Books that Take Place in Ohio – Ohio Fiction – Novels Set in Ohio

Books Set in Ohio - Ohio Novels - Free Ohio Fiction Online - Books that take place in Ohio

Books that take place in Ohio, fiction novels set in Ohio. Free online, often by Ohio authors. Many works of historical fiction.

Collection of Ohio Fiction Books

Ohio Fiction Collection

Books set in Ohio. A collection of about 700 free online Ohio novels. Most are books set in Ohio, or were written by Ohio authors. Some authors are: Toni Morrison, Mary Monroe, Richard Bachman, Robert Lawson, Jennifer Crusie, Janet Dailey, Donald Ray Pollock, Susan Donovan, Kim Harrison, Nelson DeMille, Harry Turtledove, Sarah Strohmeyer, Erin McCarthy, Sherwood Anderson, Kathleen Ernst, Sharon M. Draper, Kathleen Fuller, Michael Koryta, Michelle Jerott, Vickie M. Stringer, Salvatore Scibona, Dawn Powell, Bernard F. Conners, Trisha Alexander, Dawn Powell, Brooks Hansen, Les Roberts, Bonnie Himan, Kathleen Ann Goonan, Lynda Durrant.

Suggested Ohio Novels

To Keep Us Free

Allis, Marguerite
Putnam 1952       

Ohio novel about the development of the Ohio country from 1797 to 1815; settlement at Marietta; founding of Cleveland; the first census; the Burr-Blennerhassett conspiracy; and the War of 1812.

Winesburg Ohio; A Group of Tales of Ohio Small Town Life

Anderson, Sherwood
NY: Modern Library 1919

“A series of twenty-three vignettes. Winesburg, Ohio is a character study of a small town. It highlights individual residents and scrutinizes who they are and why this reality often conflicts with their dreams. The short stories are linked through George Willard, a young newspaper reporter who is disenchanted with the narrow-mindedness of small towns.” Shapiro.

See the Menu at the top of every page for Directories of Free Online Fiction and NonFiction Books, Magazines, and more, on 400 pages like this at Century Past

The Farm

Bromfield, Louis
Harper 1946       

“In this chronicle of four generations of his family, Mr. Bromfield has written a social history of the Middle West, especially of Mansfield, the background of his early book. (The Green Bay Tree). He tells the story of the family from 1815, when the great-grandfather, the Colonel, settled in Ohio, to the time when the great-grandson departs for the [first] World War. About the grandfather’s farm centered the life of the entire family—a vast array of aunts and uncles. Throughout the book [the author] laments the disappearance from American life of integrity and idealism, destroyed, he believes by an unscrupulous New England industrialism, a nostalgia, often bitter, flavors the whole tale.

When the Bough Breaks

Carney, Otis
Houghton 1957       

Bud Floyd, son of Middle Western tycoon Lee Floyd, makes an effort to prove his own worth after Princeton and the service by starting a magazine with his college roommate, Alec. In New York he meets and marries Deb, rebellious daughter of the Midwestern upper middle class. The magazine appears to Bud to be hopeless, so he withdraws against the wishes of Deb and Alec, to join big business in Deb’s home town, putting their marriage under the surveillance of her parents and in the midst of suburbia.

See our Mills and Boon free online reads

Flatboats and Wagon Wheels

Comfort, Mildred H, and Dirk Gringhuis
Chicago: Beckley-Cardy 1948

Juvenile fiction from the mid-20th century. The story is about two children of the 1780s who, with their parents, leave their Pennsylvania farm and travel to the Ohio frontier by flatboat to start a new life near Losantiville (Cincinnati).

Faking It

Crusie, Jennifer
St. Martin’s 2004       

“Minerva Dobbs thought David Fisk might be the one she’s been waiting for, until he dumps her three weeks before her sister Diana’s wedding. Min soon realizes just how lucky she is to be rid of David when she overhears him at her favorite bar betting a handsome stranger, Calvin Morrisey, that Cal couldn’t bed Min in a month. At first Min debates the idea of giving them both a piece of her mind, but then she remembers she still needs a date for the wedding. Why not use the all-too charming Cal just like he was going to use her, and then dump him?


DeMille, Nelson
Warner 1994       

“Keith Landry, his Cold War intelligence job a victim of the Soviet collapse, returns to the little Ohio town where he grew up and begins to tinker with thoughts of reviving the family farm. A former sweetheart, Annie, despondent after Keith went off to Vietnam, had married aggressive, good-looking Cliff Baxter on the rebound, but Keith and Annie had never ceased to correspond. Now that he’s back. the old interest is rekindled in both, but Baxter, now police chief and a womanizing petty tyrant, is fiercely jealous—and the novel takes off as a deadly struggle between a man trained in the arts of deception and one with all the built-in advantages of police power in a remote spot.” Publ Wkly.

The Evidence Against Her

Dew, Robb Forman
Little, Brown 2001       

This novel is “set in the small town of Washburn, Ohio. The story begins with three children born on the same September day in 1888, and it ends with those same three, grown and with children of their own, in the summer of 1927. Lily Scofield, her cousin Warren Scofield and Robert Butler, son of the Methodist pastor, grow up as an inseparable group. Even after Lily marries Robert in June 1913, she assumes that Warren will still somehow always be close by. (But he meets) Agnes Claytor, who was a 14-year-old guest at Lily’s wedding.” NY Times Book Rev

The Truth of the Matter

Dew, Robb Forman
Little, Brown 2005       

Second title in a trilogy about the Scofield family of Washburn, Ohio; begun with: The Evidence Against Her. “Agnes Scofield has raised her children as a widow, having lost husband Warren in a car accident in 1930. This loss permeates the way in which Agnes recalls her life—she does not feel, she represses—and affects the relationships she has with her children. During World War II, her children leave home, and Agnes adjusts to single life only to have to readjust when they return to their small Ohio town with spouses and children in tow. The family ultimately finds the homecoming unsettling, as if they are just meeting one another for the first time. Dew’s plain writing highlights the characters’ inner lives and the wartime environment, yet it carries the reader along effortlessly.” Libr J.

