New Arrivals · Biographical Fiction

May 24, 2019
These titles were recently added to the collection of the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County.

The Tubman command : a novel

May 23, 2019
Cobbs Hoffman, Elizabeth, author.
©2019
326 pages ; 24 cm
It's May 1863. Out-generaled and out-gunned, a demoralized Union Army has pulled back with massive losses at the Battle of Chancellorsville. Fort Sumter, hated symbol of the Rebellion, taunts the American navy with its artillery and underwater mines. In Beaufort, South Carolina, one very special woman, code named Moses, is hatching a spectacular plan. Hunted by Confederates, revered by slaves, Harriet Tubman plots an expedition behind enemy lines to liberate hundreds of bondsmen and recruit them as soldiers. A bounty on her head, she has given up husband and home for the noblest cause: a nation of, by, and for the people. The Tubman Command tells the story of Tubman at the height of her powers, when she devises the largest plantation raid of the Civil War. General David Hunter places her in charge of a team of black scouts even though skeptical of what one woman can accomplish. For her gamble to succeed, "Moses" must outwit alligators, overseers, slave catchers, sharpshooters, and even hostile Union soldiers to lead gunships up the Combahee River. Men stand in her way at every turn--though one reminds her that love shouldn't have to be the price of freedom.

Mistress of the Ritz : a novel

May 17, 2019
Benjamin, Melanie, 1962- author.
New York : Delacorte Press, [2019]
372 pages ; 22 cm
A captivating novel based on the story of the extraordinary real-life American woman who secretly worked for the French Resistance during World War II--while playing hostess to the invading Germans at the iconic Hotel Ritz in Paris--from the New York Times bestselling author of The Aviator's Wife and The Swans of Fifth Avenue. In March 1940, the Nazis sweep Paris and immediately take up residence in one of the city's most iconic sites: The Hotel Ritz. There, under a roof legendary for its unprecedented luxury and for its fabled residents--including Coco Chanel, the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, Cole Porter, Hemingway, Balanchine, Doris Duke, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and now Hermann Göring--the Nazis rule over a paralyzed city. But two residents of the Ritz refuse to be defeated: its director, Claude Auzello, and his beautiful American actress wife, Blanche. They not only oversee the smooth workings of the hotel, but both Blanche and Claude throw themselves fearlessly into the dangerous and clandestine workings of the French Resistance. This is a true-to-life novel of a courageous woman and her husband who put their marriage--and ultimately their lives--in jeopardy to fight for freedom. Intimate, fearless, and moving, it spins a brilliantly and unforgettably vivid human portrait at a time of unimaginable crisis and sacrifice.

Anna of Kleve, the princess in the portrait : a novel

May 13, 2019
Weir, Alison, 1951- author.
©2019
498 pages : genealogical tables ; 25 cm.
"Published in the United Kingdom as Anna of Kleve: Queen of Secrets by Headline Review, an imprint of the Headline Publishing Group, London."
"Newly widowed and the father of an infant son, Henry VIII realizes he must marry again to ensure the royal succession. Forty-six, overweight, and suffering from gout, Henry is soundly rejected by some of Europe's most eligible princesses. Anna of Kleve, from a small German duchy, is twenty-four, and has a secret she is desperate to keep hidden. Henry commissions her portrait from his court painter, who depicts her from the most flattering perspective. Entranced by the lovely image, Henry is bitterly surprised when Anna arrives in England and he sees her in the flesh. Some think her attractive, but Henry knows he can never love her. What follows is the fascinating story of an awkward royal union that somehow had to be terminated. Even as Henry begins to warm to his new wife and share her bed, his attention is captivated by one of her maids-of-honor. Will he accuse Anna of adultery as he did Queen Anne Boleyn, and send her to the scaffold? Or will he divorce her and send her home in disgrace?"--Provided by publisher.

