33 Best Winter Books To Cozy Up With

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Enjoy the best winter books to read this season set across the globe – including romance, mystery, horror, short stories, graphic novels, and more.

Are you looking for books for winter to curl up to this season?

While we enjoy winter reads that capture the holidays, all things baking, and cheesy romance, we also appreciate riveting titles that leave us on the edge of our seats.

This intrigue includes chilling murder mysteries, survival stories, tales of ghosts, and deadly snowstorms. Of course, we can’t resist the timeless classics either.

So, what are our top books set in winter to read from across the world, transporting us to places like Russia, Japan, Switzerland, Scotland, Ukraine, Iceland, and the U.S.?

Not to mention that some of the best books about winter take place in isolated settings, at hotels, on private islands, and at our in-laws’ fancy estates…

Below, find books for every type of mood and reader, including historical fiction, magical fantasy, and translated literature.

And, don’t forget to let us know your favorite winter-themed books in the comments. There are so many, we couldn’t possibly name them all. Let’s get started!

Winter Books with image of pond or lake with snowy fog, tree covered in snow, and cityscape in background
Travel across the world with the best books that take place in winter.

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What We Recommend

New & Contemporary Winter Books

The Sunlight Pilgrims by Jenni Fagan book cover with two people walking on snowy landscapePin

The Sunlight Pilgrims by Jenni Fagan

In the year 2020, a world greatly affected by climate change is gradually freezing solid.

As the polar ice caps melt and water levels rise as quickly as the temperature drops, everyone in the UK is preparing for the worst winter in history.

Everyone except Dylan, that is.

Caught in a strong spell of grief for his mother and grandmother, he’s on a mission to head north from his home in London up to Scotland to bury their ashes.

Meanwhile, oblivious to Dylan’s approach, headstrong mother Constance and her trans-12-year-old daughter Stella scrape by on the usefulness of the random items they can scavenge.

When Dylan eventually makes it to their caravan park in the Scottish Highlands, it may just be the spark of hope they all need to make it through together.

Author Jenni Fagan combines elements of fantastical imagery with harsh yet grounded realism in one of the most immersive apocalyptic winter-themed books.

Travel to Scotland with even more great titles.

Read The Sunlight Pilgrims: Amazon | Goodreads

More popular books from Christine

Beartown by Fredrik Backman book cover with icy pond with snow covered houses behind itPin

Beartown by Fredrik Backman

It’s no secret that we adore Swedish author Fredrik Backman. He is famous for his gut-wrenching novels that get at the core of humanity in all of its flawed but beautiful emotions.

Beartown is no different. Readers head to an isolated and impoverished wilderness community with high hopes for their amateur junior ice hockey team.

A victory would be life-changing for many of the struggling community members. However, one night of celebrations and accusations has devastating consequences.

Find an immersive story and one of the best winter books about loyalty, human resilience, and ambition.

Beartown carries the emotional depth and thought-provoking insight we expect from Backman.

Encounter even more books from Backman, including A Man Called Ove, on our sad novels reading list.

Read Beartown: Amazon | Goodreads

The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah book cover with road, forest, and pink sky over mountainsPin

The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah

TWs: domestic violence, child abuse, alcoholism, PTSD, and more

The Allbright family is looking for a fresh start in the untamed wilderness of Alaska in the 1970s.

Thirteen-year-old Leni and her parents, Ernt and Cora, desperately want to embrace the beauty of the land while tackling the dangerous challenges it presents.

As winter descends upon their isolated cabin, Ernt’s inner demons and his inability to adapt to the harsh environment lead to escalating violence, putting the family’s survival at stake.

Amidst the darkness and with dwindling resources, Leni finds solace in her friendship with Matthew, her schoolmate and neighbor.

However, their forbidden love is tested by the trauma and turmoil surrounding them.

One of the longer but most atmospheric books set in winter on this list, The Great Alone is a coming-of-age story filled with themes of love, belonging, and survival.

It’s also a beautiful mother-daughter story.

Read The Great Alone: Amazon | Goodreads

Translated Books Set In Winter

There Once Lived a Woman Who Tried to Kill Her Neighbor’s Baby: Scary Fairy Tales by Ludmilla Petrushevskaya book cover with women's bust on top of sculpture or fountainPin

There Once Lived a Woman Who Tried to Kill Her Neighbor’s Baby: Scary Fairy Tales by Ludmilla Petrushevskaya

Translated by Keith Gessen and Anna Summers

As is very evident, this is by far one of the longest-titled books for winter on this list. This is ironic because it contains a series of short stories instead of one long narrative.

