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Books Set in Wisconsin – Wisconsin Authors

Books Set in Wisconsin - Authors - Novels - Fiction

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Wisconsin Fiction Collection

Novels set in Wisconsin. This group of about 350 modern books by major publishers, free and online, was found in a search for ‘Wisconsin Fiction’ in the Internet Archive book collection. The metadata in their database entries indicates that these are books that take place in Wisconsin.
Some authors are: Lori Wick, Celia Wilkins, LaVyrle Spencer, Stephen King, Laura Ingalls Wilder, Katherine Hannigan, Maria D. Wilkes, P. J. Tracy, Carol Ryrie Brink, Lyn Cote, Ann Packer, Michelle Jerott, Fran Shaff, Rosalind Noonan, John R. Riggs, Kathryn Quick, Betty Ren Wright.

Midnight Champagne; A Novel – Book Set in Wisconsin

Ansay, A. Manette
Morrow 1999

“A snowbound wedding at a brothel turned resort in Wisconsin is the setting for this hectic, entertaining tale about love and compromise. Can arty, beleaguered April find happiness with Caleb, the earnest son of a fundaentalist minister? Ansay creates a zany tribunal from the guest list—spurned aunts, awkward teen-agers, a grandmother who searches for lucky pennies as if her life depended on it—and by the novel’s end the answer is that everyone, including the reader, hopes so.” -New Yorker. Books set in Wisconsin.

River Angel: A Novel – Book Set in Wisconsin

Ansay, A. Manette
Morrow 1998 Dewey Dec. 973.91

“A rural legend—of an angel watching over a river— provides the framework for this . . . novel about faith
and its power to transform individuals and a community. When odd, overweight Gabriel Carpenter comes to Ambient, Wisconsin, he’s taunted by other children and instantly disliked by his fifth-grade teacher. One night, teenagers, drinking and up to no good, take Gabriel to the bridge, where he somehow jumps, slips, or is pushed into the river; then his body is found, warm and fragrant, lying in a distant barn, presumably delivered there by the river angel. The legend is reborn, the barn becomes a shrine, and a small town struggling with progress is given new life.” Booklist.

My Uncle Jan – Books Set in Wisconsin

Auslander, Joseph and Wordemann, Audrey
Longmans 1948

Old World customs and festivals among an ebullient family of Czech immigrants, set in Wisconsin in the 1800’s.

The Night of the Ripper – Wisconsin Author

Bloch, Robert
TOR 1986

A novel based on the Jack the Ripper murders in London, 1888.

The Women – Novels Set in Wisconsin

Boyle, T. Coraghessan
Viking 2009

“A fictional account of Frank Lloyd Wright’s life, told through his relationships with four women: the young Montenegrin dancer Olgivanna; Miriam, the “morphine-addicted and obsessive Southern belle”; Mamah, whose life ended in a massacre at Taliesin, the home Wright built for his lovers and wives; and his first wife, Kitty, the mother of six of his children.” -Wikipedia

Caddie Woodlawn – Novels Set in Wisconsin

Brink, Carol
Macmillan 1935

Chronicles the adventures of eleven-year-old Caddie growing up with her six brothers and sisters on the Wisconsin frontier in the mid-nineteenth century.

Shotgun Lovesongs – Novels Set in Wisconsin

Butler, Nickolas
Picador 2015

“Shotgun Lovesongs is about a hometown in Wisconsin and the close band of friends who will always feel its magnetic pull. … The most lyrical parts of this big-hearted book are about how all the characters, including the star, are almost physically drawn to the town and one another. … Impressively original.” –The New York Times “Sparkles in every way. A love letter to the open lonely American heartland…A must-read.” –People

The Hills Stand Watch – Novels Set in Wisconsin

Derleth, August
NY: Duell, Sloan & Pierce 1960

Pioneer life in a small lead-mining town in Wisconsin in the 1840’s; local politics and the movement toward statehood, trouble with the Indians, and details of lead mining. Books set in Wisconsin.
August Derleth (1909 -1971) was raised in Sauk City, WI, and wrote many works about Sauk City and Prairie du Sac, in a collection he called the “Sac Prairie Saga”. He was an incredibly prolific writer, publishing, in his own estimate, upward of 3,000 individual works in approximately 350 magazines, in addition to numerous books.

