For those who love historical fiction -- books that blend factual characters or occurrences with imagined ones -- we’ve selected a few of the genre’s best.

Ragtime by E.L. Doctorow. Set in the early twentieth century, this influential novel examines life at the family level as immigrants flood into the United States. Doctorow folds many real historical figures, including Harry Houdini, Booker T. Washington, and Henry Ford, into his invented story line.

Lincoln: A Novel by Gore Vidal. Abraham Lincoln is perhaps the subject of more English-language biographies than anyone else. Vidal, an acknowledged man of letters, adds to the flood with his fictionalized biography that delves not only into the mind of Lincoln but also into the thoughts of the people closest to him.

Alaska: A Novel by James A. Michener. A prolific novelist, Michener regularly built his fiction around geography rather than individuals. Though his writing style seems hackneyed at times and the protagonists can be shallow, his vast research combined with his imaginative story lines has led to best seller after best seller.