New Arrivals · Biographical Fiction

July 20, 2016
These titles were recently added to the collection of the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County.

Mata Hari's last dance : a novel

July 19, 2016
Moran, Michelle, author.
New York : Touchstone, 2016.
259 pages ; 21 cm
"From the international bestselling author of Rebel Queen and Nefertiti comes a captivating novel about the infamous Mata Hari, exotic dancer, adored courtesan, and, possibly, relentless spy. Paris, 1917. The notorious dancer Mata Hari sits in a cold cell awaiting freedom ... or death. Alone and despondent, Mata Hari is as confused as the rest of the world about the charges she's been arrested on: treason leading to the deaths of thousands of French soldiers. As Mata Hari waits for her fate to be decided, she relays the story of her life to a reporter who is allowed to visit her in prison. Beginning with her carefree childhood, Mata Hari recounts her father's cruel abandonment of her family as well her calamitous marriage to a military officer. Taken to the island of Java, Mata Hari refuses to be ruled by her abusive husband and instead learns to dance, paving the way to her stardom as Europe's most infamous dancer. From exotic Indian temples and glamorous Parisian theatres to stark German barracks in war-torn Europe, international bestselling author Michelle Moran who "expertly balances fact and fiction" (Associated Press) brings to vibrant life the famed world of Mata Hari: dancer, courtesan, and possibly, spy"-- Provided by publisher.

Monterey Bay

July 19, 2016
Hatton, Lindsay, author.
©2016
310 pages ; 22 cm
In 1940, fifteen year-old Margot Fiske arrives on the shores of Monterey Bay with her eccentric entrepreneur father. Margot has been her father's apprentice all over the world, until an accident in Monterey's tide pools drives them apart and plunges her head-first into the mayhem of John Steinbeck's Cannery Row. Steinbeck is hiding out from his burgeoning fame at the raucous lab of Ed Ricketts, the biologist known as Doc in Cannery Row. Ricketts, a charismatic bohemian, quickly becomes the object of Margot's fascination. Despite Steinbeck's protests and her father's misgivings, she wrangles a job as Ricketts's sketch artist and begins drawing the strange and wonderful sea creatures he pulls from the waters of the bay. Unbeknownst to Margot, her father is also working with Ricketts. He is soliciting the biologist's advice on his most ambitious and controversial project to date: the transformation of the Row's largest cannery into an aquarium. When Margot begins an affair with Ricketts, she sets in motion a chain of events that will affect not just the two of them, but the future of Monterey as well. Alternating between past and present, Monterey Bay explores histories both imagined and actual to create an unforgettable portrait of an exceptional woman, a world-famous aquarium, and the beloved town they both call home.--Provided by publisher.

The imperial wife : [a novel]

July 18, 2016
Reyn, Irina, author.
New York : Thomas Dunne Books/St. Martin's Press, 2016.
276 pages ; 24 cm
"The Imperial Wife follows the lives of two women, one in contemporary New York City and the other in eighteenth-century Russia. Tanya Kagan, a specialist in Russian art at a top New York auction house, is trying to entice Russia's wealthy oligarchs to bid on the biggest sale of her career, The Order of Saint Catherine, while making sense of the sudden and unexplained departure of her husband. As questions arise over the provenance of the Order and auction fever kicks in, Reyn takes us into the world of Catherine the Great, the infamous 18th-century woman who may have owned the priceless artifact, and who it turns out faced many of the same issues Tanya wrestles with in her own life. The Imperial Wife asks what female ambition means, today and in the past, and whether a marriage can withstand an ambitious wife"-- Provided by publisher.

The Hamilton affair : a novel

July 11, 2016
Cobbs Hoffman, Elizabeth, author.
New York : Arcade Publishing, [2016]
403 pages ; 24 cm

Dating tips for the unemployed

July 7, 2016
Smyles, Iris, author.
Boston : Mariner Books/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2016.
288 pages : illustrations ; 21 cm
"Iris Smyles's Dating Tips for the Unemployed is an urban odyssey, a wistful, wise, and wry look back at a young woman trying to find her home in the world. "Iris," the narrator and heroine, guides the reader through twenty-four episodes from her life, pausing now and then for meditations on love, sex, work, loneliness, insomnia, arctic exploration, cannibalism, the Higgs boson, Greek mythology, memory, costumes parties, time travel, Rocky I, II, V, IV, VI, and III respectively, literary immortality, real estate trends, and growing up and growing old. Evoking the screwball heroines of a bygone era as she often finds herself a little lost in her own,"Iris" ventures blithely into the future, and Smyles collects the flotsam of her past. An encyclopedic, absurd, lyrical, and louche picaresque about that awkward age--between birth and death--when you feel like you don't know at all what you're doing"-- Provided by publisher.

