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Biographical Fiction @your Library

What is Biographical Fiction? Does that not sound like a contradiction in terms? We use this term to describe those novels that feature a real-life person as the main character. They are not actual biographies but rather they imagine the life of a person, largely based on research. We have many examples of this popular genre at the Bracebridge Public Library.

Philippa Gregory is famous for her historical fiction novels that can also be classed as biographical fiction because each one features a member of the royalty from the past: Kingmaker’s Daughter (Queen Anne, consort of King Richard III), The Lady of the Rivers (Jacquetta, Duchess of Bedford), and The Taming of the Queen (Catherine Parr, consort of King Henry VIII).

Jennifer Chiaverini is another author who writes about prominent figures from the past such as the wife of Abraham Lincoln in Mrs. Lincoln’s Dressmaker. Melanie Benjamin wrote a beautiful book about her conception of what life was like for Anne Morrow Lindbergh in The Aviator’s Wife. Similarly, The Other Einstein by Marie Benedict depicts a woman overshadowed by her husband despite her own abilities.

The Kennedy Debutante by Kerri Maher imagines what life was like for Kathleen Kennedy, the socialite daughter of Joseph Kennedy, who made her entrance as a debutante while the family lived in England prior to World War II.

Ernest Hemingway’s life is the focus of Paula McLain’s biographical fiction titled The Paris Wife. Another beloved author, Pearl Buck, is the main character in Anchee Min’s book, Pearl of China.

The early years of the famous Dionne Quintuplets are portrayed in Quintland Sisters, a fascinating novel by Shelley Wood. The author cleverly inserts a fictional character into the real-life situation in order to portray their lives from the inside looking out.

Biographical fiction gives us a narrative featuring real people without the detailed chronology of a true biography, making it often more readable and memorable. We just have to remember that it may not be totally accurate although quite believable.

June 7, 2019

By Ruth Holtz

Digital and Information Services Librarian

Bracebridge Public Library



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 Books on order

You may view what the library has ordered however please note, this is not a list of new acquisitions. Please do not contact the library to place a request on any of these items until they are available in the catalogue. Some items are ordered "pre-publication", so it could be several months before they arrive. THANK YOU.