5 female-led novels to live out your cottagecore dreams

Dana Villano

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5 female-led novels to live out your cottagecore dreams
Open plains, charming fashion, and secret romances. What more could you want from these cozy cottagecore novels?

MANILA, Philippines – Hey there, dreamers! If you’re the kind of bookworm who prefers warm cozy summers over chilly winters, you’re in for a treat.

We’ve curated a list of five enchanting “cottagecore” novels, each featuring strong female leads to warm your heart and transport you to the most idyllic and beautiful settings, from the island of Guernsey to the prairies of Wisconsin. So take some time to smell the roses and let’s dive into these heartwarming reads!

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows

Although the title might be a mouthful, this charming book whisks you away to the island of Guernsey, where writer Juliet Ashton moves after she develops a literary correspondence with resident Dawsey.

As she immerses herself in life on the island, she uncovers the truth about the island’s wartime experience during the German occupation of World War 2. Populated with an eclectic cast of characters, this book makes for a very comforting read with the perfect blend of friendship and romance. 

Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery

This beloved classic introduces us to Anne Shirley, an imaginative and spirited wild child orphan who ends up with the Cuthberts by mistake. Anne’s boundless curiosity and defiant spirit often land her in amusing scrapes, but we as the readers get the pleasure of watching her grow from a sprightly young girl to a confident young woman.

Her blossoming relationship with Gilbert Blythe adds a delightful touch of romance. This timeless character has remained popular throughout the years due to her story’s persisting charm and sense of whimsy that continues to tickle readers’ fancies even decades after it was first written. 

The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett

Another cherished classic, The Secret Garden features disagreeable orphan Mary Lennox who is sent to live with her uncle, the reclusive Archibald Craven, in his manor on the Yorkshire Moors.

By chance, Mary stumbles upon a neglected, hidden garden on her uncle’s vast estate and soon forms an unlikely friendship with her cousin Colin and the local boy named Dickon to bring it back to life. Mary’s transformation from a surly young girl into a self-assured woman is always a joy to read in this enduring tale.

Daddy-Long-Legs by Jean Webster

An epistolary novel, Daddy-Long-Legs makes for an enjoyable read, featuring a series of letters penned by Jerusha “Judy” Abbott, an orphan (noticing a theme here?) who miraculously receives the opportunity to attend college, thanks to her mysterious benefactor whom she nicknames “Daddy-Long-Legs” due to his tall shadow.

As she strives to uncover the identity of her mysterious benefactor, a lovely romance ensues. Judy’s story is a timeless tale of youth and all it has to offer, capturing the hearts of readers around the world.

Caddie Woodlawn by Carol Ryrie Brink

Ending our list with a timeless pick, Caddie Woodlawn promises to enchant readers as it follows the wild and adventurous Caddie Woodlawn as she grows up in her pioneer family, embarking on escapades with her many siblings and roughing it out in the great American Wilderness.

Her journey too from someone who eschews femininity at all costs to someone who learns to appreciate who she is and all that it means is an inspiring tale that continues to resonate with readers even decades into the future. Her resilient and independent spirit marks her as one of the most remarkable characters on the written page, with her story even winning the prestigious Newberry medal. 

These novels continue to captivate readers over the years with their enchanting depictions of rural life through the eyes of brilliant young women. Whichever of these books you choose to cozy up with on your homestead, just remember that happiness is indeed homemade! –

Dana Villano is a Rappler intern.

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