The House on the Mound – Wisconsin Author

Derleth, August
Duell 1958

The adventures of Hercules Dousman, an agent of the John Jacob Astor fur trading company in the Northwest Territory, and railroad builder.

The Shadow in the Grass – Book Set in Wisconsin

Derleth, August
Duell 1963

Biographical novel of Nelson Dewey, first governor of Wisconsin, who came to Wisconsin Territory from New York in 1836.

We have hundreds of Free Novels set in different places in the U.S.

Big River, Big Man – Book Set in Wisconsin

Duncan, Thomas W.
Lippincott 1959

“Jim Buckmaster, nineteenth-century Wisconsin logger turned ruthless empire builder, is only one of the focal figures in a sprawling novel that takes its many characters into the north woods, New Mexico, New England, and the Civil War South.” – Booklist

Wild Goose, Brother Goose – Book Set in Wisconsin

Ellis, Mel
Grosset and Dunlap 1971

“In this warm and beautifully written novel, well-known outdoorsman and wildlife expert Mel Ellis recounts the adventures and journeys of Duke, a wild Canada goose, during a two-year period of his life. Based on Mr. Ellis’s keen observations of a real gander’s experiences, the story is an exciting saga of Duke’s incredible will to live as he faces almost certain disasters in the form of hunters’ guns, traps, tornadoes, etc.” – Book cover.
Author Mel Ellis (1912-1984) grew up on a farm near Beaver Dam, WI, where he learned trapping and hunting from his father. After WWII service in the U.S. Army Air Force he worked for newspapers, and for 16 years was the Outdoors Editor for the Milwaukee Journal.

Buttered Side Down; Stories – Wisconsin Author

Ferber, Edna
NY: Grosset & Dunlap 1912

For biographical info of Edna Ferber, see her other entry on this page.

A dozen stories of breadwinners, women chiefly, whose bread invariably falls with the buttered side down. The types are chosen from among shop girls principally, and they are portrayed not as duncolored strugglers, pitiful to contemplate, but valiant or depressed, they are romantic human beings, experiencing the emotions which make all the world kin. Humor and crisp dialog abound as in the author’s “Dawn O’Hara.” The stories are The frog and the puddle: The man who came back: What she wore; A bush league hero; The kitchen side of the door; One of the old girls; Maymeys from Cuba; The leading lady; That home-town feeling; The homely heroine; Sun dried; Where the car turns at 18th.
– Book Review Digest
“Exceedingly slangy, occasionally flippant, amusing and uncommonly real stories of shopgirls, stenographers, actresses and other working women.”
– A. L. A. Booklist

Come and Get It – Wisconsin Fiction Books

Ferber, Edna
Doubleday 1935

“This story relates realistically the rise and fall of the lumber industry in Wisconsin and Michigan from 1850 to date. Of good Scotch-Irish stock, Barney Glasgow was a smart chore-boy who rose fast, married the boss’s daughter, owned the great paper-mills and camps, and at fifty-three was the richest man in Wisconsin. The story swings from the family home at Butte de Morts on Lake Winnebago to the north woods camps, to Europe, and back during the financial crash, closing with Barney’s two grandchildren. The title is a camp cook’s call to meals.” -Booklist.

Fanny Herself – Wisconsin Fiction Books

Ferber, Edna
NY: Grosset and Dunlap 1917

Born in Kalamazoo, MI, Ferber (1885-1968) moved with her family to Chicago and Iowa before settling in Appleton, WI at age 12. After graduating from high school, she was a reporter on the Appleton Daily Crescent and later the Milwaukee Journal before publishing her first novel. Fanny Herself, a story of a young girl coming of age in Appleton at the turn of the 20th century, is generally considered to have been based on Ferber’s own experiences. Regarded by many as the “greatest American woman novelist of her day,” Ferber would go on to win the Pulitzer Prize in 1925 for So Big. She was also the author of Showboat and Cimarron, which along with other of her later works were successfully adapted for stage and screen. Three of her books were developed into musicals.

