New Arrivals · Biographical Fiction

May 19, 2018
These titles were recently added to the collection of the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County.

My mother's son : a novel

May 18, 2018
Hirshberg, David, author.
Bedford, New York : Fig Tree Books, 2018.
ix, 357 pages ; 24 cm
"Hirshberg's debut novel packs both emotional punch and a vivid portrait of Jewish American life in post-WWII Boston...It is a story told by a radio raconteur revisiting his past in post-World War II Boston, the playground and battleground for two brothers whose lives are transformed by discoveries they never could have imagined. From the opening line of the book, "When you're a kid, they don't always tell you the truth," the stage is set for this riveting coming-of-age story that plays out against the backdrop of the Korean War, the aftermath of the Holocaust, the polio epidemic, the relocation of a baseball team, and the shenanigans of politicians and businessmen. Hirshberg deftly weaves together events, characters, and clues and creates a rich tapestry of betrayal, persecution, death, loyalty, and unconditional love that resonates with today's America.

So lucky

May 18, 2018
Griffith, Nicola, author.
New York : MCD/FSG Originals, [2018]
180 pages ; 19 cm
Mara Tagarelli is, professionally, the head of a multimillion-dollar AIDS foundation; personally, she is a committed martial artist. But her life has turned inside out like a sock. She can't rely on family, her body is letting her down, and friends and colleagues are turning away--they treat her like a victim. She needs to break that narrative: build her own community, learn new strengths, and fight. But what do you do when you find out that the story you've been told, the story you'vetold yourself, is not true? How can you fight if you can't trust your body? Who can you rely on if those around you don't have your best interests at heart, and the systems designed to help do more harm than good? Mara makes a decision and acts, but her actions unleash monsters aimed squarely at the heart of her new community. This is fiction from the front lines, incandescent and urgent, a narrative juggernaut that rips through sentiment to expose the savagery of America's treatment of the disabled and chronically ill. But So Lucky also blazes with hope and a ferocious love of self, of the life that becomes possible when we stop believing lies.

Love and ruin : a novel

May 3, 2018
McLain, Paula, author.
New York : Ballantine Books, [2018]
388 pages ; 25 cm
"In 1937, twenty-eight-year-old Martha Gellhorn travels alone to Madrid to report on the atrocities of the Spanish Civil War and becomes drawn to the stories of ordinary people caught in the devastating conflict. It's the adventure she's been looking for and her chance to prove herself a worthy journalist in a field dominated by men. But she also finds herself unexpectedly--and uncontrollably--falling in love with Hemingway, a man on his way to becoming a legend. In the shadow of the impending Second World War, and set against the turbulent backdrops of Madrid and Cuba, Martha and Ernest's relationship and their professional careers ignite. But when Ernest publishes the biggest literary success of his career, For Whom the Bell Tolls, they are no longer equals, and Martha must make a choice: surrender to the confining demands of being a famous man's wife or risk losing Ernest by forging a path as her own woman and writer."-- Provided by publisher.

The linden tree

May 1, 2018
Aira, César, 1949-
New York, N.Y. : New Directions Publishing Corporation, 2018.
92 pages ; 18 cm.
"Originally published in Argentina as El tilo by Beatriz Viterbo Editora"--Title page verso.
"The narrator, who could be Aira himself (born the same year, in the same place, a writer who is now also living in Buenos Aires) writes down his childhood memories"--Provided by publisher.

He : a novel

April 26, 2018
Connolly, John, 1968- author.
456 pages ; 24 cm
Awed like everyone else by Chaplin's genius (and ambition and cruelty), Stan Laurel despaired of ever finding his own path to success or happiness. When impresario Hal Roach put him and Oliver Hardy, affectionately known as Babe, together on screen, the partnership bloomed into a professional and personal relationship of lifelong depth. Laurel became one of the greatest screen comedians the world has ever known. He knew both adoration and humiliation; loved, and was loved. He never sought to cause pain to anyone else, yet left a trail of affairs and broken marriages in his wake. But his life was ultimately defined by one relationship of tenderness and devotion that only death could sever: his love for Babe.-- Adapted from jacket.

Ecstasy : a novel

April 12, 2018
Sharratt, Mary, 1964- author.
xi, 387 pages ; 24 cm
"A novel of Klimt's muse and Mahler's greatest love: Alma Mahler, the woman whose life would define and defy an era"--Provided by publisher.

