the enchanted Narnia, where the evil white witch has imposed eternal winter. The four of them along with Aslan, the Lion are about to fight for the people of Narnia. This bewitching fantasy novel is worth adding to your winter TBR list.
A Castle in the Clouds by Kerstin Gier
This delightful YA novel follows Sophie, who works as an intern at the hotel in the Swiss mountains. As New Year’s Eve ball is about to take place, Sophie is busy keeping up with the daily tasks. But soon mysteries are about to unfold, causing grave danger to everyone including Sophie. A cosy winter read for the fans of Agatha Christie novels.
“A Castle in the Clouds is a rollicking, non-stop romp full of characters and character, and it kept me smiling all the way to the end.” ―NPR
Beartown by Fredrik Backman
“Never trust people who don’t have something in their lives that they love beyond all reason.”― Fredrik Backman, Beartown
From the bestselling author of A Man Called Ove, comes an intense novel about a small community in the forest with a dwindling population. Beartown and the people are engrossed in hockey. They believe teenage hockey players are going to change the future of the community. Their victory in the national competition is the last resort to make the town great again. Backman masterfully narrates the lives of a declining community in this profound winter-themed novel. Beartown is now an HBO miniseries! Watch the trailer here.
“Backman is a masterful writer, his characters familiar yet distinct, flawed yet heroic. . . There are scenes that bring tears, scenes of gut-wrenching despair, and moments of sly humour. . .Like Friday Night Lights, this is about more than youth sports; it’s a part coming-of-age novel, part study of moral failure, and finally a chronicle of groupthink in which an unlikely hero steps forward to save more than one person from self-destruction. A thoroughly empathetic examination of the fragile human spirit, Backman’s latest will resonate a long time.” ― Kirkus Reviews
Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman
“Because,” said Thor, “when something goes wrong, the first thing I always think is, it is Loki’s fault. It saves a lot of time.”― Neil Gaiman, Norse Mythology
Neil Gaiman recreates an epic version of the great Norse myths. From the creation of the nine worlds to Loki, Thor and Ragnarok, Gaiman adopts his own style and language to describe these stories. There is humour, drama and action and a lot of complex characters that will take you to the world of mythology.
Weaving together ancient Norse mythology with 21st-century sensibility, Gaiman’s storytelling once again recreates an entire genre for the modern reader.—Chelsea Hassler, Newsweek.
The Winter Garden Christian Hannah
“To lose love is a terrible thing. But to turn away from it is unbearable. Will you spend the rest of your life replaying it in your head? Wondering if you walked away too soon or too easily? Or if you’ll ever love anyone that deeply again?”― Kristin Hannah, Winter Garden
Winter Garden illuminates the complex mother-daughter relationship and the enduring links throughout their lives.
Anya has never been an affectionate mother. Her daughters Meredith and Nina gave up the idea of trying to know their Russian born mother. But now their father’s unexpected illness has brought the sisters even closer. However, their father unusual request startles them both. He wants them to get to know more about their emotionally detached mother. A compelling winter-themed drama you will love.
“Readers will find it hard not to laugh a little and cry a little more as mother and daughters reach out to each other just in the nick of time.” ―Publishers Weekly
Moon of the Crusted Snow by Waubgeshig Rice
“Fear squeezed itself into the gym.”― Waubgeshig Rice, Moon of the Crusted Snow
Moon of the Crusted is a suspenseful novel that’s centred around the remote Anishnaabe community in northern Canada. As winter is arriving, the community suffers because of insufficient food and other necessary supplies. However, soon they realise they are completely cut off from the outside world. Amidst the chaos, an unexpected visitor arrives. This post-apocalyptic, slow-burn novel is perfect to read during the winter months.
“Rice complicates and demands a rethinking of the apocalyptic category itself, which is the book’s greatest revelation and strength … Rice’s writing is measured and he has a lovely ear for the cadence of conversation ― humour, rage, and introspection all coming through the dialogue … Rice’s story teaches, but it’s not didactic; it’s original, and somehow takes the frenetic pace of a crisis, slows it down, and shows us its parts.” ― Canadian Notes & Queries
Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton
“They seemed to come suddenly upon happiness as if they had surprised a butterfly in the winter woods.”― Edith Wharton, Ethan Frome
Edith Wharton’s Ethan From is melancholic distress and forbidden love. Ethan Frame is a struggling farmer who is in a complex relationship with his wife Zeenie. When the vivacious and charming Mattie Silver comes to live with them, Frome finds himself attracted to her. This compelling gothic fiction is the perfect classic winter story to curl up with.
A few more cozy winter books to read in the cold season
- The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey
- Northern Lights by Nora Roberts
- Cold storage Alaska by John Straley
- Little House in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder
- The girl who married a bear by John Straley
- Starry Night by Debbie Macomber
- Winter Solstice by Rosamunde Pilcher
- Mystery in White by Joseph Jefferson Farjeon
- Run by Anne Patchett
Have you got enough books in stock to read when it’s snowing?
What books would you like to read in the cold months?
Let me know in the comments.
Always curious to hear from you,