7 Novels For Living Out Your Cottagecore Fantasies

From The Literary Hub:

Growing up, I fell in love with the cottagecore coziness of Bilbo Baggins’ Bag End, the Weasley’s ramshackle and magical Burrow, and the eclectic Victorian ephemera in Sherlock Holmes’ 221B Baker Street. I agonized endlessly over design choices in The Sims, using cheat codes to get the much-needed Simoleons for my champagne tastes. But in the last couple of years I’ve seen more of my own four walls than I ever thought I would. And like many of us, I’ve found myself reaching for refuge in joyful, light-hearted books more than ever before.

Maybe it’s counterintuitive that I’m still so drawn to cozy (and not so cozy) houses in fiction, but it’s hard to not recognize the power that “home” has over us. I take comfort in the solace (and, sometimes, menace) they represent for the main character. In my new novel, The Shaadi Set-Up, it should be no surprise that a house plays a pivotal role: two exes have to work together to flip a gorgeous, if slightly tumbledown, beach house on a little island off the North Carolina coast. The renovated house, just like their relationship, is built stronger the second time around.

No matter which is your cup of tea, I hope you’ll find at least one fictional abode here that makes you want to kick up your feet and linger for a while.

Sarah Hogle, Twice Shy

The main character inherits a once-grand house in the Smokies that she must share with a co-beneficiary. Even amidst all the clutter, the house represents their hopes and dreams for the future in an utterly charming, totally wholesome way. Secret rooms, treasure maps, and a vast property to explore: a property like this would be a dream for weathering the pandemic.

Talia Hibbert, Act Your Age, Eve Brown

A woman reluctantly accepts a job as a chef at a storybook-charming bed and breakfast in the picturesque Lake District after accidentally injuring the B&B’s grumpy owner… and then falls in love with him. This book is a perfect staycation read, set in a house you’ll never want to leave. 

Link to the rest at The Literary Hub

4 thoughts on “7 Novels For Living Out Your Cottagecore Fantasies”

  1. I learnt a new word today: Cottagecore, and was surprised to learn that it is real – of recent origin of course – and not just the writer’s neologism. The fact that it was new to me may just reflect my lack of interaction with internet fashion aesthetics, plus that my scepticism of the romanticisation rural life (at least as lived by those who have to earn their bread in the rural economy) normally stops me reading about such subjects.

    Meanwhile, as the books do not actually restrict themselves to cottages I’d like to nominate a .
    much more interesting, if less cosy and inviting, building which will give the readers plenty to get their teeth into: Gormenghast.

    Finally, when PG excerpts such articles I normally have heard of none of the authors or books, but in this case I actually own some by Talia Hibbert and can thoroughly recommend her work (at least to those who like her genre, SFF it isn’t!)

  2. Anent Gormenghast… teeth, indeed. Once starts wishing to apply them destructively about halfway through the 2nd book.

    When Tolkien first became available, there was an immediate appetite for more fantasy trilogies and, hard as it may be for younger folks to understand, there were hardly any in existence and in bookstores. (Tolkien was the trigger, bless him, with The Lord of the Rings.) One of the few was Mervyn Peake’s Gormenghast trilogy (1950).

    It was an… interesting read, for a while, but nothing like the genre that has grown since. Sort of an unpleasant Dickensian view of an invented world, where everyone is an eccentric and most of them malevolent and/or baroque. Definitely sui generis, and not to everyone’s taste, but certainly worth dipping into.

    (Also more or less contemporaneous, at least from an availability POV: Stephen R. Donaldson’s Thomas Covenant books, and (of course) C. S. Lewis’s Space Trilogy, of which the latter is non-conventional (by current genre standards) SciFi of a religious nature, and the former is… repellent.)

    I remember The Riddle Master of Hed (1976) by Patricia McKillip as the first satisfactory post-Lord of the Rings availability fantasy trilogy entry. (I reread it recently — still holds up). It’s a good representation of the current genre.

    • The Riddle Master of Hed was inspired by TLotR, and I can see the inspiration. And, yes, I’d definitely agree that Riddle Master stands up – I’ve read it 3-4 times, most recently a couple of years ago, and still love it.

      Around the same time, I re-read TLotR, and my appreciation for both books has grown.

  3. Rebuilding houses is a standard Romance trope.

    Someone professional like Nora Roberts writes for various specialist Romance audiences, and is very accomplished at including all the characteristic tropes for each group. One of the core ones (that I enjoy) seems to always include: House build/rebuild/remodel ; Dog ; Rural setting ; Cooking (good or bad); Young child (optional).

    Clearly the desire of a female audience to improve/replace their current domicile is a strong pull. I wonder what her before/after Covid sales figures by title look like…

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