My dear Hamilton : a novel of Eliza Schuyler Hamilton

April 5, 2018
Dray, Stephanie, author.
xii, 641, 16 pages ; 21 cm
Includes "P.S. insights, interviews & more" (16 pages)
Tells the story of Eliza Schuyler Hamilton, a revolutionary woman who, like her new nation, struggled to define herself in the wake of war, betrayal, and tragedy. Tells not just as the wronged wife at the center of a political sex scandal - but also as a founding mother who shaped an American legacy in her own right.-- Provided by publisher.

Whisper of the Moon Moth

April 2, 2018
Ashford, Lindsay Jayne.
Seattle : Lake Union Press, [2017]
338 pages ; 21 cm
"[I]nspired by the real-life story of movie actress Merle Oberon. What follows is my interpretation of the facts, interwoven with some sequences that are purely imaginary ..."--"Author's note", 4 pages before page 1.
1931, Calcutta. Anglo-Indian girls like Estelle Thompson are considered half-breeds, shunned by both English and Indian society. Her only escape is through the silver screen, where she can forget the world around her. When Estelle catches the eye of a dashing American heir with connections to a major motion-picture studio, she soon has a one-way ticket to London and a recommendation for a screen test. To get to the top she must keep her Indian heritage concealed, and assumes a new identity as Merle Oberon. As her dreams are poised to come true, she discovers that her own family is keeping a shocking secret that changes everything she's believed about her past.

Varina : a novel

March 30, 2018
Frazier, Charles, 1950- author.
New York, NY : Ecco, an imprint of HarperCollinsPublishers, 2018.
356 pages ; 24 cm
"Her marriage prospects limited, teenage Varina Howell agrees to wed the much-older widower Jefferson Davis, with whom she expects the secure life of a Mississippi landowner. Davis instead pursues a career in politics and is eventually appointed president of the Confederacy, placing Varina at the white-hot center of one of the darkest moments in American history"--Provided by publisher.

I was Anastasia : a novel

March 29, 2018
Lawhon, Ariel, author.
333 pages ; 25 cm
In this "historical suspense, Ariel Lawhon unravels the extraordinary twists and turns in Anna Anderson's 50-year battle to be recognized as Anastasia Romanov. Is she the Russian Grand Duchess, a beloved daughter and revered icon, or is she an imposter, the thief of another woman's legacy?"-- Provided by publisher.

Undiscovered country : a novel inspired by the lives of Eleanor Roosevelt and Lorena Hickok

March 14, 2018
McNees, Kelly O'Connor, author.
New York : Pegasus Books, 2018.
284 pages ; 24 cm
In 1932, New York City, top reporter Lorena "Hick" Hickok starts each day with a front page byline--and finishes it swigging bourbon and planning her next big scoop. But an assignment to cover FDR's campaign--and write a feature on his wife, Eleanor--turns Hick's hard-won independent life on its ear. Soon her work, and the secret entanglement with the new first lady, will take her from New York and Washington to Scotts Run, West Virginia, where impoverished coal miners' families wait in fear that the New Deal's promised hope will pass them by. Together, Eleanor and Hick imagine how the new town of Arthurdale could change the fate of hundreds of lives. But doing what is right does not come cheap, and Hick will pay in ways she never could have imagined. Undiscovered Country artfully mixes fact and fiction to portray the intense relationship between this unlikely pair. Inspired by the historical record, including the more than three thousand letters Hick and Eleanor exchanged over a span of thirty years, McNees tells this story through Hick's tough, tender, and unforgettable voice. A remarkable portrait of Depression-era America, this novel tells the poignant story of how a love that was forced to remain hidden nevertheless changed history.

The cloister : a novel

March 12, 2018
Carroll, James, 1943- author.
364 pages ; 24 cm
After Father Michael Kavanagh sees a friend from his seminary days at the altar of his humble Inwood community parish, he wanders into the medieval haven of The Cloisters. In conversation with museum guide Rachel Vedette, he finds she retreated to the quiet of The Cloisters after her harrowing experience as a Jewish woman in France during the Holocaust. She shares with Kavanagh her late father's greatest intellectual work: a study demonstrating the relationship between the famously discredited monk Peter Abelard and Jewish scholars-- and the romance between Abelard and his intellectual equal Héloïse.

