New Arrivals · Biographical Fiction

May 13, 2016
These titles were recently added to the collection of the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County.

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.

Sisi : empress on her own : a novel

March 10, 2016
Pataki, Allison, author.
New York : Dial Press, 2016.
xiii, 438 pages : map ; 25 cm
"In imperial Vienna, where the court halls buzzed with waltzes and champagne, as well as temptation, rivals, and cutthroat intrigue, the intensely personal tale of Empress Sisi unraveled. Infamously beautiful, a mother of four, and wife of Emperor Franz Joseph - whom she unintentionally stole away from her sister - Sisi's reign was anything but simple. Against the backdrop of a rich, romantic, and volatile time period--marked by pivotal events such as the opening of the Suez Canal, Vienna's World Exhibition, and the lead up to WWI--Sisi, the beloved "Fairy Queen," was a woman well ahead of her time during a true Golden Age in European history"--Provided by publisher.

Mrs. Houdini : a novel

March 4, 2016
Kelly, Victoria, author.
New York, NY : Atria Books, a division of Simon & Schuster, Inc., 2016.
306 pages ; 24 cm
Before escape artist Harry Houdini died, he vowed he would find a way to speak to his beloved wife Bess from beyond the grave using a coded message known only to the two of them. When a widowed Bess begins seeing this code in seemingly impossible places, it becomes clear that Harry has an urgent message to convey. Unlocking the puzzle will set Bess on a course back through the pairs extraordinary romance, which swept the illusionist and his bride from the beaches of Coney Island, to the palaces of Budapest, to the back lots of Hollywood. When the mystery finally leads Bess to the doorstep of a mysterious young photographer, she realizes that her husbands magic may have been more than just illusion.

Behave

March 4, 2016
Romano-Lax, Andromeda, 1970-
New York, NY : Soho, [2016]
391 pages ; 22 cm
"In 1920, when she graduated from Vassar College with her degree in psychology, Rosalie Rayner took a coveted position at the Johns Hopkins research lab to assist the charismatic John B. Watson, the man who pioneered behaviorist psychology. Together, John Watson and Rosalie Rayner conducted experiments on hundreds of babies to prove behaviorist principles of nurture over nature. They also embarked on a scandalous affair that cost them both their jobs. The Watsons' bestselling parenting book, Psychological Care of Infant and Child, which emphasized emotional detachment, affected the upbringings of generations of American children but Rosalie, now a mother herself, had to confront its tenets personally. With Behave, Andromeda Romano-Lax offers a fictional biography of Rosalie Rayner Watson, a woman whose lab work is now widely repudiated but who in her time was at the cutting edge of parenting psychology. This novel is in turns moving and horrifying, a thought-provoking and page-turning read about the meaning of motherhood"-- Provided by publisher.

Oil and marble : a novel of Leonardo and Michelangelo

March 4, 2016
Storey, Stephanie, author.
New York : Arcade Publishing, [2016]
345 pages ; 24 cm
From 1501-1505, Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo Buonarroti both lived and worked in Florence. Leonardo was a charming, handsome fifty year-old at the peak of his career. Michelangelo was a temperamental sculptor in his mid-twenties, desperate to make a name for himself. Michelangelo is a virtual unknown when he returns to Florence and wins the commission to carve what will become one of the most famous sculptures of all time: David. Even though his impoverished family shuns him for being an artist, he is desperate to support them. Living at the foot of his misshapen block of marble, Michelangelo struggles until the stone finally begins to speak. Working against an impossible deadline, he begins his feverish carving. Meanwhile, Leonardo's life is falling apart: he loses the hoped-for David commission; he can't seem to finish any project; he is obsessed with his ungainly flying machine; he almost dies in war; his engineering designs disastrously fail; and he is haunted by a woman he has seen in the market; a merchant's wife, whom he is finally commissioned to paint. Her name is Lisa, and she becomes his muse. Leonardo despises Michelangelo for his youth and lack of sophistication. Michelangelo both loathes and worships Leonardo's genius. Oil and Marble is the story of their nearly forgotten rivalry. Storey brings early 16th-century Florence alive, and has entered with extraordinary empathy into the minds and souls of two Renaissance masters. The book is an art history thriller.

