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Nancy's Notes - October 6, 2016

“Drinking Gourd” by Barbara Hambly, "The Secret Ingredient of Wishes" by Susan Bishop “Monticello” by Sally Cabot Gunning.

  Every once of a while patrons come in and teaches me something! Last week one of our regulars came in and mentioned she had returned the new novel, “Monticello” because she had recently read the very same story line. She returned home and phoned later with the title of the similar novel. It was, “America’s First Daughter”, which was published in March of this year. Sure enough they are both about Thomas Jefferson’s daughters. However the first is about Martha Jefferson and the latter is about Patsy Jefferson. I went on-line to see if there was some landmark date that made the publication of the two books coincide, but could find no specific reason.
        Barbara Hambly’s, “Drinking Gourd” has a different twist on historical fiction. It is also a mystery. Benjamin January is called up to Vicksburg, deep in cotton-plantation country, to help a wounded “conductor” of the Underground Railroad. When the chief “conductor” of the “station” is found murdered, Jubal Cain, the coordinator of the whole Railroad system in Mississippi, is accused of the crime. Since Cain can’t expose the nature of his involvement in the railroad, January has to step in and find the true killer, before their covers are blown. As January probes into the murky web of slaves, slave-holders, the fugitives who follow the “drinking gourd” north to freedom and those who help them on their way, he discovers that there is more to the situation than meets the eye.
        26-year-old Rachel Monroe has spent her whole life trying to keep a very unusual secret: she can make wishes come true. And sometimes the consequences are disastrous. So when Rachel accidentally grants a bizarre wish for the first time in years, she decides it’s time to leave her hometown and her past behind. Rachel isn’t on the road long before she runs out of gas in a town that’s not on her map: Nowhere, North Carolina. In Nowhere, Rachel is taken in by a feisty old woman, Catch, who possesses a strange gift of her own: she can bind secrets by baking them into pies. Rachel also meets Catch’s neighbor, Ashe, a Southern gentleman with a complicated past, who makes her want to believe in happily-ever-after for the first time in her life.
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