In black and white : a novel

March 7, 2018
Tanizaki, Jun'ichirō, 1886-1965, author.
New York : Columbia University Press, [2017]
xii, 238 pages ; 23 cm.
Originally published in Japanese as Kokubyaku.
Translator's preface -- Author's words in place of a preface -- In black and white -- Author's apology on the conclusion -- Translator's afterword -- Translator's acknowledgments.
"Black and White is a full translation of Tanizaki Jun'ichirō's 1928 novel, Kokubyaku, with an introduction that identifies the special conditions that might have made it a "lost" novel. This novel offers a window into Tanizaki's life and work at a critical transition point in his career. The introduction focuses on the moment Tanizaki astounded the literary world in 1928 by writing three novels in the same year, after several years of relative silence following the 1923 Great Kantō Earthquake. Two of the three (Some Prefer Nettles and Quicksand) immediately became famous; this third disappeared from view. The novel tells the story of a writer who in essence kills another writer with his writing. In it, an obsessive paranoid fantasy turns out to invade "real life," and it ends with a man confessing to a murder he did not commit. Over the course of the story, he (the character? the author?) invents a character he calls the "Shadow Man," who is out to entrap the writer (the protagonist? the author?) and destroy him. The tone of the story is comic rather than tragic, sardonic rather than dramatic. There is a peculiar ambiguity between author and character that distinguishes the story from the usual "I-novel" genre of the day; the novel is autobiographical in an unusual way, although Tanizaki was never considered an autobiographical writer. The central questions the introduction addresses are: What is autobiographical in the novel; who was killed and why; and how did that elimination help make Tanizaki a great writer?"-- Provided by publisher.

The constant listener : Henry James and Theodora Bosanquet, an imagined memoir,

March 2, 2018
Sibbet, Susan Herron, author.
Athens, Ohio : Swallow Press, an imprint of Ohio University Press, [2017]
ix, 309 pages ; 23 cm

Song of a captive bird : a novel

February 21, 2018
Darznik, Jasmin, 1973- author.
New York : Ballantine Books, [2018]
401 pages ; 22 cm
"All through her childhood in Tehran, Forugh Farrokhzad is told that Persian daughters should be quiet and modest. She is taught only to obey, but she always finds ways to rebel—gossiping with her sister among the fragrant roses of her mother’s walled garden, venturing to the forbidden rooftop to roughhouse with her three brothers, writing poems to impress her strict, disapproving father, and sneaking out to flirt with a teenage paramour over café glacé. During the summer of 1950, Forugh’s passion for poetry takes flight—and tradition seeks to clip her wings. Forced into a suffocating marriage, Forugh runs away and falls into an affair that fuels her desire to write and to achieve freedom and independence. Forugh’s poems are considered both scandalous and brilliant; she is heralded by some as a national treasure, vilified by others as a demon influenced by the West. She perseveres, finding love with a notorious filmmaker and living by her own rules—at enormous cost. But the power of her writing only grows stronger amid the upheaval of the Iranian revolution. Inspired by Forugh Farrokhzad’s verse, letters, films, and interviews—and including original translations of her poems—this haunting novel uses the lens of fiction to capture the tenacity, spirit, and conflicting desires of a brave woman who represents the birth of feminism in Iran—and who continues to inspire generations of women around the world."--Inside dust jacket.

White houses : a novel

February 16, 2018
Bloom, Amy, 1953- author.
x, 218 pages ; 25 cm
Lorena Hickok meets Eleanor Roosevelt in 1932 while reporting on Franklin Roosevelt's first presidential campaign. Having grown up worse than poor in South Dakota and reinvented herself as the most prominent woman reporter in America, "Hick," as she's known to her friends and admirers, is not quite instantly charmed by the idealistic, patrician Eleanor. But then, as her connection with the future first lady deepens into intimacy, what begins as a powerful passion matures into a lasting love, and a life that Hick never expected to have. She moves into the White House, where her status as "first friend" is an open secret, as are FDR's own lovers. After she takes a job in the Roosevelt administration, promoting and protecting both Roosevelts, she comes to know Franklin not only as a great president but as a complicated rival and an irresistible friend, capable of changing lives even after his death. Through it all, even as Hick's bond with Eleanor is tested by forces both extraordinary and common, and as she grows as a woman and a writer, she never loses sight of the love of her life.--Provided by Publisher.


