From colonial times to the twentieth century, here are some novels featuring the famous and the infamous.
Benjamin Franklin’s Bastard: A Novel, written by Sally Cabot, is about William Franklin, the son of Benjamin. He is appointed Royal Governor of New Jersey by the British Crown. Problems arise when he doesn’t support the colonies’ fight for independence.
Fates and Traitors: A Novel of John Wilkes Booth is written by Jennifer Chiaverini. It tells the story of Abraham Lincoln’s assassin, as interpreted by the four women closest to him: his mother, sister, lover, and a Confederate widow.
Tom & Lucky and (George & Cokey Flo): A Novel is written by C. Joseph Greaves. It is based on the 1936 trial of “Lucky” Luciano, who is being prosecuted by Thomas E. Dewey and defended by George Morton Levy. It portrays a corrupt criminal justice system.
Paradise Sky, written by Joe R. Lansdale, is the story of Nat Love, an African-American cowboy who went by the nickname “Deadwood Dick”. He becomes an expert marksman, a Buffalo soldier, and a friend of Wild Bill Hickok.
Sutton: A Novel is written by J.R. Moehringer. It is about Willie Sutton, well-known bank robber of the twentieth century. It includes his many escapades, jail escapes, and the final pardon of this very popular criminal.
Thomas Jefferson Dreams of Sally Hemings, written by Stephen O’Connor, describes the first years of the 37-year relationship between Jefferson and Hemings, when both were in Paris. It examines the conflict between Jefferson’s ideals and the institution of slavery.
West of Sunset: A Novel is written by Stewart O’Nan. It describes the last three years of writer F. Scott Fitzgerald’s life where, while his wife is institutionalized, he works as a Hollywood screenwriter and falls in love with gossip columnist Sheilah Graham.
The Revenant: A Novel of Revenge, written by Michael Punke, also was made into a movie a few years ago. It is set in 1823, when fur trapper Hugh Glass is attacked by a grizzly bear and left for dead by the other trappers. But he survives and is driven by the desire for revenge to make his way back home across 3,000 miles.
Snowbound is written by Richard S. Wheeler. It is the story of American explorer John Fremont who is trapped in the snowbound Colorado Mountains while searching for a railway route to the West along the 38th parallel.