New Arrivals · Biographical Fiction

January 23, 2019
These titles were recently added to the collection of the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County.

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.

Split tooth

January 16, 2019
Tagaq, 1975- author.
[Toronto, Ontario] Canada : Viking, 2018.
193 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm
"Publisher's note: This book is a work of fiction." -- title page verso
"A girl grows up in Nunavut in the 1970s. She knows joy, and friendship, and parents' love. She knows boredom, and listlessness, and bullying. She knows the tedium of the everyday world, and the raw, amoral power of the ice and sky, the seductive energy of the animal world. She knows the ravages of alcohol, and violence at the hands of those she should be able to trust. She sees the spirits that surround her, and the immense power that dwarfs all of us. When she becomes pregnant, she must navigate all of this."--Inside dust jacket.

The only woman in the room

January 15, 2019
Benedict, Marie, author.
Naperville, Illinois : Sourcebooks Landmark, [2019]
254 pages ; 24 cm
Includes a reading group guide on (pages 252-254).
Hedy Kiesler is lucky. Her beauty leads to a starring role in a controversial film and marriage to a powerful Austrian arms dealer, allowing her to evade Nazi persecution despite her Jewish heritage. But Hedy is also intelligent. At lavish Vienna dinner parties, she overhears the Third Reich's plans. One night in 1937, desperate to escape her controlling husband and the rise of the Nazis, she disguises herself and flees her husband's castle. She lands in Hollywood, where she becomes Hedy Lamarr, screen star. But Hedy is keeping a secret even more shocking than her Jewish heritage: she is a scientist. She has an idea that might help the country and that might ease her guilt for escaping alone -- if anyone will listen to her. A powerful novel based on the incredible true story of the glamour icon and scientist whose groundbreaking invention revolutionized modern communication.

The widows

January 10, 2019
Montgomery, Jess, author.
New York : Minotaur Books, 2019.
327 pages : map ; 25 cm
When Lily Ross learns that her husband, Daniel Ross, the town's widely respected sheriff, is killed while transporting a prisoner, she is devastated and vows to avenge his death. Hours after his funeral, a stranger appears at her door. Marvena Whitcomb, a coal miner's widow, is unaware that Daniel has died, and begs to speak with him about her missing daughter. From miles away but worlds apart, Lily and Marvena's lives collide as they realize that Daniel was not the man that either of them believed him to be--and that his murder is far more complex than either of them could have imagined. Inspired by the true story of Ohio's first female sheriff, this is a powerful debut about two women's search for justice as they take on the corruption at the heart of their community.

The perilous adventures of the cowboy king : a novel of Teddy Roosevelt and his times

January 9, 2019
Charyn, Jerome, author.
New York : Liveright Publishing Corporation, a division of W. W. Norton & Company, [2019]
xv, 283 pages : illustrations ; 25 cm
"Jerome Charyn re-creates the voice of Theodore Roosevelt, the New York City police commissioner, Rough Rider, and soon- to-be twenty-sixth president through his derring-do adventures, effortlessly combining superhero dialogue with haunting pathos. Beginning with his sickly childhood and concluding with McKinley's assassination, the novel positions Roosevelt as a "perfect bull in a china shop," a fearless crime fighter and pioneering environmentalist who would grow up to be our greatest peacetime president. With an operatic cast, including 'Bamie,' his handicapped older sister; Eleanor, his gawky little niece; as well as the devoted Rough Riders, the novel memorably features the lovable mountain lion Josephine, who helped train Roosevelt for his 'crowded hour,' the charge up San Juan Hill."-- Provided by publisher.

Unquiet : a novel

January 8, 2019
Ullmann, Linn, 1966- author.
New York : W.W. Norton & Company, [2019]
392 pages ; 22 cm
Originally published in Norwegian as De Urolige.
"He is a renowned Swedish filmmaker and has a plan for everything. She is his daughter, the youngest of nine children. Every summer, since she was a little girl, she visits him at his beloved stony house surrounded by woods, poppies, and the Baltic sea. Now that she's grown up and he's in his late eighties, he envisions a book about old age. He worries that he's losing his language, his memory, his mind. Growing old is hard work, he says. They will write it together. She will ask the questions. He will answer them. When she finally comes to the island, bringing her tape recorder with her, old age has caught up with him in ways neither could have foreseen."--Inside dust jacket.

