8 of The Very Best Winter Romances

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Annika Barranti Klein

Staff Writer

Annika Barranti Klein likes books, obviously.   Twitter: @noirbettie

I recently read a book by a new-to-me author in which a pair of childhood friends are reunited when he has to rescue her in a snowstorm, and they end up stuck in a Forest Service cabin during bad weather with the roads out. Maybe I haven’t paid much attention, or maybe most of the winter romances I’ve read before have been specifically holiday-oriented (Christmas-oriented, if I’m honest), but it felt so exciting and fresh (even though I am certain I read a Nora Roberts snowed-in romance in approximately 2001).

It was The Two-Week Roommate by Roxie Noir, a book that she has jokingly-not-jokingly referred to as “snowed-in and eaten out,” which I think tells you everything you need to know. (If it doesn’t, I can also tell you it deals with the traumas of religious upbringing and that there is no third-act breakup.) I wanted more.

So I asked around, looking for more winter romances that are less holiday-focused, and between my own reading and my vastly better-read romance reading and writing friends, I came up with this list of winter romances, just in time for the seasons to change! Make yourself a cozy nest and dig into one (or all) of these as you wait for the light to return.

cover of A Kiss for Midwinter by Courtney Milan

A Kiss for Midwinter by Courtney Milan

Years after a teenage pregnancy that could have ruined her, Lydia is not keen to trust Jonas, the doctor who helped her back then. For his part, he’s absolutely smitten and not sure how to tell her. The only complaint I’ve heard about this one is that it is a novella and, therefore, too short. Sounds like a perfect one-sitting read to me!

Book cover of How to Excavate a Heart

How to Excavate a Heart by Jake Maia Arlow

This is a Jewish romance set at Christmas, so the holiday is present, but not the point. College freshman Shani is on her way to her winter paleoichthyology internship when she hits May with her car. Just a little! Circumstances push them together again, and they end up snowed-in on Christmas Eve. Perfect if you’re looking for sapphic YA and/or Christmas without Christmas.

Mangos and Mistletoe By Adriana Herrera Book Cover

Mangos & Mistletoe by Adriana Herrera

Another novella, this sapphic story is set in the competitive world of the (fictional) Holiday Baking Challenge, starring two ambitious Dominican women who have to set aside their differences when they are paired together as a team.

cover of Spiked Hot Chocolate by Rilzy Adams

Spiked Hot Chocolate by Rilzy Adams

In this novella, two strangers meet at Christmastime and decide to spend the holiday together, drinking the titular spiked hot chocolate.

This one seems to be more explicitly about Christmas, but more importantly, it’s about chocolate.

cover of Second Chances in New Port Stephen

Second Chances in New Port Stephen by TJ Alexander

Eli left his Florida hometown before transitioning, and coming back as a whole new person is…stressful. When a career-related scandal threatens his future in comedy, he comes home for the holidays and runs into his high school ex, Nick, now a divorced dad. And there might still be something there between them.

book cover of Emily Wilde's Encyclopaedia of Faeries

Emily Wilde’s Encyclopedia of Faeries by Heather Fawcett

Emily Wilde is writing, er, an encyclopedia of faeries (love it when the title does my job for me!), and she’s in Hrafnsvik for research. Unfortunately, so is her rival, Wendell, who the townspeople all seem to love, even as he is driving her bonkers.

cover of Hen Fever by Olivia Waite

Hen Fever by Olivia Waite

Lydia breeds chickens, while new-to-town Harriet thinks they’re pretty much only good for eating. As the annual Bickerton Christmas Poultry Show approaches, they have to team up to get a rare breed of chickens entered in competition. Another novella, perfect for an evening.

cover of Lighting the Flames by Sarah Wendell

Lighting the Flames by Sarah Wendell

How about a Hanukkah romance? Gen and Jeremy were best friends when they were fellow campers and stayed best friends when they became camp staff. Last year, Jeremy left abruptly, and Gen hasn’t heard from him since. Now they’re both working at the annual Hanukkah camp — and maybe they can rekindle their friendship or even start something else entirely. This one is a slightly longer novella.

Whatever winter holidays you do or do not celebrate, and whether you’re snowed in or staying in by choice, I hope you find a perfect winter romance read in these selections.