But the thing that ties them all together is the vibe; unsettling, nerve-wracking, ominous, and downright creepy.

Reading these stories is the book equivalent of waiting for the ship to hit the iceberg, as it were, sometimes only to find that you actually hit the iceberg a long time ago and have been a ghost ever since.

Author Ludmilla Petrushevskaya’s collection of macabre fairy tales can be considered one of the more abstract winter-themed books on this list.

The stories collected evoke the harsh winters of 20th-century Russia in which they were written. Even if a tale doesn’t take place during winter, it still feels cold in the mind.

Each of these 19 short stories – some only a few pages long – packs a hard punch, be it in terms of morality, tone, or sentiment.

Come for the trepidation; stay for the creeping unease.

Read There Once Lived a Woman Who Tried to Kill Her Neighbor’s Baby: Amazon | Goodreads

The Dog Who Dared to Dream by Sun-mi Hwang book cover with tree with bicycle under it and little black dog sitting nearbyPin

The Dog Who Dared to Dream by Sun-mi Hwang

Illustrated by Nomoco; translated by Chi-Young Kim

Born looking quite different from the rest of the pups in her litter, young Scraggly is not liked by her mother. However, she is saved by the man who owns her.

Growing up in the yard, Scraggly faces hardships and challenges every year – even from Grandpa Screecher, as she calls her owner – when the sun fades and the cold comes in.

Just like us, Scraggly has dreams – of motherhood, of friendship, of happiness. Hopefully, one day she will be able to make them come true.

Anyone who has approached books or films with a canine protagonist will rightly have a sense of trepidation regarding their welfare; that goes for this short novel as well.

The Dog Who Dared to Dream is a sad yet compelling book. Readers will get invested in the life of Scraggly very quickly.

As long as you maintain a realist mindset – famous literary pooches can be tearjerking stories – this is one of the winter books that will stay with you long after you’ve finished it.

Diversify your reading with even more terrific Korean novels in translation to read.

Read The Dog Who Dared to Dream: Amazon | Goodreads

Winter in Sokcho by Elisa Shua Dusapin book cover with National Book Award Winner sticker and title sideways with landscape in backgroundPin

Winter in Sokcho by Elisa Shua Dusapin

Translated by Aneesa Higgins

At the out-of-season South Korean resort of Sokcho, our young unnamed protagonist works as a receptionist at a faded guesthouse.

One evening, after another day of not much at all, an unusual visitor comes by: a French cartoonist by trade, looking for inspiration from his new South Korean surroundings.

Being a dual French-Korean person, the receptionist and he begin to form something of a friendship.

When she agrees to show him the Sokcho that she knows, he instead declares he wishes to see “authentic” Korea.

This disjointed aim leads the pair on a journey up snowy mountains, past cascading waterfalls, and across the border into North Korea.

Throughout it all, the receptionist is shown a version of Sokcho quite unlike the one she knows to be true.

With unending tension and elegant prose, Winter in Sokcho is one of the best books that take place in winter by award-winning French Korean author Elisa Shua Dusapin.

Find even more books about Korea and Korean culture.

Read Winter in Sokcho: Amazon | Goodreads

Death and the Penguin by Andrey Kurkov book cover with red coffin and headless people in black suits with penguin in betweenPin

Death and the Penguin by Andrey Kurkov

Translated by George Bird

Viktor is a writer living in post-Soviet Kyiv and struggling to make ends meet for himself and Misha – the eponymous penguin, whom Viktor acquired from the local zoo.

When Viktor is hired to write obituaries for a local newspaper, he finally feels like his life might be getting on the right track.

The obituaries are for noteworthy people who have not yet died (to have ready, his editor says), and Viktor enjoys traveling across Ukraine to do interviews.

But then one of the people in his obituaries suddenly dies, and Viktor’s life takes a surreal turn in which both he and Misha might be in trouble.

Death and the Penguin is one of the most fun and absurd winter books with lots of snowy adventures for Viktor and his penguin friend.

Though not all of this satirical Ukrainian book takes place in winter, the oppressive post-Soviet setting and the presence of a literal penguin throughout still make it the perfect read for winter.

Read Death and the Penguin: Amazon | Goodreads

The Decagon House Murders by Yukito Ayatsuji book cover with pink hand on purple backgroundPin

The Decagon House Murders by Yukito Ayatsuji

Translated by Ho-Ling Wong

Are you craving isolated locations and novels set on islands?

Six months after the mysterious and brutal murder of a man and his wife on their private Japanese island, a group of students heads to that same island for a week-long holiday.

These students are all members of the university’s mystery club. They wish to investigate the scene, especially as the crime remains unsolved.