Life of David Hockney : a novel

May 10, 2019
Cusset, Catherine, 1963- author.
New York : Other Press, 2019.
181 pages ; 21 cm
"Originally published in 2018 as Vie de David Hockney: Roman by Éditions Gallimard, Paris."
"With clear, vivid prose, this meticulously researched novel draws an intimate, moving portrait of the most famous living English painter. Born in 1937 in a small town in the north of England, David Hockney had to fight to become an artist. After leaving his home in Bradford for the Royal College of Art in London, his career flourished, but he continued to struggle with a sense of not belonging, because of his homosexuality, which had yet to be decriminalized, and his inclination for a figurative style of art not sufficiently "contemporary" to be valued. Trips to New York and California--where he would live for many years and paint his iconic swimming pools--introduced him to new scenes and new loves, beginning a journey that would take him through the fraught years of the AIDS epidemic. A compelling hybrid of novel and biography, Life of David Hockney offers an accessible overview of the painter who shook the world of art with a vitality and freedom that neither heartbreak nor illness nor loss could corrode"-- Provided by publisher.

The flight portfolio

May 3, 2019
Orringer, Julie, author.
New York : Alfred A. Knopf, 2019.
562 pages ; 25 cm.
"In 1940, Varian Fry--a Harvard educated American journalist--traveled to Marseille carrying three thousand dollars and a list of imperiled artists and writers he hoped to rescue within a few weeks. Instead, he ended up staying in France for thirteen months, working under the veil of a legitimate relief organization to procure false documents, amass emergency funds, and set up an underground railroad that led over the Pyrenees, into Spain, and finally to Lisbon, where the refugees embarked for safer ports. Among his many clients were Hannah Arendt, Franz Werfel, Andre Breton, Max Ernst, Marcel Duchamp, and Marc Chagall."--Provided by publisher.

The Welsh fasting girl

April 29, 2019
O'Connor, Varley, author.
New York : Bellevue Literary Press, 2019.
351 pages ; 19 cm
"Twelve-year-old Sarah Jacob was the most famous of the Victorian fasting girls, who claimed to miraculously survive without food, serving as flashpoints between struggling religious, scientific, and political factions. In this novel based on Sarah's life and premature death from what may be the first documented case of anorexia, an American journalist, recovering from her husband's death in the Civil War, leaves her home and children behind to travel to Wales, where she investigates Sarah's bizarre case by becoming the young girl's friend and confidante. Unable to prevent the girl's tragic decline while doctors, nurses, and a local priest keep watch, she documents the curious family dynamic, the trial that convicted Sarah's parents, and an era's hysterical need to both believe and destroy Sarah's seemingly miraculous power. Intense, dark, and utterly compelling, The Welsh Fasting Girl delves into the complexities of a true story to understand how a culture's anxieties led to the murder of a child" -- Provided by publisher.

The red daughter : a novel

April 23, 2019
Schwartz, John Burnham, author.
New York : Random House, 2019.
268 pages ; 25 cm
"Running from her father's brutal legacy, Joseph Stalin's daughter defects to the United States against the turbulence of the 1960s. In one of the most momentous events of the Cold War, Svetlana Allilyueva, the forty-one-year-old daughter of the notorious tyrannical leader of the USSR, abruptly abandoned her life in Moscow in 1967, arriving in New York to throngs of reporters and a nation hungry to hear her story. By her side is Peter Horvath, a lawyer in his mid-thirties who is sent by the CIA to escort Svetlana to America. Rootless, lonely, and bewildered by her adopted country's radically different society, Svetlana takes refuge in Arizona with the widow of architect Frank Lloyd Wright, makes a hasty marriage, and has a child. Floundering, she reaches out to Peter, her first connection in America and, it seems, the only person she can genuinely count on. When their relationship becomes more than just professional, it unfolds under the eyes of her CIA minders, and Svetlana and Peter's private lives are no longer their own."--Provided by publisher.

Courting Mr. Lincoln : a novel

April 18, 2019
Bayard, Louis, author.
©2019
379 pages ; 24 cm
"When sparky and independent Mary Todd arrives in Springfield, Illinois, in the 1840s to live with her sister, who is determined to find Mary a husband, she is astonished to find herself drawn to an awkward, melancholic lawyer with a gift for oratory. The two share ambition, an obsession with politics--and a need to be suitably married off. Always at Lincoln's side, however, is the charming Joshua Speed, a shopkeeper who became his mentor in society, loyal friend, roommate--and possible lover. Told in alternating chapters from the points of view of Todd and Speed, this witty, psychologically astute, and brilliantly plotted novel follows the threesome during Todd and Lincoln's tumultuous courtship, with all the suspense and delight of the best Jane Austen novels. Historians have long speculated that Lincoln and Speed had a romantic relationship, and here Bayard explores that forbidden possibility with deep empathy. Rich with both period detail and contemporary insight, Courting Mr. Lincoln offers smart storytelling at the highest level."--adapted from book flap.

