Friday, February 3, 2023

If You Love Historical Fiction Based on Real Women


It's been a few years since I updated this list and I've included some great new additions. You guys know that historical fiction is one of my favorite genres, but I especially love historical fiction based on real women from the past who lived extraordinary lives.  Here are some of my favorite novels inspired by real women. I linked the titles to my reviews when possible. 


1.  That Churchill Woman by Stephanie Barron - This novel focuses on Jennie Jerome, Winston Churchill's unconventional American mother.  

2.  A Well Behaved Woman by Therese Anne Fowler - This novel features Ava Vanderbilt, who was so much more than a wealthy woman. 


3.  The Kennedy Debutante by Kerri Maher - I really enjoyed learning more about Kathleen "Kick" Kennedy, the younger sister of John F. Kennedy. She led an amazing, but heartbreaking life.

4.  My Dear Hamilton by Stephanie Dray and Laura Kamoie - Most historians and storytellers focus on Alexander Hamilton, but this book features his just-as-interesting wife, Eliza Schuyler Hamilton.


5.  Three Sisters, Three Queens by Philippa Gregory - This novel features three important woman from the Tudor court: Katherine of Aragon, Margaret (Henry VIII's sister) and Margaret's younger sister, Mary. All three led important and fascinating lives. 

6.  The Summer Queen by Elizabeth Chadwick - This novel is all about Eleanor of Aquitaine, one of the most compelling and powerful queens of all-time.  

7.  Victoria by Daisy Goodwin - This book is the perfect introduction to Queen Victoria's life, especially if you are a fan of the PBS show.

8.  The Accidental Empress by Allison Pataki - This novel is a fascinating glimpse into the Hapsburg Empire as well as Empress Sisi's life.


9.  America's First Daughter by Stephanie Dray and Laura Kamoie - I had no prior knowledge of Martha "Patsy" Jefferson (the eldest daughter of Thomas Jefferson) before reading this novel, but was pleasantly surprised by her interesting life. 

10.  Becoming Marie Antoinette by Juliet Grey - Who isn't fascinated by Marie Antoinette's life?


11.  The Invention of Wings by Susan Monk Kidd - I loved learning more about the Grimke Sisters, who are famous abolitionists and suffragists. 

12.  Cousins' War series by Philippa Gregory - Women were just as important in the War of the Roses as men were and Gregory highlights some prominent female women from the time period, such as Elizabeth Woodville and Margaret Beaufort.  

14. Jacqueline in Paris by Ann Mah - This was such a fun frolic through Paris when Jacqueline Bouvier was studying abroad. 

15. Innocent Traitor by Allison Weir - A heartbreaking, yet compelling story about Lady Jane Grey, infamously referred to as the Nine Days' Queen.



15. The Other Windsor Girl by Georgia Blalock - Princess Margaret, known as the Royal rebel, lived an entertaining (and sometimes sad! )life, that is for sure.

16. The Girl in White Gloves by Kerri Maher - I love all things Grace Kelly, so this book was especially entertaining. 



17. And They Called It Camelot by Stephanie Marie Thornton - I love reading about the Kennedys and this one did not disappoint. 

18. Jackie and Me by Louis Bayard - This book focuses on Jackie before her marriage to Jack and her friendship with Lem Billings.

19. The Magnificent Lives of Marjorie Post by Alison Pataki - Who knew that the heir to the Post fortune would be so fascinating? This was one of my favorite books of 2022.  

20. The Glorious Guinness Girls by Emily Hourican - This book focuses on the heirs to the Guinness fortune and their interesting lives. 



21. Before the Crown by Flora Harding - I loved learning more about Queen Elizabeth II and the time period before she ascended to the throne.

22. The Invisible Woman by Erika Robuck - This focuses on a lesser known women who lived a remarkable life, Virginia Hall.

23. The People's Princess by Flora Harding - Who doesn't love a good Princess Diana book? 

24. The Bookseller's Secret by Michelle Gable - Nancy Mitford's life was most definitely an entertaining one, especially during WWII.



25. The Last White Rose by Alison Weir - You can always count on Weir to bring to life interesting lives from the past and this one focuses on Elizabeth of York, Henry VIII's mother. 

26. The Social Graces by Renee Rosen - The Vanderbilts and the Astors in Gilded Age New York City....yes, please!



27. The Paris Wife by Paula McLain - This focuses on Hadley Richardson, one of Hemingway's wives, and their adventures in Jazz Age Paris.

28. Call Me Zelda by Erika Robuck - A novel focusing on the eccentric Zelda Fitzgerald, Scott Fitzgerald's wife. 



29.  Lilac Girls by Martha Hall Kelly - This one is also based on real life heroines of WWII.

30. The Lost Girls of Paris by Pam Jenoff - This is based on a real-life ring of female spies. 



31. The Collector's Daughter by Gill Paul - Most people know about the Earl of Carnarvon, but not his daughter, Lady Evelyn Hebert, the woman who took the first steps into the tomb of Pharaoh Tutankhamun

32. The Woman Before Wallis  by Bryn Turnbull - This focuses on Thelma Morgan, the American woman involved with Prince Edward before his famous marriage to Wallis Simpson. 



33. The Most Beautiful Girl in Cuba by Chanel Cleeton - This novel brings to life the story of Evangelina Cisneros. 

34. In Royal Service to the Queen by Tessa Arlen - This historical novel focuses on the life of the governess Marian Crawford, who took care of Princesses Elizabeth and Margaret. 

35. The Marriage Portrait by Maggie O'Farrell - This book focuses on a lesser known woman in history, Duchess Lucrezia de’ Medici and her sad fate. 

36. A Dress of Violet Taffeta by Tessa Arlen - This historical novel highlights a fashion icon, Lady Duff Gordon.

Books on My TBR List:

1. The Queen's Secret by Karen Harper (Elizabeth, The Queen Mother)

2. American Princess by Stephanie Marie Thornton (Alice Roosevelt)

3. Her Lost Words by Stephanie Thornton (Mary Shelley and Mary Wollstonecraft)


4. The Paris Bookseller by Kerri Maher (Sylvia Beach)

5. The Personal Librarian by Marie Benedict and Victoria Christopher Murray (Belle de Costa Greene) 

6. Starring Adele Astaire by Eliza Knight (Adele Astaire, Fred Astaire's sister)


7. Fifth Avenue Glamour Girl by Renee Rosen (Estee Lauder)

8. The Empress by Gigi Griffis (Sisi of Austria)

9. Becoming Mrs. Lewis by Patti Callahan (Joy Davidman, C.S. Lewis's wife)


10. Strangers in the Night by Heather Webb (Frank Sinatra and Ava Gardner) 

11. The Woman with a Cure by Lynn Cullen (Dr. Dorothy Hortsmann)

What are some of your favorite historical novels based on real-life women? Have you read any of these novels? Let me know your thoughts in the comments and if you have any recommendations for me.


  1. What a great list! Thanks for compiling this!

    1. Thanks so much and thanks for visiting, Adrienne!

  2. Ahh, so many great ones on this list! And many more still on my TBR!

    1. Thanks so much! I hear you. My TBR pile is never ending, too. Thanks for visiting!


I really appreciate your comments. Thank you!

Design by: Designer Blogs