However, it quickly becomes clear that an unknown entity means to pick them off one by one. Hopefully, they can solve the mystery of the Decagon House Murders before they’re all eliminated!

Author Yukito Ayatsuji’s excellent crime thriller was so well received that it started a whole literary movement in Japan; this helped to revive the mystery genre in the 1980s.

The Decagon House Murders is one of the best books set in winter when spring is just about to warm things up again.

The dreary setting, cold island winds, and quality of the murder mystery in this book make it very wintery indeed.

Discover more of the best books from, about, and set in Japan.

Read The Decagon House Murders: Amazon | Goodreads

More translated winter books from Christine

A Castle In The Clouds by Kerstin Gier book cover with illustrated Swiss hotel and young red haired maidPin

A Castle In The Clouds by Kerstin Gier

Translated into English by Romy Fursland

With such a snowy landscape, it’s no surprise that some of the best books about winter take place in Switzerland.

For YA lovers looking for a lighter holiday mystery, Gier’s A Castle In The Clouds will tick many boxes with its lovable protagonist, ghost cat, and sweet romance.

Meet Sophie Spark, the new hotel intern who recently decided high school was not for her.

Tasked with pretty much everything, Sophie has her hands full, especially with the wealthy Christmas and New Year’s holiday guests pouring in with their snooty pooches and gaudy diamonds.

To make matters worse, there is a diamond thief and kidnapper on the grounds.

Can Sophie keep her job, solve the mystery, and maybe even find love, making a few friends along the way?

For YA winter books, A Castle In The Clouds is also perfect if you enjoy benign haunted house stories. Not to mention that The Forbidden Cat is a lovely nod to our cat book lovers.

Read A Castle In The Clouds: Amazon | Goodreads

Horror Winter-Themed Books

Moon of the Crusted Snow by Waubgeshig Rice book cover with little home in field of white snowPin

Moon of the Crusted Snow by Waubgeshig Rice

The power has gone off on the Anishinaabe rez where Evan lives. But then again, the power is always going off.

But the longer it takes for the power to come back on, the more worried Evan and the other residents become, especially when deliveries stop arriving.

And, it seems like they might be completely alone with a harsh Northern Canadian winter on the horizon.

Tensions within the community are high, causing rifts amongst friends and difficulties for the community leaders trying to keep the peace.

Then, a group of outsiders arrives, and Evan thinks they might bring more trouble with them.

This eerie apocalyptic short horror novel is one of the most atmospheric books about winter and will have you pulling the covers a little tighter.

Read Moon of the Crusted Snow: Amazon | Goodreads

The Only Good Indians by Stephen Graham Jones book cover with deer with antlersPin

The Only Good Indians by Stephen Graham Jones

Get ready to enter the chilling world of folk horror.

As young men, Lewis, Ricky, Gabe, and Cass made the mistake of breaking a cardinal Blackfeet rule by killing more than they needed to while out hunting.

On the last day of hunting season, the four friends broke into a restricted area and killed an elk they had no need for.

And now, ten years later, something seems to be haunting them because of what they did.

A revenge story might not seem like one of the best winter-themed books. However, the vibes in this story make it perfect for a cold winter night wrapped up in a blanket with some hot cocoa.

Plus, not only does a lot of this book take place in the snow, but the story itself will chill you to the bone.

Rooted in Blackfeet culture and unapologetically so, The Only Good Indians is perfect if you want to pick up more books by Indigenous authors.

Plus, we always enjoy a good story with monsters.

Read The Only Good Indians: Amazon | Goodreads

Thriller, Mystery, & Suspense Books Set In Winter

One by One by Ruth Ware book cover with snow cloudPin

One by One by Ruth Ware

Erin and Danny are responsible for the guests at a high-end ski chalet in France where most of the drama is usually over the menu options.

But this year, they’re hosting the employees and shareholders of the successful music app “Snoop,” and things are about to take a turn.

One of those guests is Liz, a former employee and current shareholder who doesn’t quite seem to fit in with the rest of the team.

Not long into the retreat, people start dying, and with a snowstorm outside, those remaining start to panic that they are being picked off one by one.

If isolated, closed-circle winter thriller books are your jam, then One by One is truly a fun and snowy homage to Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None.

Told in alternating POVs from Erin and Liz, this is one of the best winter reads for those who want to feel immersed in a snowy atmosphere.

Read One by One: Amazon | Goodreads

I'm Thinking of Ending Things by Iain Reid book cover with person with fair skin and red hair with old fashioned flowery wallpaper and chandelierPin

I’m Thinking of Ending Things by Iain Reid

Jake and his girlfriend are driving through the rural countryside on their way to spend Thanksgiving with Jake’s parents.