Pulgŭn nekt'ai : A mark of red honor

June 24, 2016
Chang, Yŏng-jin, 1959- author.
Sŏul : Mulmangch'o, 2015.
368 pages ; 23 cm
Fiction.

Mrs. Lee and Mrs. Gray

June 21, 2016
Love, Dorothy, 1949- author.
Nashville, Tennessee : Thomas Nelson, [2016]
386 pages ; 22 cm
"Mary Anna Custis Lee is a great-granddaughter of Martha Washington, wife of Confederate General Robert E Lee, and heiress to Virginia's storied Arlington house and General Washington's personal belongings. Born in bondage at Arlington, Selina Norris Gray learns to read and write in the schoolroom Mary and her mother keep for the slave children, and eventually becomes Mary's housekeeper and confidante. As Mary's health declines, Selina becomes her personal maid, strengthening a bond that lasts until death parts them. Forced to flee Arlington at the start of the Civil War, Mary entrusts the keys to her beloved home to no one but Selina. When Union troops begin looting the house, it is Selina who confronts their commander and saves many of its historic treasures."-- Provided by publisher.

The painter of souls

June 17, 2016
Kazan, Philip, author.
©2015
261 pages ; 24 cm
"A novel"--Dust jacket.
Follows the journey of the boy who would become the painter Fra Filippo.

The whale : a love story

June 14, 2016
Beauregard, Mark.
©2016
281 pages ; 22 cm
"A rich and captivating novel set amid the witty, high-spirited literary society of 1850s New England, offering a new window on Herman Melville's emotionally charged relationship with Nathaniel Hawthorne and how it transformed his masterpiece, Moby-Dick In the summer of 1850, Herman Melville finds himself hounded by creditors and afraid his writing career might be coming to an end--his last three novels have been commercial failures and the critics have turned against him. In despair, Melville takes his family for a vacation to his cousin's farm in the Berkshires, where he meets Nathaniel Hawthorne at a picnic--and his life turns upside down. The Whale chronicles the fervent love affair that grows out of that serendipitous afternoon. Already in debt, Melville recklessly borrows money to purchase a local farm in order to remain near Hawthorne, his newfound muse. The two develop a deep connection marked by tensions and estrangements, and feelings both shared and suppressed. Melville dedicated Moby-Dick to Hawthorne, and Mark Beauregard's novel fills in the story behind that dedication with historical accuracy and exquisite emotional precision, reflecting his nuanced reading of the real letters and journals of Melville, Hawthorne, Oliver Wendell Holmes, and others. An exuberant tale of longing and passion, The Whale captures not only a transformative relationship--long the subject of speculation--between two of our most enduring authors, but also their exhilarating moment in history, when a community of high-spirited and ambitious writers was creating truly American literature for the first time."--Amazon.com.

Bev : a novel

June 13, 2016
Williams, Andrea.
New York : Karen Hunter Publishing : Gallery Books, 2016.
260 pages ; 21 cm
"Based on a book by Meredith Kopald."--T.p.
"Based on the real life story of a little-known figure in the Civil Rights Movement: a white social worker who left the comforts of her life in New York City to travel to the segregated South, comes BEV, a fictionalized account of the strength, compassion, and dangers people faced in their fight to help African Americans achieve equality. After watching the horrifying images of dogs, hoses, and violence on March 7, 1965 aka Bloody Sunday, Bev Luther, a white Northerner, determined she could no longer afford to remain a spectator. As a social worker, she knew she was needed to help and march alongside African Americans, Asians, and Latinos in the quest for equality. Along with several other Northerners--mostly whites--she decided to travel down to the tense segregated South right in the middle of an era that would change America forever. With a clear understanding of history and evocative language, BEV is the fictionalized account of those who answered the call to help their fellow citizens earn the right to vote"-- Provided by publisher.