Tell them of battles, kings and elephants

December 17, 2018
Énard, Mathias, 1972- author.
New York : New Directions Publishing, 2018.
144 pages : illustrations ; 21 cm
"Originally published in French as Parle-leur de batailles, de rois et d'éléphants by Actes Sud in 2010"--Title page verso.
"A New Directions paperbook original."
"In 1506, Michelangelo -- young but already renowned sculptor -- is invited by the Sultan of Constantinople to design a bridge over the Golden Horn. The sultan has offered, alongside an enormous payment, the promise of immortality, since Leonardo da Vinci's design had been rejected: "You will surpass him in glory if you accept, for you will succeed where he has failed, and you will give the world a monument without equal." Michelangelo, after some hesitation, flees Rome and an irritated Pope Julius II -- whose commission he leaves unfinished -- and arrives in Constantinople for this truly epic project. Once there, he explores the beauty and wonder of the Ottoman Empire, sketching and describing his impressions along the way, and becomes immersed in cloak-and-dagger palace intrigues as he struggles to create what could be his greatest architectural masterwork. Tell Them of Battles, Kings, and Elephants -- constructed from real historical fragments -- is a story about why stories are told, why bridges are built, and how seemingly unmatched pieces, seen from the opposite sides of civilization, can mirror one another"-- Provided by publisher.

The book of dirt

December 14, 2018
Presser, Bram, 1976- author.
303 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm
"Jakub Rans flees his village for Prague, only to find himself trapped by Nazi occupation. Deported to the Theresienstadt concentration camp, he is forced to sort through Jewish books for a so-called Nazi Museum of the Extinct Race. Hidden among the rare texts is a tattered prayer book, hollow inside, containing a small pile of dirt."--Back cover.

Guerre et térébenthine

December 11, 2018
Hertmans, Stefan, author.
[Paris, France] : NRF/Gallimard, [2015]
401 pages : illustrations ; 21 cm
Originally published in Dutch in Belgium in 2013.
"Du monde entier"--Page 5.
"En parcourant les mémoires que son grand-père Urbain Martien lui a confiés, l'écrivain retrace la vie de celui-ci. Né à Gand en 1891, il a été contraint de travailler à la fonderie locale à 13 ans, et n'a pu s'adonner à la peinture que lorsqu'il a été mis à la retraite pour invalidité militaire. Il raconte, après sa mobilisation en 1914, sa participation à la Première Guerre mondiale."--Various websites.

Josephine Baker's last dance : a novel

December 10, 2018
Jones, Sherry, 1961- author.
New York : Gallery Books, 2018.
365 pages ; 21 cm
"Discover the fascinating and singular life story of Josephine Baker--actress, singer, dancer, Civil Rights activist, member of the French Resistance during WWII, and a woman dedicated to erasing prejudice and creating a more equitable world--in Josephine Baker's Last Dance. In this illuminating biographical novel, Sherry Jones spans Josephine's early years in servitude and poverty in America, to her rise to fame as a showgirl in her famous banana skirt, to her activism against discrimination, and her many loves and losses. From 1920s Paris to 1960s Washington, to her final, triumphant performance, one of the most extraordinary lives of the twentieth century comes to stunning life on the page. With intimate prose and comprehensive research, Sherry Jones brings this remarkable and compelling public figure into focus for the first time in a joyous celebration of a life lived in technicolor, a powerful woman who continues to inspire today"-- Provided by publisher.

Jerusalem's queen : a novel of Salome Alexandra

November 28, 2018
Hunt, Angela Elwell, 1957- author.
342 pages ; 22 cm.
Includes discussion questions.
"After her father and sister are killed, Salome and her mother move to Jerusalem. When a relative betroths Salome to a pagan prince half her age, she questions God's plan. When she finds herself crowned queen of Judea, she learns that a woman committed to God can change the world"-- Provided by publisher.