But unbeknownst to Jake, his girlfriend – our unnamed narrator – is thinking of ending things.

She isn’t sure why, even going so far as to tell the reader all about how great Jake is and how perfect their relationship is.

Nevertheless, she knows something just isn’t working. She just has to figure out the right time and place.

I’m Thinking of Ending Things is one of the most unsettling winter books. As the night progresses and the weather takes a turn, things get weird.

This is a disturbing and creepy novel that will haunt you long after you finish reading. And, we highly advise that you take the book’s advice and immediately reread it – in reverse!

It’s also one of the best books to listen to in the car.

P.S. Because I’m Thinking of Ending Things takes place at Thanksgiving, it is technically a fall book. However, given the incredibly wintery atmosphere and the snowstorm our narrator and Jake find themselves stuck in, we are counting it. Put those trolling fingers down!

Discover even more Canadian-based books and authors.

Read I’m Thinking of Ending Things: Amazon | Goodreads

The Family Game by Catherine Steadman book cover with blue tint over fancy and large building with hot neon pink titlePin

The Family Game by Catherine Steadman

If you are looking for winter books set at Christmas, fast-paced The Family Game is a great festive thriller.

Harry is a successful novelist who has just gotten engaged to the love of her life, Edward.

The only catch is that she hasn’t met Edward’s family (who are obscenely wealthy). Now, she’s about to spend the holidays with them.

When Harry meets the powerful family patriarch, she receives a mysterious gift. She finds herself wrapped up in a cat-and-mouse game with potentially deadly consequences.

Although you might need to suspend some disbelief on this one, the Christmas games and atmosphere make The Family Game well worth including on your winter reading list.

Find even more books released in 2022.

Read The Family Game: Amazon | Goodreads

The Undesired by Yrsa Sigurdardottir book cover with bird on bare tree branch with purple and blue skyPin

The Undesired by Yrsa Sigurdardottir

While working as a maid at a juvenile detention center in rural Iceland in the 1970s, young Aldís is attempting to save enough money to be able to finally leave and live in Reykjavik.

But one day, a new boy is brought to the center. This boy comes with a disturbing and unnatural aura. Soon after his arrival, two boys at the center are dead.

Meanwhile, in the present day, single father Odinn has just taken over an abuse investigation of the center.

Unusually, the person previously running the investigation died in mysterious circumstances.

And the more he looks into things, the more Odinn finds that the event Aldís witnessed all those years ago might be linked to the death of his own ex-wife.

With plenty of twists and turns – as well as nail-biting tension created with well-crafted pacingThe Undesired is one of the most intense and thrilling books set in winter.

Plus, it’s a fantastic book for armchair Iceland travelers.

Read The Undesired: Amazon | Goodreads

Nowhere to Hide by Nell Pattison book cover with snowy trees and red titlePin

Nowhere to Hide by Nell Pattison

Follow a group of seven nature enthusiasts hoping to watch a starling murmuration on Boxing Day in a closed nature reserve.

Not long into their evening, though, one of them winds up dead. The group realizes someone might be hunting them – maybe even one of their own.

As the night unfolds, we spend time with each member of the group and learn that all of them have secrets. But, are they secrets worth killing for?

Readers will feel the chill creeping in as the night gets colder and darker and the group finds themselves deeper in the heart of the nature reserve.

Author Nell Pattison is deaf; watching one of the characters, Emily, who is also deaf, wander through the snow in silence is truly chilling.

Nowhere To Hide is one of the best winter-themed books if you want a fun isolated survival thriller full of secrets and a complicated sister relationship.

*Published as Hide in the UK

Read Nowhere to Hide: Amazon | Goodreads

Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead by Olga Tokarczuk book cover with blue, black and pink like stripes and award stickerPin

Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead by Olga Tokarczuk

Time passes slowly in remote Polish villages in wintertime, so elderly resident Janina Duszejko has taken to studying astrology and translating William Blake into Polish.

In between the pursuit of these hobbies, she’s taken to spying on the other villagers, few in number though they may be.

She doesn’t care too much about them; she doesn’t even refer to them by their names a lot of the time.

But when her neighbor Big Foot is found dead in his home in mysterious circumstances, she decides it’s up to her to solve the case. This gets more difficult as more bodies start to turn up.

Will the villagers pay attention to this nosy old crank? Or will they ignore her? As usual…

The claustrophobic atmosphere of the snowed-in, bitterly cold Polish border village is one of the strongest, especially for books that take place in winter.

