5 cozy hopeful books like Winter Solstice by Rosamunde Pilcher

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festive cozy scene with pine cones and candle
Photo: Joanna Kosinska

I usually have a long, long list of new books to read in December. However, there’s always one book I want to make time for this month: Winter Solstice by Rosamunde Pilcher.

Looking at Goodreads reviews and speaking with other readers, it seems like I’m not the only reader who makes a tradition of reading Winter Solstice each December. It’s such a wonderfully hopeful, comforting, and festive read to mark the end of one year and the beginning of the next.

If you love Winter Solstice, you can of course just reread it. But what about the best books like Winter Solstice by Rosamunde Pilcher?

I’ve been thinking about this collection for a long time, and I think the following recommendations offer just the right level of coziness, feel-good vibes, and wintry themes for fans of Rosamunde Pilcher’s classic winter novel.

Set across the globe in enchantingly cozy settings, these are some of the best novels (most of them Christmassy) I’ve found to read in winter. Read on, take your pick, and enjoy some comforting time with a good book this winter…

winter solstice by rosamunde pilcher cover

The best books like Winter Solstice by Rosamunde Pilcher

A Week in Winter by Maeve Binchy

A Week in Winter is one of the top recommended books to read after Winter Solstice. Not only is Maeve Binchy another beloved author of cozy feel-good reads, but this is also a book largely set around a specific location: a hotel in the west of Ireland.

This winter, escape to Stone House, a cozy clifftop hotel with log fires, warming food, and an even warmer welcome. As the guests gather, some bring secrets, others long to leave their old lives behind, and many hope to find a way to face the future.

A Recipe for Hope by Fiona Valpy

Another of the best books with similar vibes to Rosamunde Pilcher’s Winter Solstice is The Recipe for Hope by Fiona Valpy. Like Pilcher’s beloved festive read, this 2022 novel begins with loss and moves towards a life-affirming ending.

In search of a place to be alone away from London’s festive streets, Evie, an American chef living in London – escapes to her friend’s house in the South of France for Christmas. Although she’s planning to be alone, her neighbours unexpectedly guide her back to life and the work she loves most: creating delicious recipes that warm the body and soul.

The White Christmas Inn by Colleen Wright

Finding well-written Christmas novels isn’t always easy. While researching feel-good Christmas reads like Winter Solstice, I’ve discarded countless Kindle samples after the first few pages. However, one book that stood out from the crowd was this lovely festive book by Colleen Wright.

In The White Christmas Inn, a snowstorm brings a cast of very different characters together at a sleepy inn located in rural Vermont, just in time for Christmas – and maybe even in time for a Christmas miracle. It’s such a heartwarming and hopeful book (and packed to the brim with festive decorations and cheer, without being too sickly sweet).

A Castle in the Clouds by Kerstin Gier

After spending four years of my twenties in the Swiss Alps, it’s still one of my favourite places in the world. So what could be better than this young adult novel (that’s just as captivating for adult readers) set in the Swiss mountains in winter?

In A Castle in the Clouds, Kerstin Gier pens the story of Sophie, who works as an intern way up in the mountains at an old grand hotel steeped in tradition and faded splendor. As she busies herself preparing for the famous New Year’s Eve Ball, unexpected problems lead her into a perilous adventure in this witty and charming read.

The Wishing Game by Meg Shaffer

The Wishing Game isn’t the most obvious book like Winter Solstice (and it’s not even set in winter!) But the more I’ve thought about it, the more I think it works. You can think of Meg Shaffer’s debut as whimsical Roald Dahl meets the hopefulness ofWinter Solstice in the wild stormy weather of Maine. It’s a book about things working out and wishes being granted, really, which I think is perfect for Christmas reading.

Dark yet hopeful and life-affirming, this fantastic new book for 2023 is the story of twenty-six-year-old teacher’s aide Lucy Hart, who’d do anything to adopt Christopher, one of the kids in her class who lacks a loving home after the loss of his parents.

Broke and feeling hopeless, Lucy dares to dream when Jack Masterson, the author of the Clock Island books that helped her survive her lonely childhood, announces he’s finally written a new book. There’s only one copy, and only one person will win it. Along with three other contestants, Lucy finds herself on Jack’s island where she opens the door to magic, connection, and new beginnings.

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