The Museum of Modern Love

November 28, 2018
Rose, Heather, 1964- author.
Chapel Hill, North Carolina : Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill, 2018.
286 pages ; 23 cm
"Originally published in Australia in 2016 by Allen & Unwin."
"Arky Levin has reached a creative dead end. Guilty and restless after an unexpected separation from his wife, almost by chance he stumbles upon an art exhibit that will change his life. Based on a real piece of performance art, the installation that the fictional Arky Levin discovers is inexplicably powerful. Visitors to the Museum of Modern Art sit across a table from artist Marina Abramović for as short or long a period of time as they choose. Although some go in skeptical, almost all leave moved. And the participants are not the only ones to find themselves changed by this unusual experience: Arky finds himself returning daily to watch others with Abramović. As the performance unfolds over the course of 75 days, so too does Arky. As he bonds with other people drawn to the exhibit, he slowly starts to understand what might be missing in his life and what he must do"-- Provided by publisher.

The general's cook : a novel

November 20, 2018
Ganeshram, Ramin, author.
323 pages ; 24 cm
Philadelphia 1793. Hercules, President George Washington's chef, is a fixture on the Philadelphia scene. He is famous for both his culinary prowess and for ruling his kitchen like a commanding general. He has his run of the city and earns twice the salary of an average American workingman. He wears beautiful clothes and attends the theater. But while valued by the Washingtons for his prowess in the kitchen and rewarded far over and above even white servants, Hercules is enslaved in a city where most black Americans are free. Even while he masterfully manages his kitchen and the lives of those in and around it, Hercules harbors secrets-- including the fact that he is learning to read and that he is involved in a dangerous affair with Thelma, a mixed-race woman, who, passing as white, works as a companion to the daughter of one of Philadelphia's most prestigious families. Eventually Hercules' carefully crafted intrigues fall apart and he finds himself trapped by his circumstance and the will of George Washington. Based on actual historical events and people, The General's Cook , will thrill fans of The Hamilton Affair, as they follow Hercules' precarious and terrifying bid for freedom.

The splendor before the dark : a novel of the Emperor Nero

November 15, 2018
George, Margaret, 1943- author.
New York : Berkley, 2018.
x, 571 pages : maps, genealogical table ; 24 cm
Sequel to: Confessions of young Nero.
With the beautiful and cunning Poppaea at his side, Nero Augustus commands the Roman empire, ushering in an unprecedented era of artistic and cultural splendor. Although he has yet to produce an heir, his power is unquestioned. But in the tenth year of his reign, a terrifying prophecy comes to pass and a fire engulfs Rome, reducing entire swaths of the city to rubble. Rumors of Nero's complicity in the blaze start to sow unrest among the populace--and the politicians... For better or worse, Nero knows that his fate is now tied to Rome's--and he vows to rebuild it as a city that will stun the world. But there are those who find his rampant quest for glory dangerous.

A light of her own

November 13, 2018
Callaghan, Carrie, 1980- author.
309 pages ; 21 cm
Holland, 1633. Judith Leyster is a painter, dodging the law and whispers of murder in hopes of becoming the first woman admitted to the prestigious Haarlem artist's guild. Maria is a Catholic in a country where the faith is banned, hoping to absolve her sins by recovering a lost saint's relic. Both women's destinies will be shaped by their ambitions, running counter to the city's most powerful men, whose own plans spell disaster. A vivid portrait of a remarkable artist, a story of grit against the backdrop of Rembrandts and repressive religious rule.


November 1, 2018
Carey, Edward, 1970- author, illustrator.
436 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm
In 1761 a tiny, odd-looking girl named Marie is born in a village in Switzerland. After the death of her parents, she is apprenticed to an eccentric wax sculptor and whisked off to the seamy streets of Paris, where they meet a domineering widow and her quiet, pale son. Together, they convert an abandoned monkey house into an exhibition hall for wax heads, and the spectacle becomes a sensation. As word of her artistic talent spreads, Marie is called to Versailles, where she tutors a princess and saves Marie Antoinette in childbirth. But outside the palace walls, Paris is roiling. The revolutionary mob is demanding heads-- and at the wax museum, heads are what they do. -- adapted from jacket.

