Library Notes: January 2021 releases in fiction

Published 12:00 am Sunday, January 3, 2021

By Abby Hardison
Rowan Public Library

The year 2020 is finally over. We are stepping into a new year, and a new batch of fiction titles will soon be hitting the shelves. Even if you are still stuck at home for most of the time, it’s no reason not to embark on an exotic voyage through space and time though the pages of a book. Track down a lost manuscript in France, delve into the stories of five women all connected by the sumptuous garden of an English manor, and enjoy a tale of small-town healing and kinship in rural pre-war Appalachia. All three of the following titles described will be released in the first few weeks of January and will be arriving on the shelves of Rowan Public Library’s branches and the North Carolina Digital Library.

French novelist Cathy Bonidan’s “The Lost Manuscript” starts with a vacation to Brittany, and a mysterious manuscript in the hotel nightstand, which starts off a chain of events leading to the author of the manuscript, as well as all the lives it has touched along its surprising and heartfelt adventure. This epistolary-style story is a celebration of readers, romance and relationships.

For the Downton Abbey fans, International bestselling author Julia Kelly’s latest “The Last Garden in England” is a sweeping historical fiction novel that brings the lives of five women across three time periods all connected one English estate’s grand garden. Starting in 1907 with the garden’s designer, building her reputation creating idyllic and impressive havens for industrialists to show off to their friends, to the struggles of World War II which sees the manor house turned into a convalescent home for wounded soldiers, threatening the famed garden. These stories are stumbled upon by the garden’s present-day restorer, who discovers a secret that binds each generation to the special place treasured by each in their time.

If a story set closer to home appeals, then Cathy Gohlke’s “Night Bird Calling” will certainly be appreciated for those who like small-town redemption stories about friendships, families, and community in the eve of World War II. A woman flees her abusive husband to live with a distant aunt, and they plan together to create a community library for their small North Carolina town for all its citizens. When some learn the plan fails to include segregation, fears of the past and danger from the present threaten the library as well as the women who want to establish it.  Author Cathy Gohlke is a four-time Christy Award winner and this title should appeal to fans of Francine Rivers and Fannie Flagg.   

These titles can be reserved by calling or going to and signing in with your library card number and PIN. You can access titles on the North Carolina Digital Library using any computer, smart phone or tablet by downloading the free Libby app. RPL staff members are always available to assist in accessing these resources. Happy reading!

Abby Hardison is adult services supervisor at the Rowan Public Library.

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