The raven's tale

April 10, 2019
Winters, Cat, author.
New York, NY : Amulet Books, 2019.
361 pages : illustration; 22 cm
Seventeen-year-old Edgar Poe's plans to escape his foster family, begin classes at the prestigious new university, and marry his beloved Elmira Royster go awry when a macabre Muse appears with a request.

The Damascus Road : a novel of Saint Paul

April 9, 2019
Parini, Jay, author.
New York : Doubleday, 2019.
347 pages : map ; 25 cm
"A historical novel of the Apostle Paul, whose tireless and epic preaching of the message of Jesus brought Christianity into existence and changed human history."--Provided by publisher.

Optic nerve

April 2, 2019
Gainza, María, 1975- author.
©2019.
193 pages ; 22 cm
Originally published in 2014 in Spanish as El nervio òptico.
"Whenever I'm in survival mode I find myself magnetised by museums and galleries, like people running for air raid shelters in wartime." The narrator of Optic Nerve is an Argentinian woman whose obsession is art. The story of her life is the story of the paintings, and painters, who matter to her. Her intimate, digressive voice guides us through a gallery of moments that have touched her. In these pages, El Greco visits the Sistine Chapel and is appalled by Michelangelo's bodies. The mystery of Rothko's refusal to finish murals for the Seagram Building in New York is blended with the story of a hospital in which a prostitute walks the halls while the narrator's husband receives chemotherapy. Episodes in art history interact with the narrator's life in Buenos Aires - her family and work; her loves and losses; her infatuations and disappointments. The effect is of a character refracted by environment, composed by the canvases she studies.

The sisters of Versailles : a novel

April 1, 2019
Christie, Sally, 1971- author.
New York : Atria Paperback, 2015.
420 pages ; 21 cm.
Court intriguers are beginning to sense that young King Louis XV, after seven years of marriage, is tiring of his Polish wife. The race is on to find a mistress for the royal bed. The King's scheming ministers push Louise, the eldest of the aristocratic Nesle sisters, into the arms of the King. Over the following decade, of the five Nesle sisters-- Louise, Pauline, Diane, Hortense, and Marie-Anne-- four will become mistresses to King Louis XV. All will conspire, betray, suffer, and triumph in a desperate fight for both love and power.

The Poison Bed

March 27, 2019
Fremantle, Elizabeth, author.
©2019
405 pages ; 24 cm
"A spellbinding thriller set in the Jacobean Court of 1615 surrounding a famed couple imprisoned on suspicion of murder--but was it Lord Robert or Lady Frances who committed the crime?" --Provided by publisher.

Mujhe kucha kahanā hai... : eka aupanyāsika ātmakathā

March 26, 2019
Sāhū, Rāmanivāsa, 1954- author.
Dillī : Ananya Prakāśana, 2017.
192 pages ; 22 cm
"Lekhaka ne apanī ātmakathā ko pām̐ca khaṇḍoṃ meṃ lāne kī yojanā banāī hai"--Page 8.
Autobiographical novel written by a Hindi author.

American princess : a novel of first daughter Alice Roosevelt

March 7, 2019
Thornton, Stephanie, 1980- author.
New York : Berkley, March 2019.
432 pages ; 20 cm
"Alice may be the president's daughter, but she's nobody's darling. As bold as her signature color Alice Blue, the gum-chewing, cigarette-smoking, poker-playing First Daughter discovers that the only way for a woman to stand out in Washington is to make waves--oceans of them. With the canny sophistication of the savviest politician on the Hill, Alice uses her celebrity to her advantage, testing the limits of her power and the seductive thrill of political entanglements. But Washington, DC is rife with heartaches and betrayals, and when Alice falls hard for a smooth-talking congressman it will take everything this rebel has to emerge triumphant and claim her place as an American icon. As Alice soldiers through the devastation of two world wars and brazens out a cutting feud with her famous Roosevelt cousins, it's no wonder everyone in the capital refers to her as the Other Washington Monument--and Alice intends to outlast them all."--Back cover.