Miss Lulu Bett; An American Comedy of Manners – Wisconsin Authors

Gale, Zona
NY: Appleton 1921

Zona Gale (1874-1938) was an author and playwright, and was the first woman to win the Pulitzer Prize for Drama, in 1921. Born in Portage, WI, she attended Wayland Academy in Beaver Dam and received Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She then worked for six years at newspapers in Milwaukee and New York before returning to Portage, where she lived and worked for the rest of her life. In 1920 she published the novel Miss Lulu Bett, and then adapted it for a play. It was this play that won the Pulitzer. In addition to being a prolific writer, Gale was very active in progressive political causes. You can find her autobiography on the Wisconsin Biography page of this website.

This play, which was awarded the Pulitzer drama prize for 1921 as the best American play of the year, is a dramatization of the novel of the same name. It has been given on the stage with two different endings, both of which have been included in the present volume. – Book Review Digest

See also: Books about 19th Century American Women Authors

Coming Home To Wisconsin – Books Set in Wisconsin

Gard, Robert E.
Stanton & Lee 1982

Stories from the author’s life in Wisconsin.

Rose of Dutcher’s Coolly – Books Set in Wisconsin

Garland, Hamlin
Chicago: Stone and Kimball 1895

Hamlin Garland (1860-1940) was born in West Salem, WI and grew up on a succession of homesteads in Iowa and South Dakota. He moved to Chicago in 1893, where he wrote this novel. He was a well-known authority on pioneer life, as well as a novelist, short story writer, poet, biographer, lecturer and traveler. Memories of his boyhood days on a Wisconsin farm furnished him with themes for his work.

“Widely regarded as the best of Hamlin Garland’s novels, Rose of Dutcher’s Coolly tells the story of a country girl of precocious ability who is raised by her widower father on a small Wisconsin farm. She wants to be a poet and eventually attends the university, where her talent is encouraged. A carefully crafted defense of the New Woman, the first generation of women to achieve economic and social independence, Rose of Dutcher’s Coolly deals with issues that are still with us-the nature of femininity, the problem of reconciling career and family, the meaning of “love,” and the need for equal opportunity. Above all, it records a nineteenth-century man’s vision of a world that still eludes us, one in which men and women are equal partners.” – from Google Books.

Trail-makers of the Middle Border – Books Set in Wisconsin

Garland, Hamlin
NY: Macmillan 1926

Pictures of three generations of pioneers in Wisconsin. See the note about the author at Rose of Dutcher’s Coolly, on this web page.

A Map of the World – Books that Take Place in Wisconsin

Hamilton, Jane
Doubleday 1994

Jane Hamilton (born 1957) is a best-selling author who lives and writes in a farmhouse near Rochester, Wisconsin. Several of her works have been selections of Oprah’s Book Club.
“Alice Goodwin is caring for her best friend’s children when two-year-old Lizzy Collins wanders to the pond on the Goodwin farm and drowns. The consequences of this tragedy reverberate through a small Wisconsin community, which never accepted Howard and Alice Goodwin. Theresa Collins, bereft at losing a child and a dear friend, draws on her Catholic religion and finds forgiveness. Alice, immobilized by guilt and grief and unable to function as a wife or mother to her own two daughters, is charged with abusing children in her part-time job as a school nurse.” -Libr J.

Free Historical novels set in different countries around the world

The Art of Fielding – Books that Take Place in Wisconsin

Harbach, Chad
Fourth Estate 2012

A disastrous error on the field sends five lives into a tailspin in this widely acclaimed tale about love, life, and baseball, praised by the New York Times as “wonderful…a novel that is every bit as entertaining as it is affecting.”

Named one of the year’s best books by the New York Times, NPR, The New Yorker, Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, Christian Science Monitor, Bloomberg, Kansas City Star, Richmond Times-Dispatch, and Time Out New York.

Loving Frank – Books that Take Place in Wisconsin

Horan, Nancy
Ballantine 2007

Mamah Borthwick Cheney begins a clandestine love affair with Frank Lloyd Wright a few years after she and her husband commissioned the renowned architect to design a new home for her and her husband. Over time this powerful attraction sends them on a course that would send shockwaves to the big city of Chicago.

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