Through the Ivory Gate

Dove, Rita
Pantheon 1992       

“Virginia King, a talented young black woman. returns to her hometown of Akron, Ohio, as artist-in-residence at an elementary school. The story moves back and forth the present, which finds her teaching puppetry to children, and her past, which includes memories of a constricting community and family life and the liberation offered by college and her stint with a communal puppet theater.” Publ Wkly

Omensetter’s Luck

Gass, William H.
New American Library 1966       

Negro “Brackett Omensetter’s arrival in Gilean had a profound effect upon the town. To some his force and freedom of spirit was an encouragement. To minister Jethro Furber, Omensetter was a rival, with more power over Furber’s people than the minister had. And to Doc Orcutt he was a revelation of how effective a man could be.” -Book Buyer’s Guide
“An unusual poeticophilosophical novel concerned with good and evil, not easily followed but richly rewarding for the patient, perceptive reader.” -Booklist

See our free historical novels


Gold, Herbert
Random House 1967       

“The story of the persecution of Jews in Czarist Russia, the determined flight of Mr. Gold’s father to the United States when only thirteen years old, his struggle against poverty and harassment by racketeers, and his eventual success. It is also a story of the conflict between immigrant parents and first generation Americans.’ Library J

Therefore Be Bold

Gold, Herbert
Dial 1960       

Story of a Jewish boy growing up in a non-Jewish suburb of Cleveland, Ohio in the 1930’s.

Betty Zane

Grey, Zane
Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press 1903

Betty Zane was a real woman, one of the great heroines of the American Revolution. She was one of the pioneers who moved westward from Virginia at the end of the eighteenth century into the wilderness beyond the mountains. Zane Grey tells of the daily struggles and hardships of her frontier life, of her romance with Alfred Clarke, of the continual warfare with the Indians, of the burning of her settlement and of her dramatic escape from both the Indians and the British in the last battle of the American Revolution.
Pearl Zane Grey (1872-1939), born in Zanesville, OH, was best known for his popular adventure novels and stories that presented an idealized image of the American frontier. Over 100 films have been produced from his books.

A Tree Full of Stars

Grubb, Davis
Scribner 1965       

A sentimental tale of Christmas in a small Ohio town during the Depression.

See our free women’s fiction books

Trumpet in the Wilderness

Harper, Robert S.
New York: M.S. Mill 1940

This adventure story about the War of 1812 in the west opens in 1813 with Jubal Johnson, recently a clerk in Philadelphia but now a sergeant and aide to Colonel Lewis Cass, marching across the Ohio wilderness with an army headed for battle in Detroit.

The Quiet Shore

Havighurst, Walter
Macmillan 1937       

Homesteading on Lake Erie just after the Civil War, and the growth of industry in Ohio.

You’ll Like My Mother

Hintze, Naomi A.
Putnam 1969       

A “Red mask mystery” “Another modern Gothic (this suspense-horror tale) has a haunted house in Always, a small town on the Ohio, where Francesca Kinsolving (in her ninth month of pregnancy) comes to meet for the first time the mother of her dead husband.” -Library J

See our page of books set in Indiana

The Jazz Bird

Holden, Craig
Simon & Schuster 2002       

“Charlie Taft is a prosecutor in late 1920s Cincinnati. When bootlegger George Remus turns himself in, in October 1927, for shooting his society wife, Imogene, Charlie thinks he’s been handed a career maker. But all is not as simple as it seems.” Publ Wkly
This novel “is based on an actual murder that place in Cincinnati in 1927. In addition to its exploration of the Remus murder case, the book offers a portrait of a now-lost Cincinnati, with its jazz clubs, its great Roebling suspension bridge and its neighborhoods with names like Over the Rhine and Eden Park.” N Y Times Book Rev.

Stories of Ohio

Howells, William Dean
NY: American Book 1897

William Dean Howells (1837-1920) was the son of a newspaper editor who moved often around Ohio. He was a very influential fiction writer, editor and critic. He served as the editor of The Atlantic from 1871 to 1881, and played an important part in the rise of the Literary Realism movement in the U.S.

“This book is a successful attempt to present an outline view of the history of Ohio from the earliest times, in the form of stories drawn from the annals of the state. The stories are true to the essential facts of history, and are told in Mr. Howells’s well-known style. As a matter of course, it is much fuller in the pioneer period than in the later period, and throws far more light upon what may lie called the strictly social side of life than upon the political and civic side. The book is intended for young readers, especially pupils in the public schools.”
– Literature of American History; a bibliographical guide (1902)

Follow the River

Mayer, Albert I.
Doubleday 1969       

A long tale of frontier settlement and Indian fighting in the Ohio country in the 1790’s. The hero journeys down the Ohio River to Cincinnati to teach; later joins General Josiah Harmar’s expedition against the Indians along the Maumee River.

See our books about cities and other places in Ohio


Morrison, Toni
Knopf 1974       

Winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature. This “is the story of two black women friends and of their community of Medallion, Ohio. The community has been stunted and turned inward by the racism of the larger society. The rage and disordered lives of the townspeople are seen as a reaction to their stifled hopes. The novel follows the lives of Sula and Nel from childhood to maturity to death.”

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