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  • Writer's pictureTerrie

A dozen books that are based on true events

Books based on true events have appeal and often raise the question, "Which parts of this story are actually true and which are made up?". The good thing is, Google is your friend and if the Author's Notes don't clarify details for you, Google will.

Here's my recommendation list of a dozen random books that I've enjoyed that are based on true. As usual, most are back list titles. While I appreciate a shiny new publication as much as the next reader, I also enjoy finding books that have been around a while but are new to me.

Loving Frank by Nancy Horan

Genre: Historical Fiction

Published 2007, 384 pages

The well-written story of the married woman who fell in love with Frank Lloyd Wright and their long-term, difficult relationship.

The Lost Girls of Paris by Pam Jenoff

Genre: Historical Fiction

Published 2019, 359 pages

An important story about the unacknowledged, behind-the-scene British women that formed an underground messaging system during WWII. Engrossing and well told.

review here

The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd

Genre: Historical Fiction

Published 2014, 384 pages

This amazing book is based on the lives of two wealthy white women and their efforts against slavery, starting from their childhood. It's told in alternating voices - the white woman and her slave.

review here

The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek by Kim Michele Richardson

Genre: Historical Fiction

Published 2019, 320 pages

This popular book is an excellent telling of a little known group of dedicated women in rural Kentucky, determined to provide books to the far flung residents. reviewed here

Two for one: Telling the same story but in a very different way is The Giver of Stars by JoJo Moyes reviewed here

Paths of Glory by Jeffrey Archer

Genre: Historical Fiction

Published 2009, 384 pages

A based-on-true story about a man's efforts to climb Mt. Everest.

Celine by Peter Heller

Genre: Fiction

Published 2017, 334 pages

Based on his mom's life, author Peter Heller writes about his well-to-do and feisty mom taking on investigative cases to help those she feels need her. This story of a 60-something woman and husband hunting for a missing person is excellent.

review here

Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts

Genre: General Fiction

Published 2003, 936 pages

Looking for a longer, engrossing, epic tale? This book is loosely based on the author's life of a criminal trying to settle and live in the slums of India. I couldn't put it down.

The Many Lives and Secret Sorrows of Josephine B #1 by Sandra Gulland

Genre: Historical Fiction

Published 1995, 448 pages

Another well-researched book very evocative of the time, this story is about Josephine's life and path to Napoleon.

Tales of Passion, Tales of Woe #2 by Sandra Gulland

Genre: Historical Fiction

Published 1998, 385 pages

This second book is written as journal entries describing Josephine's life as wife to Napoleon. SO well researched and written; the best kind of historical fiction.

The Twentieth Wife by Indu Sundaresan

Genre: Historical Fiction

Published 2002, 380 pages

Set in the 1600s, this is the sweeping tale of India's legendary empress blending accurate historical elements with an almost fairy tale like storytelling style. reviewed here

The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris

Genre: Historical Fiction

Published 2018, 262 pages

This is the true story of a Jewish man in Auschwitz as told to the author. The story details his life from arrival at the camp, the hardships and atrocities of camp life, and the way he found love in spite of it all. reviewed here

The Stars are Fire by Anita Shreve

Genre: Historical Fiction

Published 2017, 256 pages

A depiction of the devastating fires along the Maine coast in 1947 follows wife and mother, Grace as she struggles to survive and take care of her kids while her husband is fighting the fires. Particularly evocative of the era and the tragedy of the fire, it also has a bit of romance.

Which of these have you read? What based-on-true book have you read and loved? Let me know so I can give it a try.

Welcome to Bookshelf Journeys.

It's my goal to provide real reviews of the books I read without totally rehashing every plot. I'll never spoil a story by giving away a plot twist! Hopefully you'll find one or two of interest and will discover a new book or author to add to YOUR TBR list.  Take a moment to explore, read a couple reviews, and let me know what you think.


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