10 Immersive Series to Hunker Down with This Fall

October 13 2021
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With days growing cooler and darker, fall is just around the corner. If you’re anything like us, you are feeling that seasonal compulsion to light a spiced candle, curl up under a thick blanket, and crack open a book. Fall under the spell of reading with these ten immersive book series! Richly atmospheric and mesmerizing in scope, these series weave from history to fantasy, thrills to mysteries. Plus, once you find the series that clicks, you won’t have to wonder where your next read will come from. So, kick back, curl up, and enjoy sinking into another world for days on end.

Magic Lessons
by Alice Hoffman

In this enchanting prequel to master storyteller Alice Hoffman’s Practical Magic series, it is the 1600s and Maria Owens is taken in by Hannah Owens after being abandoned as a baby in the English countryside. From Hannah, Maria learns the “Nameless Arts” as well as life’s most important lesson: always love someone who will love you back. Years later, when Maria is abandoned by the man she loves, she follows him to Salem, Massachusetts, to cast a curse that will last generations. Follow the series to its spellbinding conclusion in the just-published THE BOOK OF MAGIC!

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Magic Lessons
Alice Hoffman

In this “ bewitching” (The New York Times Book Review) novel that traces a centuries-old curse to its source, beloved author Alice Hoffman unveils the story of Maria Owens, accused of witchcraft in Salem, and matriarch of a line of the amazing Owens women and men featured in Practical Magic and The Rules of Magic.

Where does the story of the Owens bloodline begin? With Maria Owens, in the 1600s, when she’s abandoned in a snowy field in rural England as a baby. Under the care of Hannah Owens, Maria learns about the “Nameless Arts.” Hannah recognizes that Maria has a gift and she teaches the girl all she knows. It is here that she learns her first important lesson: Always love someone who will love you back.

When Maria is abandoned by the man who has declared his love for her, she follows him to Salem, Massachusetts. Here she invokes the curse that will haunt her family. And it’s here that she learns the rules of magic and the lesson that she will carry with her for the rest of her life. Love is the only thing that matters.

Magic Lessons is a “heartbreaking and heart-healing” (BookPage) celebration of life and love and a showcase of Alice Hoffman’s masterful storytelling.

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Lightning Strike
by William Kent Krueger

In the summer of 1963, change is coming to the small Minnesota town of Aurora, but 12-year-old Cork doesn’t know it yet. After stumbling on to the hanging body of a man he once admired, Cork’s belief in his family, hometown, and way of life is rocked. As he and his sheriff father, Liam, begin to investigate if the death was suicide or something more, Cork begins to see that the truth might not be so simple. LIGHTNING STRIKE is the emotionally resonant prequel to William Kent Krueger’s powerful Cork O’Connor series.

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Lightning Strike
William Kent Krueger

The author of the instant New York Times bestseller This Tender Land returns with a powerful prequel to his acclaimed Cork O’Connor series—a book about fathers and sons, long-simmering conflicts in a small Minnesota town, and the events that echo through youth and shape our lives forever.

Aurora is a small town nestled in the ancient forest alongside the shores of Minnesota’s Iron Lake. In the summer of 1963, it is the whole world to twelve-year-old Cork O’Connor, its rhythms as familiar as his own heartbeat. But when Cork stumbles upon the body of a man he revered hanging from a tree in an abandoned logging camp, it is the first in a series of events that will cause him to question everything he took for granted about his hometown, his family, and himself.

Cork’s father, Liam O’Connor, is Aurora’s sheriff and it is his job to confirm that the man’s death was the result of suicide, as all the evidence suggests. In the shadow of his father’s official investigation, Cork begins to look for answers on his own. Together, father and son face the ultimate test of choosing between what their heads tell them is true and what their hearts know is right.

In this masterful story of a young man and a town on the cusp of change, beloved novelist William Kent Krueger shows that some mysteries can be solved even as others surpass our understanding.

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The Russian Cage
by Charlaine Harris

From the beloved author of the Sookie Stackhouse books, comes the third installment in Harris’s latest Gunnie Rose series, THE RUSSIAN CAGE, chock-full of romance, thrills, and secrets. In a fractured, alternative universe, gunslinger Lizbeth must rescue her estranged partner Prince from the Holy Russian Empire where he is being held for murder. But to do so, she’s going to need the help of her sister and her inherited Grigori Rasputin powers, abilities that will help her overcome the twisted intrigue of royal life she must face to save them all.

