Submitted by swalzer on

These fiction books are based on truly extraordinary women in history.

In recent history, when someone experiences something interesting (either good or bad), they publish a memoir. These autobiographies open up a window into a person's life, whether the person is an athlete, celebrity, or scientist. But the further back into history we go, some of these first-person experiences are lost, especially for women. In trying to resurrect the stories of these women, authors have extensively researched the time period. Gathering as much information as possible, they are then left to fill in the details with educated guesses and the power of imagination. The result is a compelling book based on fact.

Learn about the experiences of some famous women, and some that aren't as well-known but are still just as important, for Women's History Month.

Almost Famous Women: Stories

Bergman, Megan Mayhew     F Bergman
This collection of short stories depicts the forgotten lives of women who almost achieved fame and notoriety, including Lord  Byron's illegitimate daughter, Oscar Wilde's niece and Edna St. Vincent Milay's sister.



Rebel Queen

Moran, Michelle     F Moran
The breathtaking story of Queen Lakshmi--India's Joan of Arc--who against all odds defied the mighty British invasion to defend her beloved kingdom.



What is Visible

Elkins, Kimberly     F Elkins
Presents a fictionalized account of the life and challenges of Laura Bridgman, the first deaf and blind woman to learn language, and those who helped her, including the founder of the Perkins Institute, with whom she was in love, and her beloved teacher.


The Black Rose: the Magnificent Story of Madam C. J. Walker, America's First Black Female Millionaire

Due, Tananarive     F Due
A fictional biography chronicles the story of Madame C.J. Walker, who rose from the poverty of her former slave parents to found a marketing empire that made her America's first Black female millionaire.


Etta: a Novel

Kolpan, Gerald     F Kolpan
Imagines the life Etta Place, once a Philadelphia debutante named Lorinda whose father's death left her orphaned and bankrupt, may have lived after joining forces with Butch Cassidy's notorious gang and  beginning her legendary romance with the Sundance Kid in an adventure that crisscrossed America at the dawn of the twentieth century.


The Memoirs of Cleopatra

George, Margaret     F George
This detailed portrait of ancient Egyptian and Roman life during the time of Cleopatra and Julius Caesar is narrated by the great Queen herself. In a poignant flashback, Cleopatra reveals the complicated political and romantic intrigues surrounding her life and reign.


The Memoirs of Helen of Troy

Elyot, Amanda      F Elyot
Fictional memoirs offer Helen of Troy's perspective on her turbulent childhood, the alienating impact of her stunning beauty, her kidnapping by Theseus, her marriage to the king of Sparta, and her role in the devastating war that would change the world.


The Secrets of Mary Bowser

Leveen, Lois     F Leveen
Based on the true story of Mary Bowser, a freed slave who returnsed to Virginia to spy on the Confederates, this is the powerful story of a woman who must sacrifice her freedom to truly achieve it.


Invention of Wings

Kidd, Sue Monk      F Kidd
Traces more than three decades in the lives of a wealthy Charleston debutante who longs to break free from the strictures of her household and pursue a meaningful life; and the slave, Handful, who is placed in her charge as a child before finding courage and a sense of self. Inspired by the true story of early-nineteenth-century abolitionist and suffragist Sarah Grimké.


The Daughter’s Walk

Kirkpatrick, Jane     F Kirkpatrick
A mother's tragedy, a daughter's desire and the 7000 mile journey that changed their lives. In 1896, Norwegian American Helga Estby accepted a wager to walk from Spokane, Washington to New York City within seven months in an effort to earn $10,000. Bringing along her nineteen year-old daughter Clara, the two made their way on the 3500-mile trek by following the railroad tracks and motivated by the money they needed to save the family farm.


Year of Wonders: a Novel of the Plague

Brooks, Geraldine     F Brooks
This gripping historical novel is based on the true story of Eyam, the "Plague Village," in the rugged mountains of England. The story is told through the eyes of eighteen-year-old Anna Frith, the vicar's maid, as she confronts the loss of her family and the disintegration of her community. Through it all, Anna emerges as an unlikely and courageous heroine in the village's desperate fight to save itself.


The Memoirs of Mary Queen of Scots

Erickson, Carolly     F Erickson
The courageous, spirited Mary Queen of Scots tells her own story--from her youth as a young girl married to the invalid young King of France to her short reign as Queen of Scotland and her tragic imprisonment by her ruthless, merciless cousin Queen Elizabeth.


Innocent Traitor

Weir, Alison     F Weir
As a great-niece of Henry VIII, and the cousin of Edward VI, Mary I, and Elizabeth I, Jane grew up to realize that she could never throw off the chains of her destiny. Her honesty, intelligence and strength of character carry the reader through all the vicious twists of Tudor power politics, to her nine-day reign and its unbearably poignant conclusion.

Remarkable Creatures

Chevalier, Tracy     F Chevalier
Marked for greatness after being struck by lightning in infancy, Mary Anning discovers a fossilized skeleton near her 19th century home that triggers attacks on her character and upheavals throughout the religious, scientific, and academic communities.