America's first daughter : a novel

March 2, 2016
Dray, Stephanie.
New York, NY : William Morrow, an imprint of HarperCollinsPublishers, [2016]
587, 16 pages ; 21 cm
"P.S. Insights, interviews & more..."--Cover.

Gone with the mind : a novel

March 2, 2016
Leyner, Mark.
New York : Little, Brown and Company, 2016.
250 pages ; 22 cm

The weeping woman : a novel

March 1, 2016
Valdés, Zoé, 1959-
New York : Arcade Publishing, 2016.
302 pages ; 24 cm
Originally published as La mujer que llora (Barcelona : Planeta, 2013).
"A Cuban exile living in Paris with her husband and young daughter-is preparing a novel on the life of Dora Maar, one of the most promising artists in the Surrealist movement until she met Pablo Picasso. The middle-aged Picasso was already the god of the art world's avant-garde. Dora became his lover, muse, and ultimately, his victim. She became The Weeping Woman captured in his famous portrait, the mistress he betrayed with other mistress-muses, and their affair ended with her commitment to an asylum at the hands of Picasso's friends. The writer's research centers on a mysterious trip to Venice that Dora took fifteen years later."--Provided by publisher.

Hanging Mary : a novel

February 25, 2016
Higginbotham, Susan.
Naperville, Illinois : Sourcebooks Landmark, [2016]
387 pages : maps ; 21 cm
"A widow who runs a small boardinghouse on H Street, Mary Surratt isn't half as committed to the cause [of the Civil War] as her son, Johnny. If he's not delivering messages or escorting veiled spies, he's [inviting] home men like John Wilkes Booth, the actor who is even more charming in person than he is on the stage. But when President Lincoln is killed, the question of what Mary knew becomes more important than anything else. Was she a cold-blooded accomplice? Just how far would she go to help her son?"--Amazon.com.

Seeing red

February 23, 2016
Meruane, Lina, 1970-
[Dallas, TX] : Deep Vellum, 2016.
157 p. ; 21 cm.
"Originally published in Spanish as Sangre en el ojo."--T.p. verso.
"Seeing Red describes a young Chilean writer recently relocated to New York for doctoral work who suffers a stroke which leaves her blind. It charts her journey through hospitals and an increased dependency on those closest to her to cope. Fiction and autobiography intertwine in an intense, visceral, and caustic novel about the relation between the body, science, and human relationships."--Publisher's website.

The system of Dante's Hell : a novel

February 19, 2016
Baraka, Amiri, 1934-2014, author.
Brooklyn : Akashic Books, [2016]
159 pages : illustrations ; 18 cm.
"Originally published in 1966 by Grove Press/Evergreen Black Cat"--Title page verso.
"A remarkable narrative of childhood and youth's spiraling out of Dante's Inferno."-- Provided by publisher.

A soldier surrenders : the conversion of Saint Camillus

February 17, 2016
Peek, Susan, author.
[Place of publication not identified] : Seven Swords Publications, [2015]
226 pages ; 22 cm
"God's forgotten friends: lives of little-known saints."--Page [4] of cover.
"At last . . . a saint for strugglers! Soldiering, gambling, brawling, drinking. As a young man, Saint Camillus excelled at them all. Add to that his fiery temper and innate knack for getting in trouble, and Camillus de Lellis seems the last person who could ever achieve holiness! But God had plans for the stubborn young soldier, whether Camillus liked it or not . . . "This novel for adult and young adult readers will introduce them to a great saint - a physical giant who had to contend with many personal struggles, much weakness, and repeated failures before he could become a moral giant. The story of Camillus de Lellis' conversion will leave no reader unmoved, and those that feel hopeless about themselves will find new hope, a hero, and a friend in Christ."--Page [4] of cover.

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