If you want to feel immersed in the tension of the setting and solve some murders, this is one of the best winter books for you.

Discover more gripping Polish books for every season.

Read Drive Your Plow Over the Bones: Amazon | Goodreads

The Dead Mountaineer’s Inn by Boris and Arkady Strugatsky book cover with person's side profile smoking and wearing hatPin

The Dead Mountaineer’s Inn by Boris and Arkady Strugatsky

Escaping to a blissful two weeks of absolutely no work is what Inspector Peter Glebsky is after. It’s time to ski all day, and then come back to a large brandy or three by the fire.

To do this, he’s booked himself into the Dead Mountaineer’s Inn, way up in the mountains. Unfortunately, so have a few other people.

The other guests at this hotel are an eccentric bunch. There’s a continuously drunk rich man and his wife, a physicist, a teenager of ambiguous gender, a possible gangster, and a famous magician.

Also, something is up at this hotel; things keep moving around inexplicably, and the showers are all found gushing hot water at the same time.

Is there another unknown guest staying here? Are they a ghost? A prankster? Hopefully, they’re at least human, but even that might be impossible in this place.

If only they weren’t all stranded thanks to an avalanche.

The Dead Mountaineer’s Inn (also known as The Dead Mountaineer’s Hotel) is a quirky, character-driven mystery novel and perfect for anyone looking for winter reads with an isolated setting.

Fair warning: this book is a little divisive. By the end, depending on your literary tastes, you’ll either love it or hate it.

Plus, we just love winter books with a good hotel setting.

Read The Dead Mountaineer’s Inn: Amazon | Goodreads

More Mystery & Suspense Winter Novels From Christine

The Sanatorium by Sarah Pearse book cover with gray hued hotel with mountains behind itPin

The Sanatorium by Sarah Pearse

If you are looking for seriously spooky books set in winter or are hoping to travel to Switzerland via your armchair, grab a copy of Pearse’s The Sanatorium.

While the unsuspecting visitor may think they are vacationing at a gorgeous winter hotel in the Swiss Alps, this former sanatorium might just be haunted.

Or, deadly – especially with such a contentious and unsolved past.

Years ago, the lead architect went missing. Mysterious disappearances are once again commonplace, unfortunately, as Elin Warner arrives in time to celebrate her brother’s engagement.

With a potential serial killer on the loose and an avalanche trapping guests, can Elin solve the mystery before she becomes the number one target?

Deadly books about winter don’t get any more thrilling – and chilling – than this.

Read The Sanatorium: Amazon | Goodreads

Breathless by Amy McCulloch book cover with shadow of person in blue and white snowPin

Breathless by Amy McCulloch

Living in the Blue Ridge Mountains, we are avid hikers, and Breathless was one of our favorite books to read in 2022.

Breathless is a fantastically fictionalized and detailed account of mountain climbing Nepal’s Manaslu, the 8th-highest peak in the world.

Of course, this makes sense as McCulloch submitted Manaslu herself. And, you can bet that books for winter don’t get any chillier than this one…

Cecily Wong is after a career-changing interview with Charles McVeigh, who is about to break a world climbing record.

However, Cecily isn’t the most skilled climber; in fact, she might be a fatal risk to her experienced teammates.

Add in a murder mystery or two, and summiting Manaslu just got even deadlier. Can Cecily find the killer before it’s too late?

The snowy mountains provide the perfect environment to cover up a murder, making Breathless one of the most suspenseful winter reads on this list. It’s a tad scary.

If you enjoy books about mountain climbing, try these fiction and nonfiction Everest books too.

Read Breathless: Amazon | Goodreads

Rock Paper Scissors by Alice Feeney book cover with snow over trees and churchPin

Rock Paper Scissors by Alice Feeney

Books about winter with unreliable narrators don’t get any more vengeful than Feeney’s Rock Paper Scissors. Trust no one

Hoping to rekindle their dying marriage, Adam and Amelia head off to claim a mysteriously won free stay at a historic and isolated church in Scotland.

Every year, they exchange traditional anniversary gifts, and Amelia writes her husband letters that he never sees.

A novel about stories set against the backdrop of a snowstorm, Rock Paper Scissors will have you wondering if you can ever really know the person you married.

And, do we fall so deeply into our own lies that we start to believe them as truths?

For slower-paced winter books, you’ll love this creepy haunted house setting full of revenge and um, white rabbits.

Read Rock Paper Scissors: Amazon | Goodreads

Romance Winter Reads

(From Christine)

Kiss Her Once For Me by Alison Cochrun book cover with two people in book cafe with city outside windows and snow fallingPin

Kiss Her Once For Me by Alison Cochrun

Winter-themed books with just a bit of fluff, magic, and romance – that also address heavier topics like mental health – don’t get any better than Cochrun’s queer Christmas romance, Kiss Her Once For Me.