Trinity : a novel

October 26, 2018
Hall, Louisa, 1982- author.
New York, NY : Ecco/HarperCollins Publishers, [2018]
324 pages ; 22 cm
"From the acclaimed author of Speak comes a kaleidoscopic novel about Robert Oppenheimer--father of the atomic bomb--as told by seven fictional characters J. Robert Oppenheimer was a brilliant scientist, a champion of liberal causes, and a complex and often contradictory character. He loyally protected his Communist friends, only to later betray them under questioning. He repeatedly lied about love affairs. And he defended the use of the atomic bomb he helped create, before ultimately lobbying against nuclear proliferation. Through narratives that cross time and space, a set of characters bears witness to the life of Oppenheimer, from a secret service agent who tailed him in San Francisco, to the young lover of a colleague in Los Alamos, to a woman fleeing McCarthyism who knew him on St. John. As these men and women fall into the orbit of a brilliant but mercurial mind at work, all consider his complicated legacy while also uncovering deep and often unsettling truths about their own lives. In this stunning, elliptical novel, Louisa Hall has crafted a breathtaking and explosive story about the ability of the human mind to believe what it wants, about public and private tragedy, and about power and guilt. Blending science with literature and fiction with biography, Trinity asks searing questions about what it means to truly know someone, and about the secrets we keep from the world and from ourselves"-- Provided by publisher.

A well-behaved woman : a novel of the Vanderbilts

October 23, 2018
Fowler, Therese, author.
New York : St. Martin's Press, [2018]
392 pages ; 25 cm
Alva Smith, her southern family destitute after the Civil War, married into one of America's great Gilded Age dynasties: the newly wealthy but socially shunned Vanderbilts. Ignored by New York's old-money circles and determined to win respect, she designed and built 9 mansions, hosted grand balls, and arranged for her daughter to marry a duke. But Alva also defied convention for women of her time, asserting power within her marriage and becoming a leader in the women's suffrage movement.

When the men were gone : a novel

October 16, 2018
Lewis, Marjorie Herrera, author.
New York, NY : William Morrow, an imprint of HarperCollinsPublishers, [2018]
212, 16 pages ; 24 cm
"P.S. Insights, Interviews & More ..."--Cover.
"In Marjorie Herrera Lewis's debut historical novel the inspiring true story of high school teacher Tylene Wilson--a woman who surprises everyone as she breaks with tradition to become the first high school football coach in Texas--comes to life. Football is the heartbeat of Brownwood, Texas. Every Friday night for as long as assistant principal Tylene Wilson can remember, the entire town has gathered in the stands, cheering their boys on. Each September brings with it the hope of a good season and a sense of unity and optimism. Now, the war has changed everything. Most of the Brownwood men over 18 and under 45 are off fighting, and in a small town the possibilities are limited. Could this mean a season without football? But no one counted on Tylene, who learned the game at her daddy's knee. She knows more about it than most men, so she does the unthinkable, convincing the school to let her take on the job of coach. Faced with extreme opposition--by the press, the community, rival coaches, and referees and even the players themselves--Tylene remains resolute. And when her boys rally around her, she leads the team--and the town--to a Friday night and a subsequent season they will never forget. Based on a true story, When the Men Were Gone is a powerful and vibrant novel of perseverance and personal courage."--Provided by publisher.

The Kennedy debutante

October 9, 2018
Maher, Kerri, author.
New York : Berkley, 2018.
viii, 374 pages ; 24 cm
London, 1938. Kathleen "Kick" Kennedy has taken England by storm. The effervescent It Girl of London society since her father was named the ambassador, Kick dances and drinks champagne at the hottest nightclubs and attends the horse races with nobility. Billy Hartington, the future Duke of Devonshire, sweeps Kick off her feet, but the obstacles to their love are many. Kick is American, Catholic, and of Irish descent-- all unacceptable to Billy's family. Returning to the States as WWII looms, Kick throws herself into making a difference. Becoming a journalist gives her a voice-- and a chance to step out of the shadows of her accomplished brothers, including the charismatic Jack. But where do her true loyalties lie-- with family or with love? -- adapted from publisher info