The horseman's song

March 4, 2019
Pastor, Ben, 1950- author.
©2004
397 pages ; 20 cm.
"Spain, 1937. As the civil war rages, Bora investigates the murder of the poet Garcia Lorca." --Cover.
"A new case for Wehrmacht Officer Martin van Bora" --Cover.
Spain, July 1937. The tragic prelude to World War II is played out in the civil war between Spanish nationalists and republicans. Among Franco's volunteers is Martin Bora, the twenty-something German officer and detective. Presently assigned to the Spanish Foreign Legion, Bora lives the tragedy around him as an epic, between idealism and youthful recklessness. Doubts about his mission in Spain arise when Bora happens on the body of Federico Garcia Lorca, a brilliant poet, progressive and homosexual. Who murdered him? Why? The official version does not convince Bora, who, intoxicated by the mystery, begins a perilous investigation. His inquiry paradoxically proceeds alongside that of Walton, his opposite number with the International Brigades. Soon the German and the New Englander join forces, and their cooperation will not only culminate in a thrilling chase after a murderer, but also in an existential face-to-face between two adversaries forever changed by their encounter. Historical accounts tell us that Lorca was arrested and executed by Franco's troops under circumstances that remain largely unknown. To this day his body has not been found.

American duchess : a novel of Consuelo Vanderbilt

February 26, 2019
Harper, Karen (Karen S.), author.
New York, NY : William Morrow, 2019.
350, 7 pages : illustration ; 24 cm
"P.S. insights, interviews & more ..."--Cover.
Reimagines the life of American heiress Consuelo Vanderbilt as the reluctant and bullied bride of the Duke of Marlborough before she finds the inner strength to fight for women's equality.

Dear George, Dear Mary

February 18, 2019
Calvi, Mary, 1969- author.
New York : St. Martin's Press, 2019.
322 pages ; 24 cm.
Inspired by hundreds of letters, witness accounts, and journal entries, Dear George, Dear Mary explores George's relationship with his first love, New York heiress Mary Philipse, the richest belle in Colonial America.

Finding Dorothy : a novel

February 12, 2019
Letts, Elizabeth, author.
New York : Ballantine Books, 2019.
351 pages ; 25 cm
"This richly imagined novel tells the story behind The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, the book that inspired the iconic film, through the eyes of author L. Frank Baum's wife, Maud. Hollywood, 1938: As soon as she learns that M-G-M is adapting her late husband's masterpiece for the screen, seventy-seven-year-old Maud Gage Baum sets about trying to finagle her way onto the set. Nineteen years after Frank's passing, Maud is the only person who can help the producers stay true to the spirit of the book--because she's the only one left who knows its secrets. But the moment she hears Judy Garland rehearsing the first notes of "Over the Rainbow," Maud recognizes the yearning that defined her own life story: from her youth as a suffragette's daughter to her coming of age as one of the first women in the Ivy League, from her blossoming romance with Frank to the hardscrabble prairie years that inspired The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. Judy reminds Maud of a young girl she cared for and tried to help in South Dakota, a dreamer who never got her happy ending. Now, with the young actress under pressure from the studio as well as her ambitious stage mother, Maud resolves to protect her--the way she tried so hard to protect the real Dorothy"--Provided by publisher.

Leading men

February 12, 2019
Castellani, Christopher, 1972- author.
©2019
358 pages ; 24 cm
"An expansive yet intimate story of desire, artistic ambition, and fidelity, set in the glamorous literary and film circles of 1950s Italy in July of 1953, at a glittering party thrown by Truman Capote in Portofino, Italy, Tennessee Williams and his longtime lover Frank Merlo meet Anja Blomgren, a mysteriously taciturn young Swedish beauty and aspiring actress. Their encounter will go on to alter all of their lives. Ten years later, Frank revisits the tempestuous events of that fateful summer from his deathbed in Manhattan, where he waits anxiously for Tennessee to visit him one final time. Anja, now legendary film icon Anja Bloom, lives as a recluse in the present-day U.S., until a young man connected to the events of 1953 lures her reluctantly back into the spotlight after he discovers she possesses the only surviving copy of Williams's final play. What keeps two people together and what breaks them apart? Can we save someone else if we can't save ourselves? Like The Master and The Hours, Leading Men seamlessly weaves fact and fiction to navigate the tensions between public figures and their private lives. In an ultimately heartbreaking story about the burdens of fame and the complex negotiations of life in the shadows of greatness, Castellani creates an unforgettable leading lady in Anja Bloom and reveals the hidden machinery of one of the great literary love stories of the twentieth-century"-- Provided by publisher.