Marlene

May 27, 2016
Gortner, C. W., author.
New York, NY : William Morrow, an imprint of HarperCollinsPublishers, [2016]
406 pages ; 24 cm
"Marlene reveals the inner life of a woman of grit, glamour, and ambition who defied convention, seduced the world, and forged her own path on her own terms."---Provided by publisher.

A country road, a tree

May 12, 2016
Baker, Jo, author.
New York : Alfred A. Knopf, 2016.
289 pages ; 25
"This is a Borzoi book."
"When war breaks out in Europe in 1939, Samuel Beckett was a young, unknown writer who journeys from his home in neutral Ireland to conflict-ridden Paris and is drawn into the maelstrom. With him we experience the hardships yet stubborn vibrancy at the heart of Europe during the Nazis' rise to power; his friendships with James Joyce and other luminaries; his quietly passionate devotion to the Frenchwoman who will become his lifelong companion; his secret work for the French Resistance and narrow escapes from the Gestapo; his flight from occupied Paris to the countryside; and the rubble of his life after liberation. And through it all we are witness to workings of a uniquely brilliant mind struggling to create a language that will express his experience of this shattered world."--Provided by publisher.

The noise of time

May 9, 2016
Barnes, Julian, author.
New York : Alfred A. Knopf, 2016.
xi, 201 pages ; 20 cm
"A compact masterpiece dedicated to the Russian composer Dmitri Shostakovich--Julian Barnes's first novel since his best-selling, Booker Prize-winning The Sense of an Ending. 1936: Shostakovich, just thirty, fears for his livelihood and his life. Stalin, hitherto a distant figure, has taken a sudden interest in his work and denounced his latest opera. Now, certain he will be exiled to Siberia (or, more likely, shot dead on the spot), he reflects on his predicament, his personal history, his parents, various women and wives, his children all of those hanging in the balance of his fate. And though a stroke of luck prevents him from becoming yet another casualty of the Great Terror, for years to come he will be held fast under the thumb of despotism: made to represent Soviet values at a cultural conference in New York City, forced into joining the Party, and compelled, constantly, to weigh appeasing those in power against the integrity of his music. Barnes elegantly guides us through the trajectory of Shostakovich's career, at the same time illuminating the tumultuous evolution of the Soviet Union. The result is both a stunning portrait of a relentlessly fascinating man and a brilliant meditation on the meaning of art and its place in society"-- Provided by publisher.

The honeymoon

May 3, 2016
Smith, Dinitia, author.
New York : Other Press, 2016.
415 pages ; 22 cm
"Based on the life of George Eliot, famed author of Middlemarch, this captivating account of Eliot's passions and tribulations explores the nature of love in its many guises. Dinitia Smith's spellbinding novel recounts George Eliot's honeymoon in Venice in June 1880 following her marriage to a handsome young man twenty years her junior. When she agreed to marry John Walter Cross, Eliot was recovering from the death of George Henry Lewes, her beloved companion of twenty-six years. Eliot was bereft: left at the age of sixty to contemplate profound questions about her physical decline, her fading appeal, and the prospect of loneliness. In her youth, Mary Ann Evans--who would later be known as George Eliot--was a country girl, considered too plain to marry, so she educated herself in order to secure a livelihood. In an era when female novelists were objects of wonder, she became the most famous writer of her day--with a male nom de plume. The Honeymoon explores different kinds of love, and of the possibilities of redemption and happiness even in an imperfect union. Smith integrates historical truth with her own rich rendition of Eliot's inner voice, crafting a page-turner that is as intelligent as it is gripping"-- Provided by publisher.

The fall of man in Wilmslow

May 2, 2016
Lagercrantz, David, author.
New York : Knopf, 2016.
353 pages ; 24 cm
"An electrifying thriller that opens with Alan Turing's suicide, and then opens out to take in a young detective's awakening to painful secrets about his own life and the life of his country. It's 1954. Several English nationals have defected to the USSR, while a witch-hunt for homosexuals rages across Britain. In these circumstances, no one is surprised when a mathematician by the name of Alan Turing, is found dead in his home: it is widely assumed that he committed suicide, unable to cope with the humiliation of a criminal conviction for homosexuality. But young Detective Sergeant Leonard Corell, who had always dreamt of a career in higher mathematics, suspects greater forces are involved. In the face of opposition from his superiors, he begins to assemble the pieces of a puzzle that lead him to one of the most closely guarded secrets of the war: the Bletchley Park operation to crack the Nazis' Enigma Code. But he is also about to be rocked by two startling developments in his own life, one of which will find him being pursued as a threat to national security."-- Provided by publisher.

