Some might be sad that summer is over, but if you’re anything like me, then you’re ready for all things fall: chilly weather, big scarves, pumpkin spice lattes, scented candles, apple picking, fresh baked goods, Gilmore Girls, warm blankets, and books!
Few things compare to the feeling of cracking open a great book on a crisp fall day. If you’re on the hunt for the best books to get you in your fall feels (whether you want cozy, scary, witchy, or all three), then here’s a list of 15 books you’ll want to grab as we ring in the fall season.
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1. A Discovery of Witches, by Deborah Harkness
The first in her All Souls series, Deborah Harkness’s A Discovery of Witches is about a reluctant witch, Diana Bishop, who would rather get lost in the stacks at Oxford's Bodleian Library researching for her manuscript than worry about harnessing her inherent magical abilities. But when her research leads her to discover a dangerous mystical underworld, she’s forced to harness her powers. Did I mention there’s also a hunky vampire love interest? Well, there’s a hunky vampire love interest! This book’s got magic, witches, vampires, history, spooky settings, and romance. Need I say more?
2. The Simplicity of Cider, by Amy E. Reichert
If the title alone isn’t enough to convince you that this is the perfect, cozy fall read, then here are a few more details that might persuade you: All fifth-generation cider-maker Sanna Lund wants to do is live a quiet life on her family’s idyllic apple orchard in Wisconsin. But her father is aging and her brother wants to sell the farm, which puts Sanna in a difficult position. The arrival of handsome single father Isaac Banks and his son Sebastian complicates things even further. But as Sanna strikes up a friendship with Sebastian and something more with Isaac, she realizes that maybe there’s more to life than her work.
3. Practical Magic, by Alice Hoffman
This is one of the most classically witchy novels of all time – so much so that it was even adapted into a film starring Nicole Kidman and Sandra Bullock. The Owens sisters, Sally and Gillian, have been outsiders in their quaint Massachusetts town their entire lives. Their lifestyle (black cats, odd concoctions, and creaky Colonial home) doesn’t exactly hide the fact that they're witches, and the townspeople do not approve. Although they’re sisters, Sally and Gillian couldn’t be more different. But they’re bonded by both magic and sisterhood, and when Gillian finds herself in trouble she turns to Sally for help – potentially dooming them both.
4. The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue, by V.E. Schwab
The idea of eternal life might sound enticing, but what if you’re subsequently forgotten by everyone you meet? That’s precisely the kind of life that plagues Addie LaRue after making a desperate Faustian bargain back in 1714. After 300 years of living this “invisible life,” Addie meets a young man in a bookstore who takes her by complete surprise when he remembers her name. If you like time travel, romance, history, and mystery, this is the fall book for you.
5. Magic Hour, by Kristin Hannah
Set in the rugged, verdant forests of the Pacific Northwest, Kristin Hannah’s Magic Hour is about a 6-year-old girl who appears out of nowhere, speechless and alone. Passionate child psychiatrist, Dr. Julia Cates, is determined to help the young girl, whom she calls Alice. Helping Alice requires Julia to uncover the mystery of this girl’s past, which forces Julia to confront her own dark history and the secrets she’d rather keep buried.
6. The Magic of Ordinary Days, by Ann Howard Creel
Olivia Dunne was just a minister’s daughter who dreamed of someday becoming a psychologist, but that dream was upended when America entered World War II. Set in Colorado, The Magic of Ordinary Days follows Olivia as her life is reshaped by the war, and she finds solace in the friendship of two young Japanese women who are living at a nearby internment camp. This book is a cozy exploration of love, life, and friendship, and how magic can be found in the most ordinary of places – you just have to look.
7. Interview with the Vampire, by Anne Rice
This story is almost more famous for its film adaptation starring Brad Pitt and Tom Cruise, but it all started with this book. Anne Rice’s Interview with the Vampire is the confession of a tortured vampire as he spills his soul in a sit-down interview. He tells the tale of his creation and his melancholic existence over the last few hundred years, from New Orleans to Austria, Transylvania, and beyond. This book is a classic, and the perfect novel to dig into around Halloween.
8. The Silent Patient, by Alex Michaelides
Alex Michaelides’s The Silent Patient is the type of mystery that will keep you guessing up until the very end. Famous artist Alicia Berenson’s seemingly perfect life is turned upside down when her husband, Gabriel, is gruesomely murdered. After his death, Alicia refuses to speak, and – since there are no other suspects, she’s charged with his murder. She’s taken to a psychiatric institution where she remains mute for years until Theo Faber, a young and passionate criminal psychotherapist, takes her on as a patient. Theo is determined to get her to speak, but doing so only seems to open a Pandora’s box of terror.