February 12, 2018
Emezi, Akwaeke, author.
New York : Grove Press, 2018.
229 pages ; 22 cm
Freshwater explores the surreal experience of having a fractured self. It centers around a young Nigerian woman, Ada, who develops separate selves within her as a result of being born "with one foot on the other side." Unsettling, heartwrenching, dark, and powerful, Freshwater is a sharp evocation of a rare way of experiencing the world, one that illuminates how we all construct our identities. Ada begins her life in the south of Nigeria as a troubled baby and a source of deep concern to her family. Her parents, Saul and Saachi, successfully prayed her into existence, but as she grows into a volatile and splintered child, it becomes clear that something went terribly awry. When Ada comes of age and moves to America for college, the group of selves within her grows in power and agency. A traumatic assault leads to a crystallization of her alternate selves: Asughara and Saint Vincent. As Ada fades into the background of her own mind and these selves, now protective, now hedonistic, move into control, Ada's life spirals in a dark and dangerous direction. Narrated from the perspective of the various selves within Ada, and based in the author's realities, Freshwater explores the metaphysics of identity and mental health, plunging the reader into the mystery of being and self.

In every moment we are still alive

February 7, 2018
Malmquist, Tom, 1978- author.
Brooklyn : Melville House, [2017]
232 pages ; 24 cm
"First published in Sweden in 2015 by Natur & Kultur. First published in Great Britain in 2017 by Sceptre"--Title page verso.
"When Tom's heavily pregnant girlfriend Karin is rushed to the hospital, doctors are able to save the baby. But they are helpless to save Karin from what turns out to be acute leukemia. And in a cruel, fleeting moment Tom gains a daughter but loses his soul-mate. In Every Moment We Are Alive is the story of the year that changes everything, as Tom must reconcile the fury and pain of loss with the overwhelming responsibility of raising his daughter, Livia, alone. By turns tragic and redemptive, meditative and breathless, achingly poignant and darkly funny, this autobiographical novel has been described as 'hypnotic', 'impossible to resist' and 'one of the most powerful books about grief ever written'."--Publisher's description.

Theory of shadows

January 30, 2018
Maurensig, Paolo, 1943- author.
New York : Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2018.
179 pages ; 22 cm
Novel inspired by the death of Alexander Alekhine (1892-1946), Russian chess player, naturalized French citizen.
"Originally published in Italian in 2015 by Adelphi Edizioni, Italy, as Teoria delle ombre"--Title page verso.
On the morning of March 24, 1946, the world chess champion Alexander Alekhine--"sadist of the chess world," renowned for his eccentric behavior as well as the ruthlessness of his playing style--was found dead in his hotel room in Estoril, Portugal. He was fully dressed and wearing an overcoat, slumped back in a chair, in front of a meal, a chessboard just out of reach. The doctor overseeing the autopsy certified that Alekhine died of asphyxiation due to a piece of meat stuck in his larynx and assured the world that there was absolutely no evidence of suicide or foul play. Some, of course, have commented that the photos of the corpse look suspiciously theatrical, as though staged. Others have wondered why Alekhine would have sat down to his dinner in a hot room while wearing a heavy overcoat. And what about all these rumors concerning Alekhine's activities during World War II? Did he really pen a series of articles on the inherent inferiority of Jewish chess players? Can he really be seen in photographs with high-ranking Nazi officials? And as for his own homeland, is it true that the Russians considered him a traitor, as well as a possible threat to the new generation of supposedly superior Soviet chess masters?

The animal gazer

January 26, 2018
Franzosini, Edgardo, author.
124 pages : illustrations ; 20 cm
Originally published by Adelphi edizione in Milan in 2015.
Novel inspired by the life of Rembrandt Bugatti (1884-1916), sculptor. Includes 8 illustrations of his works.

