Treasures on the Shelves — Cuddle up with a cozy

Published 12:00 pm Saturday, March 26, 2022

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When you hear the word ‘cozy’, it brings to mind warmth, comfort, maybe in the form of a blanket, and a feeling of security. Cozy is also a fiction category that includes some of the most popular authors writing today.

In book publishing, the cozy genre consists of books that are ‘gentle’ mysteries where ordinary people solve crimes, there is a minimum of violence or sexual content and the story usually ends with justice being served. Often the setting is in a small or close-knit community that is isolated or set apart from the rest of the world and the main character sometimes has an animal companion who assists to gathering clues. There may even be recipes involved. Mysteries are the most popular theme but cozies can also be general fiction. Cozies differ from inspirational books, which are usually non-fiction and often feature a real-life person who has overcome obstacles and defeats through their own efforts and spiritual beliefs.

I have to confess that before I became a librarian, I had never heard of cozies. That quickly changed when I noticed how many of our patrons were reading one author in particular. Yes, I’m referring to Debbie Macomber. To say that she is beloved would be an understatement. Her books are checked out immediately after they are put on the shelves and usually stay checked out until the next title is published. Technically, she is a romance writer but since so many of her books contain elements of the cozy category, I’m going to do a little genre-bending and call her a cozy author. Her books emphasize friendship and community and her Cedar Cove books were made into a popular television show. Her Christmas books are so anticipated I have patrons asking for them in the summer and she has even written cookbooks with recipes inspired by her characters and locales.

Other authors similar to Macomber are Susan Mallery, Mary Alice Monroe, Susan Wiggs, Viola Shipman and Mary Kay Andrews. These authors make up a Cozy Dream Team with much-loved characters and settings. The world we live in can be confusing, complex and even scary. A good book can take you away from that for a while but cozies seem to offer an even greater escape in that they reaffirm the better parts of ourselves. The stories are often resolved in ways that bring forgiveness and understanding to the fore, with friendships strengthened and bonds, whether they are community or family, renewed. In stressful times, when it seems fairness and goodness never seem to have the upper hand, a cozy book can take the reader to a world where these qualities are still valued. When the book ends, it may even show a way forward.

Holly Howze is the branch manager for the Ripberger Public Library located in Kenbridge. She can be reached at