Inspired by true events, many authors write beautiful historical fiction based on the lives of real people. Though somewhat controversial, these biographical novels bring history rousingly to life and give the reader a genuine taste of what the lives of famous artists, politicians, writers, explorers and other notable figures might really have been like. Here are six new biographical novels to try this summer.
The Dream Lover by Elizabeth Berg
Set in nineteenth-century Paris, this is a fictional account of the life of writing legend George Sand. Aurore Dupin leaves her family estate and a bad marriage for a new life in Paris, taking on a new persona as the androgynous Sand. That alone would ruffle feathers and raise eyebrows in France's capital, but Sand also leads an adventurous and even wild lifestyle as she pursues her dream of writing.
The House of Hawthorne by Erika Robuck
This fictional recreation of the marriage of the American author Nathaniel Hawthorne and his wife, Sophia Peabody, depicts their intense devotion to one another, his work as an acclaimed novelist, and Sophia's own artistic ambitions.
Mrs. Grant and Madame Jule by Jennifer Chiaverini
This novel imagines the inner life of Julia Grant, beloved as a Civil War general's wife and the First Lady, who still grappled with a profound and complex relationship with the slave who was her namesake - until Jule forged a proud identity of her own.
Circling the Sun by Paula McLain (published July 28)
This is a fascinating portrayal of Beryl Markham, a complex and strong-willed woman who fought to make her way in the world on her terms. McLain paints a captivating portrait of Africa in the 1920s and the life of expats making their home there.
The Marriage of Opposites by Alice Hoffman (published August 4)
Dreaming of an exotic life in Paris while coming of age in a St. Thomas refugee community, young Rachel is forced to marry a widower before falling scandalously in love and becoming the mother of Impressionist master Camille Pissarro.
Villa America by Liza Klaussmann (published August 4)
A glittering, beautifully written book inspired by the lives of Jazz Age golden couple Gerald and Sara Murphy. This wistful novel is a luminous take on the mythical, magical years during which the Murphys lived, loved, drank and feasted on the French Riviera. An excellent work of biographical fiction.
*Most descriptions from Novelist