With selfish and negligent parents and generalized anxiety disorder, Ellie is struggling in her new Portland, Oregon home. The holiday season doesn’t make it any easier.

Plus, her dream job didn’t work out. She’s been stuck in a self-induced purgatory as a result, including working at a coffee shop that barely pays the rent of her sad apartment or her mother’s spending habits.

When Andrew, the coffee shop’s landlord, proposes a fake and temporary marriage until he receives his inheritance, Ellie cannot resist the money he’s offering; it’s life-changing.

However, Ellie has also been dreaming of a woman she fell in love with during the course of one magical snow day – and who she hasn’t seen since.

Of course, this woman turns out to be Andrew’s sister, forcing Ellie to make quite a few tough decisions. Will Ellie follow her heart or her wallet?

Can she work with her anxiety to redefine and achieve her goals?

For snowed-in, fake-dating winter novels, Kiss Her Once For Me is a must during the holiday season. While Christmas is a joyous time for some, it’s also harder for many.

Read Kiss Her Once For Me: Amazon | Goodreads

Below Zero by Ali Hazelwood book cover with illustrated red haired man and brunette woman with hat wrapped in blankets in mountainsPin

Below Zero by Ali Hazelwood

If you are looking for a little after-dinner dessert, one of the quickest winter books to read includes Ali Hazelwood’s STEMist novella, Below Zero.

Technically, it’s the third in the series, but each can be read as a standalone, covering one of the three friends (we’ve read them out of order).

In Below Zero, Hannah is working her way through school to fulfill her dream of becoming a NASA aerospace engineer.

She doesn’t want to go to Mars herself, but instead, become a ground support member with her innovative technology.

While in school, Hannah interviews Ian, soon to be a top NASA boss. They instantly fall for each other, but Hannah is too involved with school for anything more than casual sex. Ian, however, wants more.

When they meet again later in life, hoping to rekindle that spark, Ian is now the villain, though.

However, is he really the bad guy… especially if he’s saving Hannah from dying in the Arctic’s harsh winter storms?

For books that take place in winter, this steamy romance will warm you right up. Read it in one or two sittings, and of course, champion women in science.

Read Below Zero: Amazon | Goodreads

The Holiday Swap by Maggie Knox book cover with two twin sisters with bakery and two guys in background on blue backgroundPin

The Holiday Swap by Maggie Knox

Of course, we couldn’t resist a few more literally and figuratively sweet books set in winter around the U.S. holiday season. Plus, we devour a lot of delicious foodie fiction.

If you enjoy classic sister swap stories, Charlie and her twin sister Cass will have your mouth watering…

When Charlie gets a concussion, she loses her sense of smell, threatening her baking show host promotion.

Charlie asks Cass to swap places with her while she heads back to manage their small hometown bakery. Of course, lots can and will go wrong, especially when love is in the air.

The Holiday Swap is one of the best books that take place in winter about families, small-town life, and finding yourself. It’s a feel-good story sure to put you in the holiday baking spirit.

Discover even more of the best books about powerful sisterhoods, including one with a serial killer…

Read The Holiday Swap: Amazon | Goodreads

You're A Mean One, Matthew Prince by Timothy Janovsky book cover with illustrated guys, one building a snowman while the other has a snowballPin

You’re A Mean One, Matthew Prince by Timothy Janovsky

Bratty and over-the-top, Matthew’s parents have had enough of his antics, including his latest of buying an entire island.

Shipping him off to his grandparents’ small-town home just outside of the Berkshires is just what he needs to gain some perspective and stay out of trouble.

If Matthew can behave, maybe his parents will fork over the credit cards once again.

What looks like a miserable situation turns into a quickly growing crush for his new bi and unexpected roommate, Hector.

Hector and Matthew team up to achieve their end goals, but the sparks start flying. Maybe there is more to life than excessive wealth…

With Hallmark vibes – plus that much-needed diversity – You’re A Mean One, Matthew Prince is one of the best cheesy books about winter set in Massachusetts with heavier themes of socio-economics and family.

Read You’re A Mean One, Matthew Prince: Amazon | Goodreads

Historical Fiction

A Meal in Winter by Hubert Mingarelli book cover with soldier with gn in snow and forestPin

A Meal in Winter by Hubert Mingarelli

Translated by Sam Taylor

On a dark and bitterly cold winter’s morning during World War II, three German soldiers are dispatched from their camp and sent out into the Polish countryside.

