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9 New Books to Read in January 2021

From left to right, the covers of 'Lana's War', 'Waiting for the Night Song', 'The Wife Upstairs'
Simon and Schuster/Forge Books/St. Martin’s Press

What better way to start off the new year than with some new books? No matter your favorite genre—thriller, romance, historical or literary fiction, or something else entirely—there’s probably a new book coming out in January 2021 that will pique your interest.

If one of your New Year’s resolutions is to read more, or you’re just looking for something new to add to your shelves, we’ve got you covered.

Below, you’ll find nine of the most interesting titles arriving this January! A few were just released and a few are dropping next week, but you can preorder them, and, if you have a Kindle, they’ll be delivered to your device automatically on the release date!

The Wife Upstairs

Rachel Hawkins’ The Wife Upstairs is an update of Jane Eyre, but with a Southern Gothic twist and a hint of Rebecca. A woman moves to an elite Alabama community and works as a dog walker, quietly picking up valuables along the way. When she meets the neighborhood’s mysterious, brooding widower, they fall for each other, but the shadow of his first wife looms large, as does Jane’s own past. Out Jan. 5.


The Great Gatsby enters the public domain in 2021, and Michael Ferris Smith is ready with Nick. Mostly a prequel, this novel is the story of Gatsby’s neighbor, Nick Callaway, in the years before he moved to Long Island. Follow him through the trenches of World War I and the chaotic debauchery of Paris and New Orleans. Out Jan. 5.

Our Darkest Night

In Our Darkest Night, Jennifer Robson takes inspiration from true stories of ordinary people during World War II. An Italian-Jewish woman poses as the wife of a Christian farmer during the Holocaust, but their attempts to convince their neighbors that they’re really in love lead to complications. Emotions, danger, and suspense run high in this exciting novel. Out Jan. 5.

Yellow Wife

Yellow Wife by Sadeqa Johnson is an engrossing piece of historical fiction. It’s about a young woman who is promised freedom from slavery, but is then forced into something even more terrifying. After growing up a favorite on a plantation, Pheby must leave “home” and ends up being captured and tormented by a cruel, demanding jailer. Still, she never gives up her struggle to regain her long-awaited freedom. Out Jan. 12.

Waiting for the Night Song

Childhood promises, dark secrets, and endangered environments combine in Julie Carrick Dalton’s Waiting for the Night Song. A forestry worker returns home to a plea for help from a childhood best friend. Forced to relive the secrets of one life-changing summer in their youth, they also must combat drought, wildfires, and a difficult economy sparking tensions and fears in their community. Out Jan. 12.

The Last Garden in England

One garden connects women in three time periods in The Last Garden in England by Julia Kelly. In 1907, Venetia designs the garden in the hopes of advancing her career. In 1944, three women band together to hide a secret. In the present, Emma is thrilled to restore her hero’s garden, but she uncovers a mystery in the process. Out Jan. 12.

The Charmed Wife

Olga Grushin puts a very different spin on Cinderella in The Charmed Wife. After more than a decade of marriage, Cinderella asks a wise woman to make her a potion—that will kill her husband. What ensues is a darkly twisted tale of magic and marriage that’s never quite what you expect. Out Jan. 12.

People Like Her

People Like Her is a modern thriller by Ellery Lloyd that takes influencer culture to an eerie, yet all-too-familiar place. Emmy is an Instagram star whose real-life starts to crumble under the pressure. Her failed novelist husband is frustrated with her business-like knack for monetizing their daily life, and one of her “fans” is an obsessed stalker, who could threaten her business, her family, and her life. Out Jan. 12.

Lana's War

With Lana’s War, Anita Abriel digs into international spy intrigue and the glamour of the French Riviera against the backdrop of WWII. After losing her husband when he’s caught hiding Jewish children from the Gestapo, Lana joins the resistance. Sent to infiltrate the pro-German socialite community, she poses as the mistress of a wealthy industrialist, who has secrets of his own. As they grow closer, an emotional connection forms that neither expected. Out Jan. 12.

Amanda Prahl Amanda Prahl
Amanda Prahl is a freelance contributor to LifeSavvy. She has an MFA in dramatic writing, a BA in literature, and is a former faculty associate focusing on writing craft and history. Her articles have appeared on HowlRound, Slate, Bustle, BroadwayWorld, and ThoughtCo, among others. Read Full Bio »
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