THE PARAMOUR
KNOWS MORE

Historically based novels that put the
mistress front-and-center

I've always been a believer that fiction can represent history in a much more true-to-life way than what's learned from textbooks, but I've only recently turned to the kind of historical fiction that explores the "what-if's" of real people who are only peripherally mentioned in the official record. The mistresses of important historical figures, for example.

Because of the clandestine nature of these women's relationship to history, their stories are half-formed at best. Each novel on this list works to fill in those gaps—via historical fact and a whole lot of imagination. Full of drama, passion, deception and fact-filled tidbits, these tales make it oh-so-satisfying to experience life as the mistress—if only for the time it takes to get to the end of the audiobook. Enjoy! (I won't tell if you don't tell.) —Tricia, Audible Editor





    • Freud's Mistress

    • By: Karen Mack, Jennifer Kaufman
    • Narrated by: Suzanne Toren
    • Length: 10 hrs and 57 mins
    • Unabridged
    • Overall
      3.5 out of 5 stars 66
    • Performance
      4 out of 5 stars 60
    • Story
      3.5 out of 5 stars 59

    A page-turning novel inspired by the true-life love affair between Sigmund Freud and his sister-in-law....

    • 3 out of 5 stars
    • What a Super Ego

    • By Mel on 07-12-13
    • By: Karen Mack, Jennifer Kaufman
    • Narrated by: Suzanne Toren
    • Length: 10 hrs and 57 mins
    • Release date: 07-09-13
    • 3.5 out of 5 stars 66 ratings
    • Sisters and Husband
    • Victorian-era Vienna—and the fascination with the new science of psychoanalysis and a drug-fueled intellectualism—sets the backdrop to this scandalous family drama. While I’d prefer the mistress to be a little more critical of this particular lover, Minna Bernay nonetheless has her own take on the then-revolutionary ideas she so passionately explores with her brother-in-law, Sigmund Freud.
    • Mistress Shakespeare

    • A Novel
    • By: Karen Harper
    • Narrated by: Anne Flosnik
    • Length: 11 hrs and 36 mins
    • Unabridged
    • Overall
      4 out of 5 stars 23
    • Performance
      4.5 out of 5 stars 12
    • Story
      4 out of 5 stars 14

    Spanning half a century of Elizabethan and Jacobean history and sweeping from the lowest reaches of society to the royal court, this novel tells the real story of Shakespeare in love....

    • A Novel
    • By: Karen Harper
    • Narrated by: Anne Flosnik
    • Length: 11 hrs and 36 mins
    • Release date: 02-05-09
    • 4 out of 5 stars 23 ratings
    • 'Wife Not of His Hearth But of His Heart'
    • Spun from scarce, intriguing snippets in the historical record, this fictionalized autobiography of William Shakespeare’s first (and secret) wife reveals Anne Whately to be the bard’s true muse. From the time they were children in Stratford-upon-Avon, through more than half a century, Anne and Will Will (as he’s referred to in this book) again and again separate and come back together. They survive deaths of friends and family members, political witch hunts, fire and plague, despair, and phenomenal success.
    • Carnegie's Maid

    • A Novel
    • By: Marie Benedict
    • Narrated by: Alana Kerr Collins
    • Length: 9 hrs and 1 min
    • Unabridged
    • Overall
      4.5 out of 5 stars 718
    • Performance
      4.5 out of 5 stars 669
    • Story
      4.5 out of 5 stars 665

    From the author of The Other Einstein, the mesmerizing tale of what kind of woman could have inspired an American dynasty....

    • 5 out of 5 stars
    • Very entertaining

    • By Mary Wardrop on 01-31-18
    • A Novel
    • By: Marie Benedict
    • Narrated by: Alana Kerr Collins
    • Length: 9 hrs and 1 min
    • Release date: 01-16-18
    • 4.5 out of 5 stars 718 ratings
    • Love and Generosity In Turn-of-the-Century Pittsburgh
    • Is it possible that a poor Irish immigrant doing domestic work for an American dynasty was the true inspiration that sparked the philanthropic works of Andrew Carnegie? Clara Kelley is a resourceful young woman who becomes a priceless part of the household. But just how far did her influence go?
    • Mrs. Hemingway

    • By: Naomi Wood
    • Narrated by: Kate Reading
    • Length: 9 hrs and 4 mins
    • Unabridged
    • Overall
      4 out of 5 stars 86
    • Performance
      4 out of 5 stars 71
    • Story
      4 out of 5 stars 69

    Summer, 1926. Ernest Hemingway and his wife, Hadley, take refuge from the heat of Paris in a villa in the south of France. But wherever they go they are accompanied by the glamorous and irrepressible Fife....