Where reasons end : a novel

February 5, 2019
Li, Yiyun, 1972- author.
New York : Random House, [2019]
170 pages ; 20 cm
"'I had but one delusion, which I held onto with all my willpower: we once gave Nikolai a life of flesh and blood; and I'm doing it over again, this time by words.' In a world created outside of time, Li and the son who died talk about their lives. Deeply intimate and moving, this story cycle of grief captures the love and humor in a relationship which goes on now in a mother's heart, between a mother and child, even as it captures the pain of Li's sadness and loss. Written in the months following her son's death, this powerful book takes readers intimately and unforgettably into Li's grief, even as she transforms the pain into imaginary conversations of great beauty, humor, sadness and love"-- Provided by publisher.

That Churchill woman : a novel

January 28, 2019
Barron, Stephanie, author.
©2019
387 pages ; 24 cm
"The Paris Wife meets PBS's Victoria in this enthralling novel of the life and loves of one of history's most remarkable women: Winston Churchill's scandalous American mother, Jennie Jerome. Wealthy, privileged, and fiercely independent New Yorker Jennie Jerome took Victorian England by storm when she landed on its shores. As Lady Randolph Churchill, she gave birth to a man who defined the twentieth century: her son Winston. But Jennie--reared in the luxury of Gilded Age Newport and the Paris of the Second Empire--lived an outrageously modern life all her own, filled with controversy, passion, tragedy, and triumph. When the nineteen-year-old beauty agrees to marry the son of a duke she has known only three days, she's instantly swept up in a whirlwind of British politics and the breathless social climbing of the Marlborough House Set, the reckless men who surround Bertie, Prince of Wales. Raised to think for herself and careless of English society rules, the new Lady Randolph Churchill quickly becomes a London sensation: adored by some, despised by others. Artistically gifted and politically shrewd, she shapes her husband's rise in Parliament and her young son's difficult passage through boyhood. But as the family's influence soars, scandals explode and tragedy befalls the Churchills. Jennie is inescapably drawn to the brilliant and seductive Count Charles Kinsky--diplomat, skilled horse-racer, deeply passionate lover. Their impossible affair only intensifies as Randolph Churchill's sanity frays, and Jennie--a woman whose every move on the public stage is judged--must walk a tightrope between duty and desire. Forced to decide where her heart truly belongs, Jennie risks everything--even her son--and disrupts lives, including her own, on both sides of the Atlantic. Breathing new life into Jennie's legacy and the gilded world over which she reigned, That Churchill Woman paints a portrait of the difficult--and sometimes impossible--balance between love, freedom, and obligation, while capturing the spirit of an unforgettable woman, one who altered the course of history"-- Provided by publisher.

The age of light : a novel

January 28, 2019
Scharer, Whitney, author.
New York : Little, Brown and Company, 2019.
376 pages ; 25 cm
Vogue model-turned-renowned photographer Lee Miller relocates to Paris in 1929 where she becomes the muse and colleague of the mercurial surrealist, Man Ray.

The falcon of Sparta

January 22, 2019
Iggulden, Conn, author.
New York : Pegasus Books, 2019.
432 pages : illustration ; 24 cm
In an ancient Persian empire torn by civil war, the young soldier Xenophon leads his decimated Spartan army in a confrontation against the legendary warriors of Artaxerxes II.

Learning to see : a novel of Dorothea Lange, the woman who revealed the real America

January 21, 2019
Hooper, Elise, author.
New York, NY : William Morrow, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers, [2019]
362, 14 pages : illustrations ; 21 cm
"P.S. insights, interviews & more ..."--Cover.

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