Friday, 17 January 2020

Recommended Reading | Books with Cold Settings

My recommended reading posts have always been a way for me to highlight the books I've read within a year and want to recommend to all to pick up too... I'm keen to expand this blog series of mine now, featuring throughout the year (not just at the end) to include recommendations based on specific topics. 

Today, with winter well and truly here now in the northern hemisphere, I wanted to share some books that all have cold settings. This time of year is perfect for curling up with a good book, and being a mood + seasonal reader myself, I do like my books to reflect what is going on outside. I have seven books to share, with a number of genres represented.

All the books featured in my recommended reading posts I have read myself & would, of course, recommend.

We're starting off this list with one of my favourite books of all time - The Snow Child is a historical fiction novel with elements of magical realism interwoven. The story follows Jack & Mabel, a childless couple who decide to take on a homestead in Alaska. Although they have no children, they do long for one, and after building a snow child together one evening, they find themselves greeted by Faina, a mysterious wild child who takes a hold of the couple in many ways. 

The Snow Child is beautiful, raw, magical and harsh, much like the backdrop of Alaska that is presented.

For me, winter is the perfect time to get wrapped up in a spine chilling ghost story, with Thin Air being one I return to time and time again. 

Thin Air is the story of a mountaineering expedition, with a group of men attempting to scale the third highest peak in the Himalayas, told from the perspective of expedition doctor, Stephen. The history of the mountain, as well as the isolated environment, lend to an eerie atmosphere felt throughout. The book itself is quite short, and best enjoyed in the one sitting.

Continuing with books set in isolated environments, I'm talking about one of my more recent reads. The Terror by Dan Simmons is a historical fantasy novel with thriller elements. The story draws on the 1845 Franklin Expedition, a exploration of the Arctic, with the ships being stranded in the Arctic Circle. The men on board are doing all that they can with the provisions they have, but after a great length of time stranded there, things are getting desperate... Especially with the fear of a deadly predator stalking the ship. 

I won't lie, The Terror is a long book (my edition was a total chunkster at over 900 pages) but it is well worth the commitment if you're looking for a horror that takes place in a cold setting.

Sci-fi isn't a go to genre of mine, but earlier on this year I read (& loved) this post apocalyptic novel.

With society no longer as we know it, we find ourselves on a journey of survival with the McBride family, cocooned with them in the little community they have formed in the Canadian Yukon. This book was an all round good read, with a story that flowed well, characters that capture you, and a backdrop that chills.

A genre that you will often see me reading is mystery thriller - I love a good page turner whilst trying to piece together a mystery.

The idea of a cosy lodge in upstate New York during winter time is appealing, a place to get away from it all and take a break. That image turns unsettling when a blizzard occurs, shutting down power at your remote lodge... And absolutely nightmareish when dead bodies start turning up!

If you're more of cosy mystery reader, then Murder on the Orient Express is the book for you. Although the tenth book within the Hercule Poirot series, it is easily read as a standalone also. 

The passengers on board the luxury Orient Express train find their journey halted during the middle of night, due to bad weather and snowdrifts along the route. A delayed journey is the least of their worries though when a passenger on board is found dead... Murdered!

Agatha Christie is of course a treasured author within the crime genre, and personally, one of my favourite things about her writing style is the way in which she writes the investigation and pulls it all together in the end... I don't think I have yet to read a Christie novel and been correct in my deductions.

Last, but by no means least, on this list of books with cold settings is an adventurous middle grade novel with a backdrop of historical Russia.

Feodora and her mother are wolf wilders, living in the woodlands, taking care of & taming wolves that were once kept as pets by the wealthy. Due to unfolding events, the pair are separated, and Feodora has to pull on all her strength and fight - not only for herself, but her country also. 

So that concludes my list of books with cold settings... I have read others, however these are the stand outs to me. If you'd like to read more about the books mentioned, the titles are all linked to Goodreads.

If you have any recommendations yourself based on the topic, be sure to leave them in the comments below.


  1. Most of these are already on my TBR list! I just added The Terror. I love books about exploration.

    Aj @ Read All The Things!

    1. I hope you're able to enjoy some of these titles :-)

  2. I've read one, own another, and have quite a few more on my virtual tbr. Great list!

    1. Thank you!

      I hope you liked the one you have read.

  3. The only one of these I have read is Murder on the Orient Express and I head over heels loved that book so much! I love a good Agatha Christie book :3 I would also recommend In the Midst of Winter by Isabel Allende if you want more wintery books. :)

    1. Thank you for the recommendation - I've put in a reserve request for this book at the library.

  4. Halldor Laxness' "Independent People" is set in Iceland and is an epic tale of struggle and settlement which I loved (all the other books I've read by him have been seriously weird, however!).

    1. Ah, I will definitely check this book out - thank you!

  5. I love The Snow Child! It's one that has stuck with me for years and I constantly recommend it. I had completely forgotten that being snowed in was such a factor in Murder in the Orient Express. I have a Top Five list coming out later this week about snow and completely forgot about it!

    1. I know I'm late in replying to these comments, but I'll be looking for your Top Five list of books about snow!


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