    • 5 out of 5 stars
    • EXTRAORDINARY

    • By Savannah B on 08-26-16
    • By: Naomi Wood
    • Narrated by: Kate Reading
    • Length: 9 hrs and 4 mins
    • Release date: 05-27-14
    • 4 out of 5 stars 86 ratings
    • Paramour Becomes Wife X Four
    • Okay. So what if he put a ring on it? Hemingway's four wives were all secondary to his writing. Still, they did have good times in glamorous places like Paris, Key West, Cuba, and Idaho (yes, Idaho has its allure!) Whatever you think of this man's writing and behavior, it's certainly eye-opening to look at his life and work through the perspective of each of these four women.
    • The Summer I Met Jack

    • A Novel
    • By: Michelle Gable
    • Narrated by: Ilyana Kadushin
    • Length: 17 hrs and 20 mins
    • Unabridged
    • Overall
      4 out of 5 stars 48
    • Performance
      4 out of 5 stars 47
    • Story
      4 out of 5 stars 47

    In 1950, a young, beautiful Polish refugee arrives in Hyannisport, Massachusetts, to work as a maid for one of the wealthiest families in America....

    • 3 out of 5 stars
    • Just meh for me.

    • By Kathleen on 08-11-18
    • A Novel
    • By: Michelle Gable
    • Narrated by: Ilyana Kadushin
    • Length: 17 hrs and 20 mins
    • Release date: 05-29-18
    • 4 out of 5 stars 48 ratings
    • Falling Under that Kennedy Spell
    • Just when you thought you’d heard everything there was to hear about the Kennedys: meet Alicia Corning Clark. While so much of her relationship with JFK has remained secret, this book takes what little is known and blows it up into a fascinating tale of a young Polish immigrant who eventually moves on to live a life full of excitement, but will forever long for that lovely young man she first met in Hyannisport, Massachussets.
    • Lucy

    • A Novel
    • By: Ellen Feldman
    • Narrated by: Carrington Macduffie
    • Length: 7 hrs and 56 mins
    • Unabridged
    • Overall
      4 out of 5 stars 39
    • Performance
      4 out of 5 stars 17
    • Story
      4 out of 5 stars 16

    An utterly absorbing novel about a famous political marriage and an epic infidelity.....

    • 5 out of 5 stars
    • Superb Book

    • By Kensington Reviewer on 08-01-05
    • A Novel
    • By: Ellen Feldman
    • Narrated by: Carrington Macduffie
    • Length: 7 hrs and 56 mins
    • Release date: 12-16-04
    • 4 out of 5 stars 39 ratings
    • A Most Discrete Mistress
    • This is how they did it back when secrets could be kept in Washington D. C. (for good or for bad). Told completely from the point of view of Lucy Mercer, Eleanor Roosevelt’s real-life social secretary, Lucy is an entertaining and richly detailed depiction of the love affair she had with Franklin D. Roosevelt. It is also a vivid and accurate account of that crucial period in world history between both world wars.
    • White Houses

    • A Novel
    • By: Amy Bloom
    • Narrated by: Tonya Cornelisse
    • Length: 6 hrs and 41 mins
    • Unabridged
    • Overall
      3.5 out of 5 stars 321
    • Performance
      4 out of 5 stars 284
    • Story
      3.5 out of 5 stars 285

    Hick's bond with Eleanor is tested by forces both extraordinary and common, and as she grows as a woman and a writer, she never loses sight of the love of her life....

    • 5 out of 5 stars
    • I loved this story

    • By Joy Siegel on 03-03-18
    • A Novel
    • By: Amy Bloom
    • Narrated by: Tonya Cornelisse
    • Length: 6 hrs and 41 mins
    • Release date: 02-13-18
    • 3.5 out of 5 stars 321 ratings
    • First Lady and First Friend
    • No one was closer to Eleanor Roosevelt than Lorena "Hick" Hickok. Their relationship was clearly built from a long-standing respect and love for each other—and while it was something of an open secret, surprisingly, no one really gossiped about this unconventional (for the time) pairing.
    • Nell Gwyn

    • Mistress to a King
    • By: Charles Beauclerk
    • Narrated by: Alex Wyndham
    • Length: 15 hrs and 5 mins
    • Unabridged
    • Overall
      4 out of 5 stars 5
    • Performance
      4 out of 5 stars 5
    • Story
      4 out of 5 stars 5

    Written by a direct descendant of the union between Nell Gwyn and King Charles II, Nell Gwyn tells the story of one of England's great folk heroines....

    • Mistress to a King
    • By: Charles Beauclerk
    • Narrated by: Alex Wyndham
    • Length: 15 hrs and 5 mins
    • Release date: 04-28-14
    • 4 out of 5 stars 5 ratings
    • How to Woo a King
    • Author Charles Beauclerk is a direct descendent of Charles II and one of history's most famous mistresses, Nell Gwyn. Charles was king and Nell started out as a child of the streets and daughter of a madam. This is the story of their 17-year affair colored by all of the cultural changes going on during the period of England’s great Restoration.