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Familiar Faces, Fascinating Lives

by Book Geniuses on 2020-03-06T15:20:00-06:00 in Fiction, Books & Reading | Comments

If you’re looking for an escape, why not immerse yourself in the extravagant, turbulent, or inspiring life of a famous person? We’ve selected several movie and book pairings featuring fictionalized versions of epic lives.

Despite several best actress wins for Renée Zellweger’s portrayal of Judy Garland, Judy was missed by many moviegoers. The captivating biopic follows Garland through her final years; readers can cross paths with the famed actress in her youth in Elizabeth Letts' Finding Dorothy. Told through the eyes of Maud Gage Baum, wife of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz author L. Frank Baum, Letts' novel is a charming story of an unlikely friendship and a life-changing film.

At the intersection of politics and glamour there is Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy Onassis. Natalie Portman’s acclaimed portrayal of her in the film Jackie focuses on the immediate aftermath of John F. Kennedy’s assassination. Follow the ups and downs of Jackie's life in Stephanie Marie Thornton’s new novel, And They Called It Camelot, an intimate look at her as a young woman and her struggle to retain her identity in the inescapable public eye. 

If you haven’t watched The Crown yet, you’ve probably heard someone gushing about the dramatic portrayal of the House of Windsor. Like the first two seasons of the acclaimed Netflix series, Jennifer Robson's The Gown focuses on a young Queen Elizabeth II. This well-researched historical novel connects the present day with the hustle and bustle of Elizabeth and Phillip's 1947 royal wedding, giving attention to memorable friendships as well as the craftsmanship of dress-making for the future queen.

The time-traveling rom-com Midnight in Paris features a veritable who’s who of the 1920s creative scene in the City of Lights. Author Paula McLain takes readers to a more serious and moving 1920s France in The Paris Wife, a fictionalized account of Hadley Richardson's journey of romance and regrets with Ernest Hemingway. Like Midnight in Paris, there are plenty of cameos by famed literary figures here.

At Eternity's Gate is a vivid portrait of Vincent Van Gogh’s final years, masterfully portrayed by actor Willem Dafoe. Delve into the early years of Van Gogh’s intense life with The Season of Migration by Nellie Hermann. Fans of beautiful writing will appreciate this tender and lyrical story based on imaginary letters from the troubled young Van Gogh to his beloved brother Theo.

If you’re looking for a captivating ensemble show, Home Fires is inspired by the true stories of the Women's Institute, a World War II–era community organization in England. Depicting the everyday lives of extraordinary women getting by on the home front, this two-season series may not be a genuine biopic, but it combines historical fact with creative license to make for great viewing. Continue your journey to wartime England with The Chilbury Ladies' Choir by Jennifer Ryan, telling the trials and triumphs of small-town women through their letters and journals.

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