Their mission: to find and capture/kill any Jews they come across.

When they do eventually discover a young Jewish man hiding in the woods, they take him prisoner before retiring to an abandoned house to rest.

While recuperating and preparing food in the house, events bring about a fracture in their resolve, with the soldiers developing different viewpoints on the morality of their mission.

This dramatic wartime novella might have a low page count, but it covers a lot of distance nonetheless.

Those who enjoy hard-hitting WWII historical fiction might well have lots to take away from books about winter such as this.

Travel across Europe with more books set in, about, and from Poland.

Read A Meal in Winter: Amazon | Goodreads

More historical fiction selections from Christine

Burial Rites by Hannah Kent book cover with tan and black feather on blue backgroundPin

Burial Rites by Hannah Kent

Historical fiction lovers looking to travel to Iceland will most appreciate Kent’s thought-provoking Burial Rites.

Based on a true story, meet Agnes Magnúsdóttir, an accused murderess and the last person executed in Iceland.

In 1828, Agnes is found guilty for her alleged role in the murders of Natan Ketilsson and Pétur Jónsson at Illugastaðir.

Set during a harsh Icelandic winter, Agnes awaits her death by beheading at a family’s rural farm in Kornsá.

Gain perspective into Agnes’ side of the story amidst child mortality and wandering eyes.  Her spinsterhood and intellect make her quite the threat, a story we know all too well.

For evocative winter reads, Burial Rites is both atmospheric and suspenseful, even though history dictates its inevitable conclusion.

Read Burial Rites: Amazon | Goodreads | Book Information

The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden book cover with glowing cabin at nightPin

The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden

Travel to the medieval Russian wilderness in this captivating historical fantasy and one of the most popular winter books.

Vasilisa has always concealed her special connection to the spirits of the forest but is forced to call upon them with Christianity spreading its influence.

Her widowed father’s new wife forbids them from honoring the household spirits. As villagers turn their backs on these old beliefs, they unknowingly endanger their way of life.

Vasya must navigate the fine lines of tradition and new religion while facing a dark and powerful force that threatens her home.

Weaving together Russian folklore and history in a magical and mesmerizing tale, The Bear and the Nightingale is one of the most moving winter-themed books.

Cheer for a courageous MC while delving into a poignant exploration of faith.

Read The Bear and the Nightingale: Amazon | Goodreads

‎The Snow Child By Eowyn Ivey book cover with snowy landscape, fox, person, and treesPin

‎The Snow Child By Eowyn Ivey

The Snow Child, a Pulitzer Prize Finalist, takes place in the 1920s in Alaska, following a childless couple, Jack and Mabel.

Struggling under the immense weight of running a farm and their utter disappointment and loneliness, Jack and Mabel are drifting apart.

However, on a whimsy, they build a snow child, which in turn becomes a young girl who they see running among the trees with a fox always at her side.

They grow to love this child, Faina, as their own.

The Snow Child represents one of the best books about winter and the indelible mark it leaves behind – along with a sense of hope and renewal that comes with new seasons.

Read ‎The Snow Child: Amazon | Goodreads

Classic Books For Winter

(From Christine)

Murder On The Orient Express by Agatha Christie book cover with train with red steamPin

Murder On The Orient Express by Agatha Christie

If you are in our Facebook, Uncorked Readers, you know that we have many Agatha Christie fans. And, for the best classic books that take place during winter, Murder On The Orient Express is it.

Detective Hercule Poirot finds himself amidst a perplexing murder scene when a passenger is discovered brutally stabbed to death in their compartment during the journey.

As Poirot investigates, he uncovers a tangled web of secrets, lies, and hidden connections among the passengers. Everyone is a suspect. Can he solve the case and catch the killer?

Christie is famous for painting vivid characters with intriguing motives. Murder On The Orient Express is for lovers of whodunit detective fiction.

Read Murder On The Orient Express: Amazon | Goodreads

Little Women by Louisa May Alcott book cover with woman wearing white lace dressPin

Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

You wouldn’t first think of Little Women as one of the top classic winter-themed books to read.

However, the story begins as the sisters lament a Christmas with no gifts due to their poverty. They also give away their Christmas breakfast to a poorer family; thus begins their story.

We watch as the March sisters, Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy, navigate the world from childhood to adolescence, enduring hardships like illness and financial struggles.

We watch their personal growth and desires while their father is away as a chaplain at war.

Little Women is a must-read classic by the fire on a cozy night.

Read Little Women: Amazon | Goodreads

Wintery Graphic Novels

Blankets by Craig Thompson book cover with snowy forest with trees and two people embracedPin

Blankets by Craig Thompson

TWs: for bullying and sexual assault.

