I don’t know about you, but I’m something of a seasonal mood reader. Meaning, with every change of season I tend to feel a pull to read a certain type of book. It’s not always the same mood each time winter comes around, though. Some years I crave books in hot locations to feel the warmth. Some winters all I want to read is Harry Potter. Sometimes it’s more genre based. But this year, curling up with a book that takes place in a cold or wintry environment is particularly appealing. There’s just something about getting cozy with a blanket and a coffee while the chill is both outside and in my book that sounds just right this season.
Although each of these books features a chilly atmosphere, they couldn’t be more different. This list contains a variety of genres, from historical fiction to contemporary and gothic mystery to Nordic noir. So hopefully there’s something for you in the mix!
Ready to see my picks?
In Beartown, a small forest town that is slowly dwindling, hockey provides its residents hope. Hope of winning a championship and hope for a future. But this is not your typical sports book. It explores a variety of themes that are incredibly relevant, weaving them together flawlessly. Much of the content is harsh and heavy, but the delivery is such that it is compulsively readable. The narration in the audiobook was excellent as well, so if that’s your preferred format, definitely try this out!
The Broken Girls centers around Idlewild Hall, a boarding school in Vermont that is rumored to be haunted. This gothic mystery has a supernatural element that is wonderfully integrated and adds a sense of foreboding without being overtly scary. Told in alternating timelines from 1950 and 2014, the truth of this place and its inhabitants is unraveled, coming together in the end for quite a satisfying conclusion.
Drift Stumble Fall explores the theme of judging other people’s lives based on what we see and how things are not always as they appear. Taking place over the course of a week during a massive snowstorm, it follows the perspectives of two men who live across the street from one another, and facts and nuances develop over time to reveal the truth about each household. This character driven novel is realistic, compelling, and poignant.
The Darkness is the first book in a new detective series. Set in Iceland, this has a crisp, bleak atmosphere that is well suited to the story. The main character is Hulda, a sixty-four year old woman nearing retirement from the Reykjavik police department and investigating one last cold case before it is time to retreat to a quieter life. Both Hulda’s story and the mystery she is trying to solve are compelling and it comes to a close with an ending you won’t soon forget!
Once Upon a River is a story about stories, combining historical fiction with fantasy and folklore centered around the Thames river. Much like the river itself, it’s a bit meandering, taking its time to build up the world and the characters before weaving them together. Although there is a mystery at its core with plenty of suspense and tension, this is largely character driven and therefore a slower read to be savored.
There you have my winter reading recommendations for 2018-2019! I’d love to hear from you if any of these books are on your TBR or if you’ve already read them. If you’re a seasonal reader, what are your favorite types of books to read in the winter?