Behind Every Great Man: 4 Historical Novels About Influential Women

December 7 2018
Share Behind Every Great Man: 4 Historical Novels About Influential Women

Behind every great man, there’s most likely an even better woman. Some of the best fiction to come out in the last ten years has re-imagined the lives of influential women who were involved with great men of history. These women sacrificed, scraped, worried, and worked alongside their companions whom the world adored. But where is their place in history? Some would become mere footnotes; others would thrive in their own spotlight. But thanks to the wonderment and skill of modern-day-authors, they have been given a fresh chance at stardom. These compelling and thoughtful novels will give readers a new outlook on events of the past with heroines we can all root for.

The Aviator's Wife
by Melanie Benjamin

A fantastic look inside the marriage of famed pilot Charles Lindbergh and Anne Morrow Lindbergh that will make your heart soar. We know a lot about the Lindberghs—a family with immense triumph and public heartbreak. Beyond historic feats of aviation, their personal tragedy was headline news that spread across the country. What you may not be aware of already is the strength that lies in the character of Anne Morrow Lindbergh. Through it all, she stands as a pillar for her husband and family. In Morrow, Melanie Benjamin paints the portrait of a warrior in Morrow who triumphs over difficulty to ultimately become a person all her own.

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The Aviator's Wife
Melanie Benjamin

Anne Morrow always stood in the shadows of those around her, but when she meets Colonel Charles Lindbergh, fresh off his celebrated 1927 solo flight across the Atlantic, the famous aviator sees a kindred sprit, a fellow adventurer. Married in a headline-making wedding, her fairy-tale life brings heartbreak and hardships, and ultimately pushes her to reconcile her need for love and her desire for independence.

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The Paris Wife
by Paula McLain

With extraordinary prose, skill, and heart, Paula McLain paints a gorgeous portrait of Jazz Age Paris through the eyes of Hadley and Ernest Hemingway. The young couple has just moved to France after a whirlwind romance and marriage. When they arrive they find themselves swept up in the new it crowd which includes a cast of characters, like Gertrude Stein and F. Scott Fitzgerald. But with all the competition and the many rival egos, Hadley sees her new husband bow to the lure of hard drinking and womanizing. She must fight for her marriage and her values, all while noticeably being the muse for what would become his acclaimed novel THE SUN ALSO RISES. Told by a masterful storyteller, THE PARIS WIFE is a tale of questioning one’s morality and sense of self. An instant classic upon its release it has gone on to be a book club favorite all across the country.
Read the full review of THE PARIS WIFE.

Read the full review of THE PARIS WIFE.

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The Paris Wife
Paula McLain

This deeply intimate novel captures the love affair between two unforgettable figures: Ernest Hemingway and his first wife, Hadley Richardson. Despite their extraordinary bond, the Hemingways are ill-prepared for the hard-drinking and fast-living life of Jazz Age Paris, and they find themselves facing a deception that will lead to the unraveling of everything they’ve fought so hard for.

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MENTIONED IN:

10 Spooky Reads for a Season of Magic and Mayhem

By Sara Roncero-Menendez | October 21, 2021

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By Maddie Ehrenreich | October 20, 2021

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By Alice Martin | October 18, 2021

Authors as Magicians: 8 Books That’ll Cast a Spell on You

By Sara Roncero-Menendez | October 15, 2021

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By Off the Shelf Staff | October 14, 2021

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The Other Einstein
by Marie Benedict

All Mitza Maric wanted was to be taken seriously for the skilled mathematician that she was. She enters school as one of the first and only females in her math department and instantly begins to show up the other pupils with her quick skill and decisive thinking. When a young classmate with wild hair and a love of classical music begins to call on her, Mitza is flattered but remains focused on her education. After much time, she succumbs to the flirtations of Albert Einstein and not long after the two are wed. While Einstein continues to tinker with his Theory of Relativity, Marie Benedict paints a picture of the woman behind the man. Adding her layers to the theory papers, Mitza provides much of the backup that would shape the now-famous think piece. When the paper is published, her name is glaringly missing from the acknowledgments. It is an omission that will test Mitza’s resolve, character, and ultimately the strength of her marriage. Benedict writes a succinct yet enthralling novel that begs the question: Where on Earth would he be without her?

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The Other Einstein
Marie Benedict

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MENTIONED IN:

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By Sara Roncero-Menendez | October 15, 2021

Staff Picks: 10 Classic Novels We Truly Enjoyed Reading for School

By Off the Shelf Staff | October 14, 2021

Close
Mrs. Poe
by Lynn Cullen

In this heart-pounding take on the Frances Osgood and Edgar Allen Poe affair, Lynn Cullen casts a spell on readers with a tale of New York’s glittering literati in the 1840s. Frances Osgood is a struggling writer trying to make a name for herself. Publisher after publisher turn her poems down and tell her the only thing worth their time is something like the latest sensation—Edgar Allen Poe’s THE RAVEN. As luck would have it, Osgood and Poe meet each other at a party and instantly feel a strong connection. Poe insists that she meet his wife: a young, quiet thing who seems far too meek and mild for the dark and wonderfully mysterious Poe. But as Osgood becomes closer to the couple, she discovers that not all is as it seems—and that the young Mrs. Poe is quite adept at mind games and sinister tricks. thrown by this realization, Osgood is unsure of her next steps. The reader may walk away with the feeling—never mess with the Mrs.

Read the full review of MRS. POE.

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Mrs. Poe
Lynn Cullen

Lynn Cullen had me from the first paragraph.

“When given bad news, most women of my station can afford to slump onto their divans, their china cups slipping from their fingers to the carpet, their hair falling prettily from its pins, their 14 starched petticoats compacting with a plush crunch. I am not one of them.”

Read Juliette Fay’s review here.

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MENTIONED IN:

10 Spooky Reads for a Season of Magic and Mayhem

By Sara Roncero-Menendez | October 21, 2021

10 Historical Fantasy Reads to Sweep You Off Your Feet

By Maddie Ehrenreich | October 20, 2021

Brave New Words: 8 Retellings That Put Fresh Twists on Classic Tales

By Sarah Walsh | October 19, 2021

New in Paperback: 9 October Reads More Exhilarating Than a Haunted House

By Alice Martin | October 18, 2021

Authors as Magicians: 8 Books That’ll Cast a Spell on You

By Sara Roncero-Menendez | October 15, 2021

Staff Picks: 10 Classic Novels We Truly Enjoyed Reading for School

By Off the Shelf Staff | October 14, 2021

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