You are currently viewing 19 Cottagecore Fantasy Books for an Escape Into a Slower Life

19 Cottagecore Fantasy Books for an Escape Into a Slower Life

Windchimes chattering, a path leading to a stone cottage surrounded by forest, the scent of a fresh baked apple pie wafting from the window: these images of cottagecore beckon you to come and rest in the simple things of life.

Fantasy has borrowed the aesthetic of cottagecore and spun it into settings for stories. Cottagecore fantasy books often contain at least a few of these elements (though there are always exceptions to the rules):

  • A simple, rural lifestyle
  • A forest setting
  • Cozy, homey vibes
  • Slower pace of life
  • Celebration of nature

So, if you’re feeling like life is a train, rushing by too fast and are craving a slower pace of life, or if you just want to escape into a cozy story for a few hours, check out these cottagecore fantasy books. Some are dark fantasy, some are graphic novels, others are fairy tale retellings, but all hint at a simpler, cozier lifestyle that takes you to the heart of nature.

If you’re participating in our 2024 Fantasy/Sci-Fi Reading Challenge (and it’s never too late to join!), May’s theme is to read a cottagecore fantasy book.

Young Adult Cottagecore Fantasy Books

Flowerheart by Catherine Bakewell

After Clara’s flower magic accidentally harms her father, she must turn to her childhood friend, Xavier, who no longer is the same shy boy she loved, for help.

As she searches for a way to save her father, Clara finds a terrible darkness that only her magic can stop.

Into the Heartless Wood by Joanna Ruth Meyer

A dark romantasy standalone with Beauty and the Beast vibes.

This forest won’t give you the cozy vibes found in some cottagecore books; instead, you’ll want to curl up with a blanket next to a fire. Nature plays a significant role as the main character, Owen, is saved by one of the wood witch’s tree-siren daughters.

Curses, witches, a dangerous forest, an ancient war: escape into a world with high stakes while remaining firmly rooted in nature.

For the Wolf by Hannah Whitten

In this fairy tale retelling of Little Red Riding Hood, Red is taken to the forest to be sacrificed to the Wolf.

She’s not as frightened as she should be, seeing the opportunity to save her sister from the dangerous magic that bubbles within her. But she learns that the Wolf is not who she thought, and a deeper, more powerful magic threatens her people’s lives.

This book will whisk you into a crumbling castle in an enchanted forest where the very trees speak.

Magic Bitter, Magic Sweet by Charlie N. Holmberg

Whimsical, unusual, and slower-paced, this book will be a treat just like the magical ones that the main character, Maire, bakes.

But the book isn’t all lightheartedness, as Maire is taken as a slave early on, and some scenes might be difficult for younger or sensitive readers.

If you can get past those, though, you’ll enjoy watching Maire discover her memories, where her abilities come from, and her encounters with the unusual translucent man who occasionally visits.

This Poison Heart by Kalynn Bayron

With plant magic, a dilapidated estate in rural New York surrounded by blooms and bees, and the slow-pace job of creating elixirs, this book practically screams cottagecore.

Step into a story where the main character’s inheritance is more than she expected, a volatile group hunts for an immortality elixir, and a centuries’ old curse and the world’s deadliest plant stand in the way of triumphing over evil.

Uprooted by Naomi Novik

An enthralling book set in the heart of a secretive, dangerous forest where the main character must learn how to use magic from a grumpy wizard so they can save their land from the darkness creeping in from the woods.

Although the book is fast-paced plot-wise, the lifestyle of the characters in the castle will give you all the homey, cozy vibes of a fairy tale.

Lore of the Wilds by Analeigh Sbrana

The cover has mushrooms, so it must be cottagecore, right? 😆 Not only that, but there’s a forest that traps the main character’s village and an enchanted library that she must unlock and set to rights.

The fact that there are two attractive (and, of course dangerous) Fae males are just an added bonus.

Adult Cottagecore Fantasy Books

Emily Wilde’s Encyclopaedia of Faeries by Heather Fawcett

This is probably the most famous cottagecore fantasy book right now, as well as its sequel, Map of the Otherlands. The story takes place in an actual cottage in a cold, dreary land similar to Iceland (unlike the summery mushrooms and leaves depicted on this cover).

A grumpy, introverted professor has come to this stark, beautiful land to finish her encyclopaedia of faeries, but has bitten off more than she can chew when she gets entangled with the Hidden Ones–a rare breed of faerie–and her coworker, Wendell Bambleby.