Drawn in an engaging manner and with a striking style, Blankets is the autobiographical story of a major part of author Craig Thompson’s coming-of-age.

Beginning with his relationship with his younger brother Phil, Thompson covers the trials and tribulations of his adolescence.

With unflinching honesty, he discusses his schooling (complete with bullying), his strict, religious family life, and an uncomfortable encounter with a babysitter.

The relentless sheets of Wisconsin winter snow provide an evocative backdrop to the proceedings, as Craig eventually finds his first love Raina at a winter Bible camp.

Craig and Raina become inseparable, and through their relationship, Craig begins to fully explore his faith, love, and the world around him.

Winner of multiple awards, this is a heartfelt and honest account of one person’s journey to becoming the person they are today.

For books set in winter, Blankets deservedly takes its place among the most important and poignant graphic novels of the 21st century.

Read Blankets: Amazon | Goodreads

Nonfiction Books About Winter

Dead Mountain: The Untold True Story of the Dyatlov Pass Incident by Donnie Eichar book cover with people with backpacks and hiking gear in snowstormPin

Dead Mountain: The Untold True Story of the Dyatlov Pass Incident by Donnie Eichar

In the winter of 1959, deep in the Ural Mountains, nine experienced student trekkers died under mysterious circumstances.

The students left on January 23rd. When they had not returned by their intended date three weeks later, their families began to worry.

What rescuers found when they went searching for the missing hikers was straight out of a horror movie.

This incident has come to be known as the Dyatlov Pass Incident and remains unsolved to this day.

However, author Donnie Eichar’s search for answers might be the closest any of us will come to knowing what actually happened on Dead Mountain that fateful winter.

Eichar’s book switches between 1959 – following the hikers and their last known whereabouts and actions – and the present day.

In the present day, Eichar talks with family members, historians, and even the only member of the expedition to survive (having returned home early).

He also hikes the same path as the students did in 1959 to see the site for himself, and speaks with various scientists and other experts to try and understand the incident.

Those looking for nonfiction winter books will love the snowy, but fascinating mystery unearthed in Dead Mountain.

Uncover more gripping books about hiking.

Read Dead Mountain: Amazon | Goodreads

Grab these books about winter here:

  • Audible Plus: From Amazon, listen to Amazon Originals, podcasts, and audiobooks. They add new titles every week.
  • Book of the Month: Get the month’s hottest new and upcoming titles from Book of the Month. You might snag an early release or debut author. Along with selecting a book a month, find terrific add-ons, both trendy and lesser-known titles.
  • Amazon Prime Video – Stream thousands of ad-free movies and TV series on demand with Prime Video.

What are your favorite books set in winter to read?

What winter books have you read and loved? We are always adding titles to our reading lists and TBR piles. Let us know in the comments! This winter reading list might help you with our 2022/2023 Uncorked Reading “blizzard” theme.

Save The Best Winter-Themed Books For Later:

Winter Reads Pinterest Pin with wintery tree, lake, and cityscape on top and book covers for The Dog who dared to dream, the deacon house murders, moon of the crusted snow, the dead mountaineer's inn, the family game, a meal in winter, the undesired, and dead mountainPin
Did you find a new winter book to read? Save this reading list for later, and enjoy winter across the world with The Uncorked Librarian.
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Jeremy Paterson

Jeremy (pronouns: any) is an autistic writer, hobbyist, and movie buff, as long as that movie is Labyrinth. Since leaving the corporate world behind in 2018, he has read more books than he thought possible. True to his British upbringing, his first instinct in any given situation is to put the kettle on.

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Christine Frascarelli

Christine (she/her) is the owner, lead editor, and tipsy book sommelier of The Uncorked Librarian LLC, an online literary publication showcasing books and movies to inspire travel and home to the famed Uncorked Reading Challenge. With a BA in English & History from Smith College, an MLIS from USF-Tampa, and a U.S. Fulbright Fellowship in Christine's back pocket, there isn't a bookstore, library, or winery that can hide from her. Christine loves brewery yoga, adopting all of the kitties, and a glass of oaked Chardonnay. Charcuterie is her favorite food group.


  1. This is an interesting list of winter-themed books. I think I have only heard of a couple of these, so I am going to have to check a number of these out as they sound like they are stories I would enjoy. I can’t really think of a book I love that has a winter theme to it. Perhaps the Erased series counts, as some of it occurs during the winter, but that’s the only book that comes to mind when I think about winter.

    1. Thanks so much! We love having a mix of popular and lesser-known titles on our lists. I hope you find your next great read.

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