Screamin' Jay Hawkins' all-time greatest hits : a novel

April 29, 2016
Binelli, Mark.
New York : Metropolitan Books/Henry Holt and Company, 2016.
201 pages ; 22 cm
"He came on stage in a coffin, carried by pallbearers, drunk enough to climb into his casket every night. Onstage he wore a cape, clamped a bone to his nose, and carried a staff topped with a human skull. Offstage, he insisted he'd been raised by a tribe of Blackfoot Indians, that he'd joined the army at fourteen, that he'd defeated the middleweight boxing champion of Alaska, that he'd fathered seventy-five illegitimate children. The R & B wildman Screamin' Jay Hawkins only had a single hit, the classic "I Put a Spell On You," and was often written off as a clownish novelty act -- or worse, an offense to his race -- but his myth-making was legendary. In his second novel, Mark Binelli embraces the man and the legend to create a hilarious, tragic, fantastical portrait of this unlikeliest of protagonists. Hawkins saw his life story as a wild picaresque, and Binelli's novel follows suit, tackling the subject in a dazzling collage-like style. At Rolling Stone, Binelli has profiled some of the greatest musicians of our time, and this novel deftly plays with the inordinate focus on "authenticity" in so much music writing about African-Americans. An entire novel built around a musician as deliberately inauthentic as Screamin' Jay Hawkins thus becomes a sort of subversive act, as well as an extremely funny and surprisingly moving one"--Provided by publisher.

Death on a starry night

April 26, 2016
Draine, Betsy, 1945- author.
©2016
211 pages ; 22 cm.
When art historian Nora Barnes returns to France for a Van Gogh conference in the charming medieval village of Saint-Paul-de-Vence, she's expecting a vigorous debate about whether the famed artist's suicide was actually a homicide. But on the night before the conference, an elderly French woman who'd promised to reveal important evidence is found head down in the village fountain, and her Chanel briefcase is nowhere to be seen.

The dark lady's mask

April 19, 2016
Sharratt, Mary, 1964- author.
Boston : Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2016.
xi, 398 pages ; 24 cm
Disguising herself as a man to escape her loveless marriage and enjoy the exclusive freedoms of men, aspiring writer Aemilia Lanier falls in love and runs away with ragged poet William Shakespeare, with whom she secretly writes plays that bring him fame years later.

The dig

April 18, 2016
Preston, John, 1953- author.
©2007
261 pages ; 21 cm
"A succinct and witty literary venture that tells the strange story of a priceless treasure discovered in East Anglia on the eve of World War II. In the long, hot summer of 1939, Britain is preparing for war, but on a riverside farm in Suffolk there is excitement of another kind. Mrs. Pretty, the widowed owner of the farm, has had her hunch confirmed that the mounds on her land hold buried treasure. As the dig proceeds, it becomes clear that this is no ordinary find. This fictional recreation of the famed Sutton Hoo dig follows three months of intense activity when locals fought outsiders, professionals thwarted amateurs, and love and rivalry flourished in equal measure. As the war looms ever closer, engraved gold peeks through the soil, and each character searches for answers in the buried treasure. Their threads of love, loss, and aspiration weave a common awareness of the past as something that can never truly be left behind"-- Provided by publisher.

My struggle. Book five

April 18, 2016
Knausgård, Karl Ove, 1968- author.
©2015
624 pages ; 20 cm
"The fifth book of Knausgaard's powerful My Struggle series is written with tremendous force and sincerity. As a nineteen-year-old, Karl Ove moves to Bergen and invests all of himself in his writing. But his efforts get the opposite effect - he wants it so much that he gets writer's block. At the same time, he sees his friends, one-by-one, publish their debuts. He suspects that he will never get anything published. Book Five is also a book about strong new friendships and a shattering love affair. Then one day Karl Ove reaches two crucial points in his life: his father dies, and shortly thereafter, he completes his first novel"-- Provided by publisher.