9. The Huntress, by Kate Quinn
No one writes WW2 historical fiction quite like Kate Quinn. Her book The Huntress takes place in the aftermath of WW2, when female bomber Nina Markova is trapped behind enemy lines and becomes prey of a ruthless Nazi murderess called The Huntress. Nina survives, but teams up with Nazi hunter Ian Graham to find her. This story spans time and continents as Nina and Ian’s story weaves with that of a girl thousands of miles away in Boston – Jordan McBride. Jordan is thrilled when her widowed father remarries, but quickly becomes suspicious of her new German stepmother. The mystery Jordan unravels threatens to not only upend her family, but threaten their lives.
10. The Last Anniversary, by Liane Moriarty
Liane Moriarty’s novels are always the perfect blend of cozy settings, zany characters, and laugh-out-loud dialogue, with just the right amount of mystery to keep you turning pages. The Last Anniversary is the story of a deep-rooted family secret gone horribly wrong. Quaint Scribbly Gum Island is home to the Munro Family baby mystery, which has gone famously unsolved for decades. When unexpected circumstances lead newly single Sophie Honeywell to move to the island, she strikes up quick friendships with the locals. Will she be the one to finally solve the Munro Family baby mystery once and for all? Or are some mysteries better left unsolved?
11. Saturday Night Ghost Club, by Craig Davidson
Technically this book takes place during the summer, but it’s still a perfect autumn read! Niagara Falls in the summer of 1980 is equal parts magical, haunting, and nostalgic. Twelve-year-old Jake Baker spends most of his time with his eccentric, occult-enthusiast Uncle Calvin, but this summer is different. When he befriends a set of twins who are new to town, Jake initiates them into the “Saturday Night Ghost Club.” As summer wears on, what began as lighthearted supernatural investigations spiral into something much bigger – and more sinister – than the boys bargained for. If you’re a fan of Stranger Things, you’ll like this book.
12. Sorry I Missed You, by Suzy Krause
Some ghosts are supernatural, but the worst kinds of ghosts are often human. Sorry I Missed You is a heartwarming story about three strangers, Mackenna, Sunna, and Maude, who all move into separate units in a creepy, possibly haunted rental house. The women have only one thing in common: They’ve each been “ghosted” by an important person in their life. When a mysteriously mangled, barely legible note arrives in their shared mailbox, each woman assumes it’s for them, hoping the note is from their “ghost.” The search for the truth – and closure – bonds the women in ways that seem almost supernatural.
13. The Resting Place, by Camilla Sten
Horror, suspense, mystery, romance, and a spooky Swedish estate? You’ll get all that and more in Camilla Sten’s The Resting Place. Eleanor has prosopagnosia, meaning she can’t recognize human faces – not even those of her own friends and family. When she witnesses her grandmother Vivienne’s murder and comes face-to-face with the killer, Eleanor is paralyzed by the horror of having witnessed such an event and not being able to identify the killer. Then, Eleanor finds out her grandmother has left her a house – a grand estate in the remote Swedish wilderness. Eleanor and her beloved boyfriend Sebastian head to the estate, believing it might hold answers to whatever happened to Vivienne. But they might just regret uncovering the gruesome truth.
14. Rebecca, by Daphne du Maurier
This book might have been written almost 100 years ago, but it’s still a classic Gothic novel. Our young heroine – whose name we never learn – is swept off her feet by the handsome and rich Maxim de Winter, who immediately moves her into his mansion set on the rugged coast of Cornwall. Maxim de Winter was married once before and his creepy housekeeper, Mrs. Danvers, was unfailingly loyal to his first wife, Rebecca. Mrs. Danver’s loyalty is both obsessive and perverse and quickly makes our heroine feel as though her own life might be in danger.
15. The Sparrow Sisters, by Ellen Herrick
What better way to wrap up this list than with one, final witchy pick? Set in the picturesque New England seaside town of Granite Point, The Sparrow Sisters follows Sorrel, Nettie, and Patience as they navigate the most significant threat their mystical family has faced in over 300 years: witch hunters. This book blends everything we love about Practical Magic and The Witches of Eastwick into a modern-day witchy fairytale.
It’s almost fall, y'all – the most magical time of year. So grab a blanket, grab a pumpkin spice latte, grab one of the books on this list, and get cozy!
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