Weekly Spotlight on: Biographical Fiction- Women Behind Famous Men

Do you like historical fiction? Ever heard of biographical fiction? It’s historical fiction set around one individual, based on facts about their life. We have chosen some biographical fiction titles that center on the women behind some famous men in history, like Frank Lloyd Wright, Sigmund Freud, and Charles Lindbergh.

These books are great reads for a few reasons: you get to immerse yourself into a very specific and richly researched time period, and you get to understand see the lives of famous men through their relationships with interesting and powerful women. Explore a new historical love story today!

Loving Frank by Nancy Horan

loving frankMamah Borthwick Cheney struggles to justify her clandestine love affair with Frank Lloyd Wright. Four years earlier, in 1903, Mamah and her husband, Edwin, had commissioned the renowned architect to design a new home for them. During the construction of the house, a powerful attraction developed between Mamah and Frank, and in time the lovers, each married with children, embarked on a course that would shock Chicago society and forever change their lives. While scholars have largely relegated Mamah to a footnote in the life of America’s greatest architect, author Nancy Horan gives full weight to their dramatic love story and illuminates Cheney’s profound influence on Wright. – publisher summary

The News From Paraguay by Lily Tuck 

the news from paraguayThe year was 1854, and Francisco Solano Lopez — “Franco,” the future dictator of Paraguay — began his courtship of the young, beautiful Irishwoman with a poncho, a Paraguayan band, and a horse named Mathilde. From Paris, Ella Lynch follows Franco to Asuncion, where she reigns as his mistress. Isolated and estranged in this new world, she embraces her lover’s ill-fated dream — one fueled by outsize imperial ambition and heedless arrogance, and with devastating consequences for Paraguay and all its inhabitants. A historical epic that tells an unusual love story, The News from Paraguay offers a kaleidoscopic portrait of nineteenth-century Paraguay, a largely untouched wilderness where Europeans and North Americans intermingle with both the old Spanish aristocracy and native Guarani Indians. – publisher summary

The Paris Wife by Paula McLain

paris wifeMeeting through mutual friends in Chicago, Hadley is intrigued by brash “beautiful boy” Ernest Hemingway, and after a brief courtship and small wedding, they take off for Paris, where Hadley makes a convincing transformation from an overprotected child to a game and brave young woman who puts up with impoverished living conditions and shattering loneliness to prop up her husband’s career. – swan summary

The Aviator’s Wife by Melanie Benjamin

aviators wifeDespite her own major achievements–she becomes the first licensed female glider pilot in the United States–Anne Morrow Lindbergh is viewed merely as Charles Lindbergh’s wife. The fairy-tale life she once longed for will bring heartbreak and hardships, ultimately pushing her to reconcile her need for love and her desire for independence, and to embrace, at last, life’s infinite possibilities for change and happiness. – swan summary

Clara and Mr. Tiffany by Susan Vreeland

clara and mr. tiffanyIt’s 1893, and at the Chicago World’s Fair, Louis Comfort Tiffany makes his debut with a luminous exhibition of innovative stained-glass windows, which he hopes will honor his family business and earn him a place on the international artistic stage. But behind the scenes in his New York studio is the freethinking Clara Driscoll, head of his women’s division. Publicly unrecognized by Tiffany, Clara conceives of and designs nearly all of the iconic leaded-glass lamps for which he is long remembered.- publisher summary

Freud’s Mistress by Karen Mack
freuds mistressMinna Bernays loses her job and turns to her sister Martha Freud for help. Martha’s husband Sigmund Freud “is a struggling professor, all but shunned by his peers and under attack for his theories, most of which center around sexual impulses. And while Martha is shocked and repulsed by her husband’s “pornographic” work, Minna is fascinated.

Minna is everything Martha is not—intellectually curious, engaging, and passionate. She and Freud embark on what is at first simply an intellectual courtship, yet something deeper is brewing beneath the surface, something Minna cannot escape.” – publisher summary
Z A Novel of Zelda FitzgeraldA tale inspired by the marriage of F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald follows their union in defiance of her father’s opposition and her abandonment of the provincial finery of her upbringing in favor of a scandalous flapper identity that gains her entry into the literary party scenes of New York, Paris and the French Riviera. – swan summary
abundanceMarie Antoinette was a child of fourteen when her mother, the Empress of Austria, arranged for her to leave her family and her country to become the wife of the fifteen-year-old Dauphin, the future King of France. Coming of age in the most public of arenas, the young queen embraces her new family and the French people, and she is embraced in return. Eager to be a good wife and strong queen, she shows her new husband nothing but love and encouragement, though he repeatedly fails to consummate their marriage and in doing so, fails to give her the thing she–and the people of France–desire most: a child and an heir to the throne. – publisher summary
Think of any others? Share them in the comments.
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