I know what a cozy mystery is but I have to admit that I had never heard the term cozy fantasy until I spotted this article on Tor.com. Author R. Nassor places the roots in 1960s sit coms that combined family life and magic. Not sure what I mean? Think The Addams Family, The Munsters, I Dream of Jeanie, and Bewitched. Funny, family friendly, and familiar, these shows pulled people in and are still viewed today.
Cozy fantasy books seem to have come into their own during the pandemic. We may have been stuck at home but many people embraced elements of domesticity. Think about the number of people who learned to bake, many making bread from scratch, as well as those who cooked, cooked and cooked some more. One of my own friends delved into making a variety of unusual jellies.
I was interested to see one of the books that I recently read on Nassor’s list – Legends and Lattes by Travis Baldree. Much like a cozy mystery, there are quirk characters, a bit of romance, and humor. If you haven’t read Legends and Lattes, it is about a half-orc fighter who wants to give up adventuring and sell the new drink that she discovered . . . if I remember correctly it was among the dwarves. What is this new drink? Coffee!
Like a cozy mystery, a cozy fantasy is all about community. Sometimes it is community through family, but often today’s books involve “found families,” groups of adventurers who discover they aren’t interested in splitting up even if one of their group needs a touch of domesticity or a group seeking to build a business or save a school.
Reading up on cozy fantasy, I discovered that I’ve long loved this particular subgenre. It includes books like:
- Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones
- Cemetery Boys by Aidan Thomas
- Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen
I have to admit that I’m also wondering if one of my favorite series, The Haunted Yarn Shop Mysteries by Molly MacRae is technically a cozy mystery or a cozy fantasy. I suspect that my fantasy tastes tend much more towards cozy than they do toward high fantasy, whatever that says about me.
It this a subgenre you were familiar with?