You’ll want a cup of tea and a blanket ready when you venture into this winter fantasy read of snowy landscapes, forest fae, and romantic drama!

Weyward by Emilia Hart

This historical fantasy novel with cottagecore vibes weaves together the stories of three women:

1. Kate, who, in almost-present day England takes refuge in a neglected cottage from an abusive partner. But the cottage has its own secrets from the 17th century…

2. Altha possesses a magic rooted in the natural world, and awaits trial in 1619 for a murder that she (probably) didn’t commit.

3. During World War II, Violet longs to break out of societal conventions and receive the same kind of education as her brother.

Tales from the Forest by a Variety of Authors

You’ll find plenty of cottagecore vibes in this Red Riding Hood short story anthology, especially my short story, Woodland Cravings.

Throughout the anthology, you’ll stumble into homey cottages, weave through both cursed and normal forests, ride on a motorcycle into a park, and learn what makes a good grandmother.

The silly, sweet, and somber stories that turn the traditional tale on its head will be available to buy May 1, 2024!

The Spellshop by Sarah Beth Durst

Releasing in July of 2024, this cover has cottagecore vibes draped all over it. I can’t wait to walk up those steps and wander around in the magical house.

It’s not just the cover that roots this book in the world of cottagecore: the main character’s assistant is a sentient spider plant (that alone makes me want to read it!), she is a librarian, and when the library goes up in flames, she must escape and decides to open up a spell shop.

Thornhedge by T. Kingfisher

A reimagining of Sleeping Beauty, this book follows Toadling, who was stolen as a child from her family by fairies, but grew up safe and loved in faerieland. Once an adult, the fae ask Toadling to return to the human world and offer a blessing of protection to a newborn child.

Centuries later, a knight has heard there’s a curse that needs breaking, but it’s a curse Toadling will do anything to uphold.

Witch of Wild Things by Raquel Vasquez Gilliland

If you open this magical realism book, you’ll encounter a woman who uses her ability to communicate with plants to discover interesting specimens, a small-town community, a former high-school sweetheart, and sisters with strange and powerful abilities like filling the sky with lightning.

After the Forest by Kell Woods

What happens after Gretel and Hans escape the witch in the gingerbread house? Find out in this historical fantasy. There’s baking, dark magic, and a love story, not to mention hints of fairy tale retellings.

(P.S. I love that the author’s last name of this cottagecore fantasy with nods to Hansel and Gretel is named Woods. How perfect is that?!)

Graphic Novel Cottagecore Fantasy Books

The Tea Dragon Society by Kay O’Neill

A charming graphic novel about a blacksmith apprentice who meets friends and their tea dragons. You can’t get much more cottagecore than cuddly dragons and pots of tea in a lovely garden setting.

A perfect read for spring or anytime when you just want to slow down and enjoy the simpler things in life.

Pilu of the Woods by Mai K. Nguyen

An adorable story in which Willow runs away one day into the refuge of the woods near her home. There, she meets Pilu, a lost tree spirit who can’t find her way back home. Willow offers to help Pilu, and the two quickly become friends.

This sweet, heartwarming story will pull on your heartstrings!

Classic Cottagecore Fantasy Books

Spindle’s End by Robin McKinley

With its classic fairy tale feel and a forest filled with talking animals, this book will make you want to dawn a cloak and get lost in the closest park.

The baby princess, Briar-Rose, is spirited away by an apprenticed fairy, Katriona, on the princess’s Name Day. She is kept hidden in the woods by Katriona and Katriona’s aunt, who keep her identity a secret. But the evil fairy Pernicia is looking for the princess and won’t stop until she has her.

The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien

Even though this beloved classic falls more into the epic fantasy genre than cottagecore, I had to include it because hobbits are quintessentially cottagecore: they take great pleasure in the small things in life (tea, food, pipes, more food), they live simple, agrarian lifestyles, and are surrounded by the beautiful, peaceful Shire.

Can we just all decide to be hobbits? 🙂

Chalice by Robin McKinley

Venture into a slower-paced world of magic, beekeeping, and fire that will breeze into your imagination like a dream.

Mirasol, the main character, must step into her magical role of Chalice even though she hasn’t been trained while dealing with a man who holds sway over fire.

Come let your heart rest in this dreamy, quieter magical world so different from our own. You won’t be disappointed.

What cottagecore fantasy books do you want to read? Or what would you recommend that you’ve already read?

Leave a Reply