The girls in the picture

January 25, 2018
Benjamin, Melanie, 1962- author.
xix, 422 pages ; 22 cm
A fascinating novel of the friendship and creative partnership between two of Hollywood's earliest female legends--screenwriter Frances Marion and superstar Mary Pickford--from the New York Times bestselling author of The Swans of Fifth Avenue and The Aviator's Wife It is 1914, and twenty-five-year-old Frances Marion has left her (second) husband and her Northern California home for the lure of Los Angeles, where she is determined to live independently as an artist. But the word on everyone's lips these days is "flickers"--the silent moving pictures enthralling theatergoers. Turn any corner in this burgeoning town and you'll find made-up actors running around, as a movie camera captures it all. In this fledgling industry, Frances finds her true calling: writing stories for this wondrous new medium. She also makes the acquaintance of actress Mary Pickford, whose signature golden curls and lively spirit have given her the title of America's Sweetheart. The two ambitious young women hit it off instantly, their kinship fomented by their mutual fever to create, to move audiences to a frenzy, to start a revolution. But their ambitions are challenged both by the men around them and the limitations imposed on their gender--and their astronomical success could come at a price. As Mary, the world's highest paid and most beloved actress, struggles to live her life under the spotlight, she also wonders if it is possible to find love, even with the dashing actor Douglas Fairbanks. Frances, too, longs to share her life with someone. As in any good Hollywood story, dramas will play out, personalities will clash, and even the deepest friendships might be shattered. With cameos from such notables as Charlie Chaplin, Louis B. Mayer, Rudolph Valentino, and Lillian Gish, The Girls in the Picture is, at its heart, a story of friendship and forgiveness. Melanie Benjamin perfectly captures the dawn of a glittering new era--its myths and icons, its possibilities and potential, and its seduction and heartbreak.

An empty chair : the story of Welsh First World War poet Hedd Wyn

January 24, 2018
Llewelyn, Haf, author.
Talybont, Ceredigion, Wales : Y Lolfa, [2017]
117 pages ; 20 cm
"Ellis is a poet, but when the First World War arrives, he has to go and be a soldier like dozens of other young men from rural Trawsfynydd. His teenage sister Anni longs to have him home again on their family farm, Yr Ysgwrn, especially after seeing the terrible effect of the war on her best friend Lora's father. Meanwhile Ellis is in the trenches in Belgium, hoping to make it home safely, and to win the chair at the National Eisteddfod, the most important prize in Welsh poetry... Incredibly involving and moving novel about Wales' most famous poet, Hedd Wyn"--Back cover.

Carnegie's Maid

January 16, 2018
Benedict, Marie, author.
281 pages ; 24 cm
"Clara Kelley is not who they think she is. She's not the experienced Irish maid who was hired to work in one of Pittsburgh's grandest households. She's a poor farmer's daughter with nowhere to go and nothing in her pockets. But the other woman with the same name has vanished, and pretending to be her just might get Clara some money to send back home. If she can keep up the ruse, that is. Serving as a lady's maid in the household of Andrew Carnegie requires skills she doesn't have, answering to an icy mistress who rules her sons and her domain with an iron fist. What Clara does have is a resolve as strong as the steel Pittsburgh is becoming famous for, coupled with an uncanny understanding of business, and Andrew begins to rely on her. But Clara can't let her guard down, not even when Andrew becomes something more than an employer. Revealing her past might ruin her future -- and her family's."--Provided by Publisher.

The lost season of love and snow

January 16, 2018
Laam, Jennifer, author.
340 pages ; 21 cm
"The unforgettable story of Alexander Pushkin's beautiful wife, Natalya, a woman much admired at Court, and how she became reviled as the villain of St. Petersburg. At the beguiling age of sixteen, Natalya Goncharova is stunningly beautiful and intellectually curious. At her first public ball during the Christmas of 1828, she attracts the romantic attention of Russia's most lauded rebel poet: Alexander Pushkin. Finding herself deeply attracted to Alexander's intensity and joie de vivre, Natalya is swept up in a courtship and then a marriage full of passion but also destructive jealousies. When vicious court gossip leads Alexander to defend his honor as well as Natalya's in a duel, he tragically succumbs to his injuries. Natalya finds herself reviled for her perceived role in his death"

How I got to yesterday : a fictionalized memoir

December 8, 2017
Sedlock, Paul, 1942-
326 pages ; 23 cm
"Born into a Catholic, working-class family twelve-year-old Dave's idyllic world changes abruptly when his widowed mother remarries and they move to a Cleveland suburb. He has inherited a distant step-father and an abusive step-brother. Meanwhile, his mother, haunted by a family suicide and betrayal, struggles with depression. Dave attends Catholic schools, finds friends, romance, work, marriage, and drinking buddies. Later, along with Wendy and Cyclops, he moves to Berkeley, California, in an old VW bug as the turbulent 1960s kick in"--Amazon website.

feed —Subscribe to the Biographical Fiction feed .


For Teens

For Kids


Electronic Resources



Large Print