New Arrivals · Biographical Fiction

July 13, 2019
These titles were recently added to the collection of the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County.

Feast day of the cannibals

July 12, 2019
Lock, Norman, 1950- author.
New York : Bellevue Literary Press, 2019.
237 pages ; 19 cm
"In the sixth stand-alone book in The American Novels series, Shelby Ross, a merchant ruined by the depression of 1873-79, is hired as a New York City Custom House appraiser under inspector Herman Melville, the embittered, forgotten author of Moby-Dick. On the docks, Ross befriends a genial young man and makes an enemy of a despicable one, who attempts to destroy them by insinuating that Ross and the young man share an unnatural affection. Ross narrates his story to his childhood friend Washington Roebling, chief engineer of the soon-to-be-completed Brooklyn Bridge. As he is harried toward a fate reminiscent of Ahab's, he encounters Ulysses S. Grant, dying in a brownstone on the Upper East Side; Samuel Clemens, who will publish Grant's Memoirs; and Thomas Edison, at the dawn of the electrification of the city. Feast Day of the Cannibals charts the harrowing journey of a tormented heart during America's transformative age."--Publisher description.

Delayed rays of a star : a novel

July 11, 2019
Lee, Amanda Koe, 1987- author.
New York : Nan A. Talese, Doubleday, [2019]
383 pages : illustrations ; 25 cm
"At a chance encounter at a Berlin soirée in 1928, the photographer Alfred Eisenstaedt captures three very different women together in one frame: up-and-coming German actress Marlene Dietrich, who would wend her way into Hollywood as one of its lasting icons; Anna May Wong, the world's first Chinese American star, playing for bit parts while dreaming of breaking away from her father's modest laundry; and Leni Riefenstahl, whose work as a director would first make her famous--then, infamous. From this curious point of intersection, Delayed Rays of a Star lets loose the trajectories of these women's lives. From Weimar Berlin to LA's Chinatown, from a seaside resort in East Germany to a luxury apartment on the Champs-Élysée, the different settings they inhabit are as richly textured as the roles they play: siren, muse, predator, or lover, each one a carefully calibrated performance. And in the orbit of each star live secondary players--a Chinese immigrant housemaid, a German soldier on leave from North Africa, a pompous Hollywood director--whose voices and viewpoints reveal the legacy each woman left in her own time, as well as in ours. Amanda Lee Koe's playful, wry prose guides the reader dexterously around murky questions of ego, persona, complicity, desire, and difference. Intimate and raw, Delayed Rays of a Star is a visceral depiction of womanhood--its particular hungers, its calculations, and its eventual betrayals--and announces a bold new literary voice"-- Provided by publisher.

Let's hope for the best

July 2, 2019
Setterwall, Carolina, 1978- author.
New York : Little, Brown and Company, 2019.
328 pages ; 22 cm

Hadassah, Queen Esther of Persia

July 1, 2019
Taylor, Diana Wallis, 1938- author.
©2019
303 pages ; 21 cm
"Work of historical fiction based on biblical book of Esther, the story of an orphaned Jewish girl who marries the king of Persia and saves her people" -- Provided by publisher.

Bakhita : a novel of the Saint of Sudan

June 28, 2019
Olmi, Véronique, author.
©2019
362 pages ; 24 cm
"Inspired by the true story of a former slave who became a saint, this poignant novel explores how a human being can survive the obliteration of her identity, and how kindness and generosity can be born out of profound trauma. She recalls little of her childhood, not even her own name. She was barely seven years old when she was snatched by slave raiders from her village in the Darfur region of southern Sudan. In a cruel twist, they gave her the name that she will carry for the rest of her life: Bakhita, "the Lucky One" in Arabic. Sold and resold along the slave trade routes, Bakhita endures years of unspeakable abuse and terror. At age thirteen, at last, her life takes a turn when the Italian consul in Khartoum purchases her. A few years later, as chaos engulfs the capital, the consul returns to Italy, taking Bakhita with him. In this new land, another long and arduous journey begins--one that leads her onto a spiritual path for which she is still revered today. With rich, evocative language, Véronique Olmi immerses the reader in Bakhita's world--her unfathomable resilience, her stubborn desire to live, and her ability to turn toward the pain of others in spite of the terrible sufferings that she too must endure"-- Provided by publisher.

The last collection : a novel of Elsa Schiaparelli and Coco Chanel

June 25, 2019
Mackin, Jeanne, author.
New York, NY : Berkley, 2019.
340 pages ; 24 cm
"Paris, 1938. Coco Chanel and Elsa Schiaparelli ("Schiap") are fighting for recognition as the most successful and influential fashion designer in France, and their rivalry is already legendary. They oppose each other at every turn, in both their politics and their designs: Chanel's are classic, elegant, and practical; Schiaparelli's bold, experimental, and surreal. Lily Cooper, a recently widowed American teacher, travels to Paris to visit her brother, Charlie, and try to move on from the loss of her husband. On her first day there, Charlie insists on buying her a couture dress for her birthday--a Chanel. Lily reluctantly agrees but wants a Schiaparelli, not a Chanel. Charlie's Jewish girlfriend, Ania, one of the most beautiful and prominent women in Paris, begins wearing Schiap's designs as well, and soon much of Paris is following in her footsteps. Adding insult to injury, Chanel has her eye on Baron von Dincklage, the head of Nazi propaganda in Paris, with whom Ania is also involved. Schiap takes an interest in Lily and offers the budding artist a job at her shop. Suddenly, Lily finds herself wrapped up with Schiap and her personal war with Chanel. And as their fierce competition reaches new and dangerous heights, another war is looming on their doorstep and getting closer every day..."-- Provided by publisher.

The language of fire : Joan of Arc reimagined

June 13, 2019
Hemphill, Stephanie, author.
New York : Balzer + Bray, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers, 2019.
492 pages ; 22 cm
"The Language of Fire is a lyrical, dark, and moving look at the life of Joan of Arc, who as a teen girl in the fifteenth century commanded an army and helped crown a king of France."--Jacket.

Templar silks

June 13, 2019
Chadwick, Elizabeth, 1957- author.
©2019
421 pages : maps ; 21cm

Paris, 7 a.m.

June 12, 2019
Wieland, Liza, author.
New York : Simon & Schuster, 2019.
332 pages ; 24 cm
Reimagines the experiences of pre-fame poet Elizabeth Bishop during three life-changing weeks spent in Paris on the eve of World War II.

Gilbert Frankau's self-portrait : a novel of his own life

June 10, 2019
Frankau, Gilbert, 1884-1952.
New York : E.P. Dutton & Co., 1940.
xi, 415 pages ; 21 cm

The dinner guest

May 29, 2019
Ybarra, Gabriela, 1983- author.
Oakland, California : Transit Books, [2019]
144 pages : illustrations ; 21 cm
First published in Spain by Caballo de Troya.
"The Dinner Guest is a novel, with the feel of documentary non-fiction. It connects two life-changing events -- the very public death of Ybarra's grandfather, and the more private pain as her mother dies from cancer and Gabriela cares for her. Devastating yet luminous, the book is an investigation, marking the arrival of a talented new voice in international fiction."--Jacket.

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.

feed —Subscribe to the Biographical Fiction feed .

Fiction

For Teens

For Kids

Media

Electronic Resources

Foreign

Nonfiction

Large Print