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The Russian Cage
Charlaine Harris

#1 New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author Charlaine Harris is at her best in this alternate history of the United States where magic is an acknowledged but despised power in this third installment of the Gunnie Rose series.

Picking up right where A Longer Fall left off, this thrilling third installment follows Lizbeth Rose as she takes on one of her most dangerous missions yet: rescuing her estranged partner, Prince Eli, from the Holy Russian Empire. Once in San Diego, Lizbeth is going to have to rely upon her sister Felicia, and her growing Grigori powers to navigate her way through this strange new world of royalty and deception in order to get Eli freed from jail where he’s being held for murder.

Russian Cage continues to ramp up the momentum with more of everything Harris’ readers adore her for with romance, intrigue, and a deep dive into the mysterious Holy Russian Empire.

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Comanche Moon
by Larry McMurtry

The captivating four-book series begun by the Pulitzer Prize–winning novel LONESOME DOVE comes to fateful conclusion in COMANCHE MOON. Texas Rangers Gus and Call enlist with a Ranger troop despite their home-front distractions of Gus’s love for Clara Forsythe and Call’s admirer Maggie Tilton. Instead, they set out in pursuit of a Comanche war chief, a Comanche horse thief, and a twisted and deadly Mexican bandit. Steeped in sweeping Western lore and the bitter divides that defined the encroaching Western frontier, COMANCHE MOON is, as we’ve written before, the only Western series you’ll ever need.

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Comanche Moon
Larry McMurtry

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The Lady of the Rivers
by Philippa Gregory

Upon her marriage to the Duke of Bedford, the young Jacquetta is exposed to a world of dark knowledge and alchemy. After her husband’s death, Jacquetta remarries in secret and serves at King Henry VI’s court. There, Jacquetta befriends the new queen but senses trouble on the horizon for the English people and for her own family against their York rivals. Want more after reading this first book in New York Times bestselling author Philippa Gregory’s Plantagenet and Tudor series? Check out our recommended reading order for the rest of the novels.

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The Lady of the Rivers
Philippa Gregory

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The Tapestry
by Nancy Bilyeau

In this third and final book in the Joanna Stafford series, Dominican novice Joanna seeks to live a quiet life. But when her tapestry work catches the eye of the king, Joanna is forced to live in Henry VIII’s Palace of Whitehall, where she becomes unwillingly entangled in Tudor court dramas. The king is tiring of his fourth wife and seems interested in Joanna’s best friend Catherine Howard. Determined to protect her friend and to choose between the two men she herself might love, Joanna must finally choose who she will become.

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The Tapestry
Nancy Bilyeau

The next page-turner in the award-winning Joanna Stafford series takes place in the heart of the Tudor court, as she risks everything to defy the most powerful men of her era.

Henry VIII's Palace of Whitehall is the last place on earth Joanna Stafford wants to be. But a summons from the king cannot be refused.

After her priory was destroyed, Joanna, a young Dominican novice, vowed to live a quiet life, weaving tapestries and shunning dangerous conspiracies. That all changes when the king takes an interest in her tapestry talent.

With a ruthless monarch tiring of his fourth wife and amoral noblemen driven by hidden agendas, Joanna becomes entangled in Tudor court politics. Her close friend, Catherine Howard. is rumored to be the king's mistress, and Joanna is determined to protect her from becoming the king's next wife—and victim. All the while, Joanna tries to understand her feelings for the two men in her life: the constable who tried to save her and the friar she can't forget.

In a world of royal banquets, jousts, sea voyages and Tower Hill executions, Joanna must finally choose her future: nun or wife, spy or subject, rebel or courtier.

The Tapestry is the final book in a Tudor trilogy that began in 2012 with The Crown, an Oprah magazine pick. Don't miss the adventures of one of the most unforgettable heroines in historical fiction.

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The Neon Rain
by James Lee Burke

In this atmospheric New Orleans neo-noir—the first in the addictive Robicheaux series—Detective Dave Robicheaux is tired of fighting. As a Vietnam veteran and alcoholic who recently lost his wife, Robicheaux feels as if he has lost his purpose. That is, until he is drawn into the mysterious murder of a young prostitute in the bayou. From the French Quarter to the seedy underworld of drug dealers and smugglers, Robicheaux must face the evils that haunt him and his shadowy city.

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The Neon Rain
James Lee Burke

From New York Times bestselling author James Lee Burke comes his definitive, must-read first title in his famous Dectective David Robicheaux series.

