Biographical Novel

Whoever came up with the idea of mixing a biography and a novel together in the same book was a genius. Most people like to read a good novel now and then; the ones who don't like to read biographies (presumably because they're "more real"). A biographical novel gives both factions what they want, and probably makes both the biography part and the novel part more interesting.

The best books in this genre don't include spurious content, nor will they dwell so heavily on historical facts that the narrative is lost. It's a balancing act, and most writers err one way or the other, but that doesn't mean they aren't worth reading.

Quite the opposite, in fact. A well-researched biographical novel in some ways makes better reading than a straight biography, because the author is able to provide a sense of place and culture more organically. Certainly, having a biographical novel that has too much history and not enough fiction is the better way to go.

If you're using the book to learn, that is. One of the benefits of the fiction-heavy narratives is that they offer entertainment that isn't wholly escapist or irrelevant. If you're reading a novel based on the life of Robert E. Lee, for instance, you're almost sure to get something worthwhile out of it, even if half the book is just made-up dialogue.

Like our other biography genre categories, this one is meant primarily to help you narrow your search. We have a lot of biographies, and finding the one that best suits your needs can be time-consuming and frustrating. Use the links on the lefthand sidebar to filter by type of person, genre, and time period.

Review by C. Hollis Crossman
C. Hollis Crossman used to be a child. Now he is a husband and father, teaches adult Sunday school in his Presbyterian congregation, and likes weird stuff. He might be a mythical creature, but he's definitely not a centaur. Read more of his reviews here.

 

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19 Items found Print
Benjamin West and His Cat Grimalkin
by Marguerite Henry & Wesley Dennis
Reprint from Aladdin Paperbacks
for 3rd-6th grade
in Animal Stories (Location: FIC-ANI)
$6.39 $5.50 (1 in stock)
Betrayal
by Douglas Bond
from P&R Publishing
for 7th-12th grade
in Biographies (Location: O1A-BIO)
Courage to Run
Daughters of the Faith
by Wendy G. Lawton
from Moody Press
for 3rd-6th grade
in Daughters of the Faith (Location: LFIC)
$6.99
Galileo and the Stargazers - CD
by Jim Weiss
from Well-Trained Mind Press
for 4th-8th grade
$14.95
Genghis Kahn and the Mongol Horde
World Landmark #12
by Harold Lamb
from Random House
for 5th-8th grade
$12.00 (1 in stock)
Girl in a Cage
Stewart Quartet
by Jane Yolen, Robert Harris
from Speak
for 6th-9th grade
in Historical Fiction (Location: FIC-HIF)
$5.59
Governor of England
by Marjorie Bowen
from Inheritance Publications
Biography for 9th-12th grade
in Inheritance Fiction (Location: LFIC)
$17.95 $12.00 (2 in stock)
Little White Farm House in Iowa
Precious Memories Book 1: The First 10 Years
by Carol Brands
from Inheritance Publications
for 4th-9th grade
in Inheritance Fiction (Location: LFIC)
$9.00
Little Yellow Farm House in Iowa
Precious Memories Book 2: Years 11-17
by Carol Brands
from Inheritance Publications
for 4th-9th grade
in Inheritance Fiction (Location: LFIC)
$9.00
Masters of the Renaissance - Audiobook
by Jim Weiss
from Greathall Productions
for 3rd-8th grade
$14.95
Prince and Heretic
Prince of Orange Nassau Volume 1
by Marjorie Bowen
from Inheritance Publications
for 9th-Adult
in Biographies (Location: O1A-BIO)
$17.95
Robert E. Lee
Heroes in Time
by John J. Dwyer
from Broadman & Holman
Biography for 9th-Adult
in Biographies (Location: O1A-BIO)
$10.49
Shadow of His Hand
Daughters of the Faith
by Wendy G. Lawton
from Moody Press
for 3rd-6th grade
in Daughters of the Faith (Location: LFIC)
Soldier of Virginia
by Marjorie Bowen
from Inheritance Publications
Biography for 9th-12th grade
in Inheritance Fiction (Location: LFIC)
$12.95 $9.00 (2 in stock)
Stonewall
by John J. Dwyer
from Broadman & Holman
Biography for 9th-Adult
in 20th & 21st Century Literature (Location: NLIT7-20)
$11.99
The Thunder
by Douglas Bond
from P&R Publishing
for 9th-Adult
in Biographies (Location: O1A-BIO)
Unbroken
by Laura Hillenbrand
Reprint from Random House
for 11th-Adult
in 20th & 21st Century Literature (Location: NLIT7-20)
$12.80 $5.00 (3 in stock)
Unbroken
by Laura Hillenbrand
from Random House
for 11th-Adult
in 20th & 21st Century Literature (Location: NLIT7-20)
$22.40
William, by the Grace of God
Prince of Orange Nassau Volume 2
by Marjorie Bowen
from Inheritance Publications
for 9th-Adult
in Biographies (Location: O1A-BIO)
$17.95