15 Atmospheric and Memorable Reads to Lose Yourself In

Posted on July 29, 2019

by Andy L

Welcome to our appeal series, which seeks to highlight a variety of books to help our readers find that next great read. In each post you’ll find books that share similar appeal or elements like pacing, tone, storyline, writing style, characters, etc.

The books in this blog post all share similar pacing and tone (or appeal). The stories are leisurely paced with an atmospheric tone. They use descriptive language, focusing more on details like character development and/or settings. And the stories tend to unfold more slowly. Be prepared to lose track of time with these great reads.

Savor the Atmosphere and Ambiance

1. The Lonely Witness by William Boyle

Genre: Mystery Descriptors: Character-Driven and Compelling

A former party girl who now helps house-bound seniors in the Gravesend neighborhood of Brooklyn agrees to help a woman whose usual caretaker is missing and ends up witnessing a murder that she does not report and develops a fascination with the killer.

2. Kingdom of the Blind by Louise Penny

Genre: Mystery Descriptors: Complex Characters, Intricately Plotted and Lyrical Writing Style

Still coping with the events that led to his suspension, Armand Gamache is curious when he discovers that an elderly woman who was a complete stranger to him has named him as one of the executors of her will.

3. The True Queen by Zen Cho

Genre: Fantasy | Historical Fiction Descriptors: Authentic Characters, Intricately Plotted and Compelling

After sisters Muna and Sakti wake up on the island of Janda Baik, they can’t remember who they are, but when Sakti starts to fade away, Muna must go to the Sorceress Royal academy to learn magic and unlock the secrets of her past in order to save her sister.

4. Biloxi by Mary Miller

Genre: Literary Fiction Descriptors: Hopeful, Offbeat, Candid, Engaging and Witty

Newly single, retired, and waiting for an inheritance that may never come, sixty-three-year-old Louis McDonald makes the impulsive, life-changing decision to adopt a dog.

5. Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens

Genre: Literary Fiction | Coming of Age Stories Descriptors: Character-Driven, Quirky and Romantic

Viewed with suspicion in the aftermath of a murder, Kya Clark, who has survived alone for years in a marsh near the North Carolina coast, becomes targeted by unthinkable forces.

6. A Forgotten Place by Charles Todd

Genre: Historical Mystery Descriptors: Menacing Tone, Compelling and Small Town Life

Working in an amputee clinic in Wales, Bess Crawford advocates on behalf of disabled former soldiers who endure life-risking conditions in coal mines while trying to discern the whereabouts of a missing Army captain. Bess Crawford Mysteries, book 10.

7. The Winter Station by Jody Shields

Genre: Historical Fiction Descriptors: Character-Driven, Reflective, Descriptive and Engaging

An aristocratic Russian doctor stationed in a Manchurian outpost races to contain a deadly plague before it spreads to the rest of the world.

8. The Knowledge by Martha Grimes

Genre: Mystery Descriptors: Intricately Plotted, Suspenseful and Compelling

Investigating a double homicide involving a heist at an art gallery and casino, Scotland Yard’s Richard Jury teams up with a gang of kids to solve a case with ties to astrophysics, the Tanzanian gem mines, and an act of revenge. Richard Jury mysteries, book 24.

9. The Night Ferry by Lotte and Soren Hammer

Genre: Mystery Descriptors: Disturbing and Suspenseful

While investigating a boat crash that left twenty dead, Detective Chief Superintendent Konrad Simonsen uncovers a connection between a victim and the homicide team, before following a trail that leads him to a secret mission to Bosnia in 1995.

10. The Slow Regard of Silent Things by Patrick Rothfuss

Genre: Epic Fantasy Descriptors: Intricately Plotted, World Building and Richly Detailed

Living in the abandoned tunnel system beneath the University, the enigmatic Auri reflects on her bittersweet life while making unique observations about the broken world she seeks to survive.

11. Her Fearful Symmetry by Audrey Niffenegger

Genre: Literary Fiction | Ghost Stories Descriptors: Intricately Plotted, Compelling, Lyrical and Stylistically Complex

After they inherit a London flat near Highgate Cemetery from their aunt Elspeth Noblin, two American twin teenagers, Julia and Valentina, move in and get to know their quirky neighbors, but they soon discover that much is still alive at Highgate, including, perhaps, their aunt, who can’t seem to leave her old apartment or life behind. By the best-selling author of “The Time Traveler’s Wife.”

12. The Chameleon’s Shadow by Minette Walters

Genre: Psychological Suspense Descriptors: Character-Driven, Intricately Plotted, Compelling, Gritty and Witty

Returning from the war in Iraq a changed man due to serious head injuries, British lieutenant Charles Acland rejects his former life and grows increasingly reclusive, suspicious, and aggressive, until he finds himself the prime suspect in a series of recent killings.

13. Jane Steele by Lyndsay Faye

Genre: Gothic Fiction Descriptors: Complex Characters, Intricately Plotted, Darkly Humorous, Compelling, Richly Detailed and Witty

Suffering at the hands of cruel family members and brutal school administrators, sensitive orphan Jane Steele murderously retaliates against her abusers and takes a job as a governess working with mysterious servants while falling in love with her employer, in a serial-killer reimagining of “Jane Eyre.”

14. House of Echoes by Brendan Duffy

Genre: Gothic Fiction Descriptors: Relatable, Intricately Plotted, Creepy, Suspenseful and Compelling

Frustrating career setbacks and a heartbreaking diagnosis challenge the lives of Ben and Caroline, who after starting over in a nostalgic new hometown encounter disconcerting secrets that threaten their survival. In this enthralling and atmospheric thriller, one young family’s dream of a better life is about to become a nightmare.

15. Deadly Fate by Heather Graham

Genre: Paranormal Romance | Romantic Suspense Descriptors: Steamy, Suspenseful, Compelling and Descriptive

A psychic entertainer working on an Alaskan cruise ship becomes an unexpected partner to a paranormal FBI agent who is investigating a grisly series of murders he believes have been committed by a killer he once put behind bars.

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