#SurvivingHighSchool : do it for the Vine : a novel

April 7, 2016
Pons, Lele, author.
©2016
262 pages ; 24 cm
This is a novel, and the character "Lele Pons" is based on the real Vine superstar, Lele Pons, and the stories in this book were inspired by Lele's life and her Vines.
"'Ten million followers and I still sit alone at lunch.' Lele is a bulls-eye target at her new school in Miami until, overnight, her digital fame catapults the girl with cheerleader looks, a seriously silly personality, and a self-deprecating funny bone into the popular crowd. Now she’s facing a whole new set of challenges--the relentless drama, the ruthless cliques, the unexpected internet celebrity--all while trying to keep her grades up and make her parents proud."--Provided by publisher.

The rivals of Versailles : a novel

April 7, 2016
Christie, Sally, 1971- author.
New York : Atria Paperback, 2016.
432 pages ; 21 cm
"The year is 1745. Marie-Anne, the youngest of the infamous Nesle sisters and King Louis XV's most beloved mistress, is gone, making room for the next Royal Favorite. Enter Jeanne-Antoinette Poisson, a stunningly beautiful girl from the middle classes. Fifteen years prior, a fortune teller had mapped out young Jeanne's destiny: she would become the lover of a king and the most powerful woman in the land. Eventually connections, luck, and a little scheming pave her way to Versailles and into the King's arms. All too soon, conniving politicians and hopeful beauties seek to replace the bourgeois interloper with a more suitable mistress. As Jeanne, now the Marquise de Pompadour, takes on her many rivals--including a lustful lady-in-waiting; a precocious fourteen-year-old prostitute, and even a cousin of the notorious Nesle sisters--she helps the king give himself over to a life of luxury and depravity. Around them, war rages, discontent grows, and France inches ever closer to the Revolution. Enigmatic beauty, social climber, actress, trendsetter, patron of the arts, spendthrift, whoremonger, friend, lover, foe. History books may say many things about the famous Marquise de Pompadour, but one thing is clear: for almost twenty years, she ruled France and the King's heart. Told in Christie's witty and modern style, this second book in the Mistresses of Versailles trilogy will delight and entrance fans as it once again brings to life the world of eighteenth century Versailles in all its pride, pestilence and glory"-- Provided by publisher.

Sent to the devil

April 5, 2016
Lebow, Laura, author.
New York : Minotaur Books, 2016.
379 pages ; 22 cm
"In 1788 Vienna, Court Poet Lorenzo Da Ponte is putting some finishing touches on the libretto for the premiere of his new opera with Mozart, Don Giovanni. A huge success when it debuted in Prague, the Emperor has decreed that it shall be performed in Vienna. But Joseph II is off prosecuting a less-than-popular war against the Turks, and the city itself is in a bit of turmoil. There are voices protesting the war, others who see Turks around every corner. Da Ponte, however, just wants to do his work and enjoy life. Alas, these simple desires aren't to be easily fulfilled. First, he's been getting a series of mysterious coded notes from unknown hands, notes that make no sense to him. Then his old friend Alois, a retired priest and academic, is viciously murdered and strange symbols carved into his forehead. Summoned to the police bureau, Da Ponte learns that Alois's murder was not the first. Determined to help find his friend's killer, Da Ponte agrees to help with the secret investigation. Caught in a crossfire of intrigue both in the world of opera and politics, Da Ponte must find the answer to a riddle and expose a killer before he becomes the next victim"-- Provided by publisher.

Terrible virtue : a novel

March 29, 2016
Feldman, Ellen, 1941-
New York, NY : Harper, an imprint of HarperCollinsPublishers, [2016]
260 pages ; 24 cm
A fictional portrait that follows the life of the founder of Planned Parenthood. The daughter of a hard-drinking, smooth-tongued free thinker and a mother worn down by thirteen children, Margaret Sanger vowed her life would be different. Trained as a nurse, she eventually channeled her energy to one singular cause: legalizing contraception.

Margaret the first

March 15, 2016
Dutton, Danielle, 1975-
New York : Catapult, c2016.
167 pages ; 21 cm.
"Margaret the First dramatizes the life of Margaret Cavendish, the shy, gifted, and wildly unconventional 17th-century Duchess. The eccentric Margaret wrote and published volumes of poems, philosophy, feminist plays, and utopian science fiction at a time when 'being a writer' was not an option open to women."--Publisher website.

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