When True Love is Stranger than Fiction

Is fact stranger than fiction? We all love a great love story, and even more so when it’s not just true love but a true story. So, we thought you might like to discover four great novels that depict true-life love.

If you love books about literature and writers you will probably enjoy The Paris Wife by Paula McLain, which features a young Ernest Hemingway and his first wife Hadley Richardson. 
Hadley was considered to be instrumental in Hemingway’s writing career, providing him with confidence, a stable and comfortable income and an opportunity to participate in the salons of Paris in his early writing career. On its website, Random House boasts, “The Paris Wife brilliantly captures the voice and heart of Hadley Hemingway as she struggles with her roles as a woman—wife, lover, muse, friend, and mother—and tries to find her place in the intoxicating and tumultuous world of Paris in the twenties.”
Our second choice features Flannery O’Connor and Robert Lowell. Frances and Bernard by Carlene Bauer is a novel inspired by the real-life friendship between these two giants of American letters. Written with a warm charm and fierce intelligence, Frances & Bernard is a sparkling tribute to the wonder of kindred spirits and bittersweet romance. Publishers Weekly gave it a great review saying that “Bauer’s debut novel is well written, engrossing, and succeeds in making Frances and Bernard’s shared interest in religion believable and their relationship funny, sweet, and sad. A lovely surprise.”
Not to be outdone by literary giants, our next choice details the marriage of one of the most powerful couples in the world: the ex-President of the United States George W. Bush and his First Lady Laura Bush. 
American Wife by Curtis Sittenfeld is a novel based on a thinly veiled story of real Laura Bush, a shy librarian with Democratic leanings who married George W. Bush. This funny and scandalous novel, with some graphic sex scenes, is also a fascinating portrait of a very public marriage where “the pleasures and pain of intimacy and love are laid bare,” according to the offical book summary.
Finally, if you haven’t discovered it yet, Above All Things by Tanis Rideout is definitely worth hunting down. This is the haunting story of one of the greatest adventures and climbers of the 20th century, George Mallory, and his wife and soul mate Ruth Mallory (Turner).

This riveting and devastating novel focuses on the last months of their marriage recounting the disastrous 1924 Everest expedition in which George Mallory perished. It does so through the narration, diary entries and a series of love letters that Mallory and his wife Ruth exchanged during the time of this fateful expedition. We might never find out if George Mallory did or did not reach the summit, but there’s certainly no doubt that he was deeply in love with his wife. 
Want to share your favorite love stories? We would love to hear about them. 
For more great love stories, browse through our featured bookshelf of great love stories.
Happy Valentine’s Day from TheReadingRoom!