October 1, 2018
Coelho, Paulo, author.
284 pages : color map ; 22 cm
Translated from the Portuguese.
"This is a Borzoi book."
Drawing on the rich experience of his own life, best-selling author Paulo Coelho takes us back in time to relive the dreams of a generation that longed for peace and dared to challenge the established social order. In Hippie, he tells the story of Paulo, a young, skinny Brazilian man with a goatee and long, flowing hair, who wants to become a writer and sets off on a journey in search of a deeper meaning for his life: first on the famous "Death Train" to Bolivia, then on to Peru, later hitchhiking through Chile and Argentina. Paulo's travels take him farther to the famous Dam Square in Amsterdam filled with young people wearing vibrant clothes and burning incense, meditating and playing music, while discussing sexual liberation, the expansion of consciousness, and the search for an inner truth. There he meets Karla, a Dutch woman in her twenties who has been waiting to find the ideal companion to accompany her on the fabled hippie trail to Nepal. She convinces Paulo to join her on a trip aboard the Magic Bus that travels across Europe and Central Asia to Kathmandu. They embark on the journey in the company of fascinating fellow travelers, each of whom has a story to tell, and each of whom will undergo a personal transformation, changing their priorities and values along the way. As they travel together, Paulo and Karla explore their own relationship: a life-defining love story that awakens them on every level and leads to choices and decisions that will set the course for their lives thereafter.

My struggle. Book six

September 26, 2018
Knausgård, Karl Ove, 1968- author.
1156 pages ; 20 cm
First published as Min kamp Sjette bok by Forlaget Oktober.
"In book six, Knausgaard grapples directly with the consequences of his transgressive blurring of public and private. His vulnerabilities and ambitions are exposed. Book Six depicts life in all its complexities, from the painful fallout surrounding the publication of the earlier volumes, to the emotional balm that his close friends provide, to the vivid texture of his days as he faces a marital crisis with his children around him. The book is an exploration of literature itself and of the profound -and at times startling- connection between writer and reader. Kausgaard also includes a lengthy contemplation of Hitler and his Mein Kampf, which not only directly confronts the implications of his own work's title but feels particularly relevant (if not prescient) amid rising public support for authoritarianism globally."--Inside dust jacket.

The gods help those : the seventh case from the notebooks of Pliny the Younger

September 26, 2018
Bell, Albert A., Jr., 1945- author.
McKinleyville, California : John Daniel and Company, 2018.
236 pages ; 22 cm
Pliny the Younger hoped to improve relations with his unpleasant wife and her mother by investing in a warehouse on the Tiber with them. Now the building has collapsed due to heavy rains. Pliny discovers several dead people inside, including a man with a narrow red "equestrian" stripe on his tunic, indicating aristocracy. He wasn't killed by the cave-in, however, but by a knife wound in his back. When Pliny gives the body a forensic examination, he finds two more puzzling things: a circumcision (unusual in Rome), and thirty pieces of silver in his sewn-closed mouth. To further complicate matters, Pliny's servant and lover, Aurora, finds a live baby in the wreckage. What connection does the funeral of a consul have with these events? Queen Berenice of Judaea, the mistress of the late emperor Titus, soon enters the story with her sons--one of whom is an assassin, a member of the Sicarii. He's determined to avenge the defeat of his people and the destruction of their temple--no matter who might get in the way....


September 25, 2018
D'Eramo, Luce, 1925-2001, author.
New York : Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2018.
xv, 347 pages ; 24 cm.
"First published in Italy in 1979, Luce D'Eramo's Deviation is a seminal work in Holocaust literature. It is a book that not only confronts evil head-on but expands that confrontation into a complex and intricately structured work of fiction, which has claims to standing among the greatest Italian novels of the twentieth century. Lucia is a young Italian girl from a bourgeois fascist family. In the early 1940s, when she first hears about the atrocities being perpetrated in the Nazi concentration camps, she is doubtful and confused, unable to reconcile such stories with the ideology in which she's been raised. Wanting to disprove these "slanders" on Hitler's Reich, she decides to see for herself, running away from home and heading for Germany, where she intends to volunteer as camp labor. The journey is a harrowing, surreal descent into hell, which finds Lucia confronting the stark and brutal realities of life under Nazi rule, a life in which continual violence and fear are simply the norm. Soon it becomes clear that she must get away, but how can she possibly go back to her old life knowing what she now knows? Besides, getting out may not be as simple as getting in. Finally available in English translation, Deviation is at once a personal testament, a work of the imagination, an investigation into the limits of memory, a warning to future generations, and a visceral scream at the horrors of the world." -- (Source of summary not specified)

feed —Subscribe to the Biographical Fiction feed .


For Teens

For Kids


Electronic Resources



Large Print