The best cosy fantasy books to curl up with right now

Fantasy author David Green on why it's time to embrace one of the snuggest of subgenres, and the best cosy fantasy books to get you started.

Fantasy. It’s all about epic battles, earth-shattering stakes, and larger-than-life heroes and villains (with a dash of moral ambiguity thrown in for good measure), right? Not to mention the dazzling array of awe-inspiring creatures, compendiums of accompanying history to build out those wide worlds contained within the stacks of pages and plots filled with staggering adventure and mind-boggling acts of daring-do.

Well, not always. Fantasy comes in many delightful flavours and several wonderful shapes. Right now, readers across the globe are acquiring a new taste: cosy. Character-driven, personal tales promoting found families and happy endings, best read in your favourite, comfiest chair, under your warmest blanket and with a cup of tea in hand. And don’t forget the steady supply of biscuits.

Finished with your latest ten-book series filled with anxiety-inducing trials and tribulations? Cosy fantasy is the ideal palate cleanser, bringing readers memorable characters and places, warm feelings, and lower heart rates. New to this most comfy of subgenres? The following recommendations are amongst the perfect ways to sink into cosy fantasy. . .


by Lucy Jane Wood

Such is the excitement around YouTube star Lucy Jane Wood's cosy fantasy, that when she announced it, it flew to number one on the Amazon book chart on pre-orders alone. Balancing work at her beloved Lunar Books and concealing her witchcraft from the non-witches around her has left Belle burnt out. But when her thirtieth birthday brings a summons from her coven, Belle risks losing her magic forever. With the month of October to fix things, and signs that dark forces may be working against her, Belle will need all the help she can get – from the women in her life, from an unlikely mentor figure, and even an (infuriating) watchman who’s sworn to protect her.

The Spellshop

by Sarah Beth Durst

Kiela, comfortable as Alyssium's Great Library librarian with her assistant, Caz, a sentient spider plant, normally avoids people. Their life changes when revolution sets the library ablaze, prompting them to flee with salvaged spellbooks to Kiela's native island. But to her dismay, in addition to a nosy – and very handsome – neighbour, she finds the town in disarray. The Spellshop is a cottagecore cosy fantasy following a woman's unexpected journey through the low-stakes market of illegal spell-selling and the high-risk business of starting over.

Legends and Lattes

by Travis Baldree

After decades of mercenary jobs, the orc barbarian Viv casts her weapons aside to follow her dream of opening the first coffee shop in Thune, but she can’t do it alone. Assembling a rag-tag team, Viv and her friends show the city what they’ve been missing in the shape of tasty treats and delicious lattes. But Viv’s past, and Thune’s seedy underbelly, isn’t so keen on letting dreams become reality. For many the fresh face of cosy fantasy, Legend and Lattes is a heart-warming slice-of-life about found families and fresh starts that lives long in the memory.

@samfallingbooks “It was like drinking the feeling of being peaceful.” #booktok #legendsandlattes #samreading #bookshopsandbonedust #cosyfantasy #ad ♬ Metamorphosis (Longer Version) v2 - Danilo Stankovic

Bookshops & Bonedust

by Travis Baldree

If you've already read Legends & Lattes, Travis Baldree's equally cosy prequel, Bookshops & Bonedust, won't disappoint. Viv, a mercenary of Rackam’s Ravens company, is sent to recuperate in quiet Murk after she is injured during the hunt for a powerful necromancer. Stranded away from action, she finds herself in a bookshop, with an eccentric owner as her unexpected companion. Yet, Murk still holds secrets; unusual visitors, a gnome, unexpected romance, and peculiar skeletons. Also enjoyed as a standalone novel, this story is packed with first loves and epic adventure, and is bound to be a BookTok sensation. 

The Invisible Library

by Genevieve Cogman

Irene is a professional spy, working for the mysterious Library, an organisation set up to to harvest works of fiction from different realities. Sent to an alternate London, Irene and her enigmatic assistant Kai are tasked with an important mission: to retrieve an extremely dangerous book. Cosy fantasy with a difference, The Invisible Library takes readers on an elevated-ride featuring secret societies, moreish mysteries, parallel universes and razor-sharp wit proving that, even within the boundaries of cosy, there are mind-bending, riotous adventures to be devoured.

Under The Whispering Door

by TJ Klune

Wallace spent his life working: correcting colleagues and hectoring employees. So, when faced with life after death, drinking copious amounts of tea with Hugo, the owner of Charon’s Crossing Tea and Treats, and idly chatting, is the last thing on his mind. . . Though he starts to wonder if he lived his life missing out. A beautifully-written tale of second chances, found family, and the meaning of life, this book will bring laughter and tears in equal measure. And tea. Lots of tea.

Sorcerer to the Crown

by Zen Cho

Zacharias Wythe is England’s first African Sorcerer Royal, leading the nation’s renowned Royal Society of Unnatural Philosophers into a new era. When he meets the enthusiastic and resourceful orphan Prunella Gentleman, Zacharias receives more than he bargained for. Not only is he landed with a magical prodigy, Prunella discovers the greatest new feat in magic for centuries. Set in Regency London, Sorcerer to the Crown tells a heart-warming tale full of delights and surprises, while challenging gender norms and racial prejudices with skill, wit and kindness.

Can't Spell Treason Without Tea

by Rebecca Thorne

Reyna, the private guard to the queen, and Kianthe, the most powerful mage in existence, have one wish, and that’s to open a cosy little bookshop where folk can drink tea before an open fire, surrounded by plants and company while reading their favourite books. However, furious monarchs, magical creatures, and the citizens of Tawney all have other ideas. Combining high stakes with cosy, this hugely anticipated read (currently available as an eBook) wraps sapphic representation, healthy relationships, powerful women and comfortable fireside chats into a warm hug of a story. With dragons. Don’t forget the dragons.

The Very Secret Society of Irregular Witches

by Sangu Mandanna

Book cover for The Very Secret Society of Irregular Witches

Mika Moon, a witch adept at hiding her magic, keeping her head down, and avoiding other witches receives an unexpected missive: an invitation to teach three young charges at the mysterious Nowhere House. Surprising herself, she leaps at the opportunity. Coming to care for her new found family, and the prickly but dapper librarian Jamie, Mika comes to realise she finally belongs somewhere. But trouble lies ahead. An uplifting tale filled with warmth and fuzzy feelings, Mika’s story is all about the eternal outsider finding their place in the world, and what they’ll do to keep a hold of it.

The Librarian of Crooked Lane

by CJ Archer

Book cover for The Librarian of Crooked Lane

Growing up alone with her mother, and knowing nothing of her father or her past, bookish Sylvia Ashe stumbles upon a diary filled with unbelievable truths: she’s descended from magicians. Alongside the war hero turned Scotland Yard constable Gabriel Glass, she works to solve the mystery of a stolen, magical painting and her own enigmatic past. Set in post-World War One England, this cosy story contains riddles and adventure, with a hint of romance and a wonderful, unique backdrop in the shape of the Philosophical Library.

Tress and the Emerald Sea

by Brandon Sanderson

Book cover for Tress and the Emerald Sea

On her island home surrounded by an emerald-green ocean, Tress collects cups brought by sailors from distant lands, and listens to outlandish stories told by her friend Charlie. But Charlie is taken away by his father across the sea, and when disaster strikes, Tress leaves simplicity behind to come to his rescue. A modern fairy tale, Tress and the Emerald Sea shows even the most epic of authors (see Sanderson's Mistborn or Way of Kings) can’t deny cosy fantasy’s delights. This book mixes humour and lighthearted whimsy with depth and intrigue in a way that may remind you of The Princess Bride.