New Orleans Detective Dave Robicheaux has fought too many battles: in Vietnam, with police brass, with killers and hustlers, and the bottle. Lost without his wife's love, Robicheaux haunts the intense and heady French Quarter—the place he calls home, and the place that nearly destroys him when he beomes involved in the case of a young prostitute whose body is found in a bayou. Thrust into the seedy world of drug lords and arms smugglers, Robicheaux must face down the criminal underworld and come to terms with his own bruised heart and demons to survive.

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Game On
by Janet Evanovich

Agent Stephanie Plum might not be the most tech-savvy person, but she’s confident that her unmatched understanding of human nature will help her to bring her next target, a cruel and brilliant computer hacker named Oswald Wednesday, to justice. But just as she’s starting on the case, she learns that a fellow estranged apprehension agent, the ill-tempered and enormous Diesel, is also on the case. Still uncertain if Diesel is a partner or competition, Stephanie sets out to trap Wednesday in this 28th installment in the fan-favorite Stephanie Plum series.

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Game On
Janet Evanovich

Stephanie Plum returns to hunt down a master cyber-criminal operating out of Trenton in the 28th book in the wildly popular series by #1 New York Times bestselling author Janet Evanovich.

When Stephanie Plum is woken up in the middle of the night by the sound of footsteps in her apartment, she wishes she didn’t keep her gun in the cookie jar in her kitchen. And when she finds out the intruder is fellow apprehension agent Diesel, six feet of hard muscle and bad attitude who she hasn’t seen in more than two years, she still thinks the gun might come in handy.

Turns out Diesel and Stephanie are on the trail of the same fugitive: Oswald Wednesday, an international computer hacker as brilliant as he is ruthless. Stephanie may not be the most technologically savvy sleuth, but she more than makes up for that with her dogged determination, her understanding of human nature, and her willingness to do just about anything to bring a fugitive to justice. Unsure if Diesel is her partner or her competition in this case, she’ll need to watch her back every step of the way as she sets the stage to draw Wednesday out from behind his computer and into the real world.

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The Fifth Season
by N.K. Jemisin

In the Hugo-winning The Broken Earth series, Jemisin introduces us to the end of the world. There, in the Stillness, Essun, a woman with a hidden power, searches for her kidnapped daughter. Despite betrayal and tragedy, Essun fosters hope for a world beyond the end, but can a world so infested with rot be cleansed, or must it only be destroyed? This powerful series about oppression, revolution, female rage, and determination is a contemporary classic of speculative fiction.

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The Fifth Season
N.K. Jemisin

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The Soldier's Curse
by Thomas Keneally

Once imprisoned in the Australian penal colony of Port Macquarie, Hugh Monsarrat is now a clerk for the settlement’s commandant. Aside from his duties, he passes the days drinking tea and chatting with the whip-smart housekeeper Hannah Mulrooney. When the commandant’s alluring wife dies of poisoning, Monsarrat suspects the commandant’s dangerous right-hand man Captain Diamond. Nevertheless, Diamond arrests Mulrooney for the murder, and Monsarrat must uncover the true killer before it’s too late in this clever historical mystery, the first installment of the Monsarrat trilogy.

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The Soldier's Curse
Thomas Keneally

From the “greatest living practitioner of historical fiction” (Christian Science Monitor) Thomas Keneally and his eldest daughter Meg Keneally comes the first novel in a fast-paced, gripping, and witty historical crime series.

In the Port Macquarie penal settlement for second offenders, Hugh Monsarrat hungers for freedom. Originally imprisoned for forging documents to pass himself off as a lawyer, he is now the trusted clerk of the settlement’s commandant.

His position has certain advantages, including access to the Government House kitchen and outstanding cups of tea from housekeeper Hannah Mulrooney, who is his most intelligent companion. But things change when the commandant heads off on assignment and his beautiful wife, Honora, suddenly falls ill. Only when she dies does it becomes clear she has been slowly poisoned.

Monsarrat and Mrs. Mulrooney suspect the commandant’s right hand man, Captain Diamond, a cruel man who shared an intimate history with Honora. But when Diamond has Mrs. Mulrooney arrested for the murder, Monsarrat must find the real killer in order to exonerate this innocent woman and his good friend in this thrilling and whip-smart mystery.

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MENTIONED IN:

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By Sara Roncero-Menendez | October 12, 2021

10 Historical Novels Perfect for Crisp Autumn Nights

By Chris Gaudio | October 11, 2021

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Photo credit: iStock / Emilija Randjelovic

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