Lori Hart Beninger

Historical Fiction

Author of a critically acclaimed historical novel series

Lori Hart Beninger is the author of three critically acclaimed historical novels (Embracing the ElephantA Veil of Fog and Flames and A Peculiar Peace). The books follow two 19th century teenagers as they struggle with survival and acceptance in the pivotal era of the California Gold Rush, survive the wilds of early San Francisco, then plunge into the American Civil War.

An Ordinary Tragedy, Beninger’s first foray into non-fiction, was published in October of 2016. It is the true story of her younger brother’s tumultuous life as a convicted felon by the age of eighteen.

Although originally from Southern California, for many years Beninger has been happy to call the San Francisco Bay her home. She lives there with her husband Matt and a plethora of goofy pets, enjoying the company of diverse and interesting family members and friends.

First published in 2012, Beninger has nonetheless been writing since the age of 11, always looking for interesting people and circumstances with which to populate her works. She volunteers as a tutor at local grade schools to teach reading (fundamental!) and environmental awareness.

Read our review of Embracing the Elephant here, and learn more about Beninger on her website.


Embracing the Elephant (2012)

A Veil of Fog and Flames (2015)

A Peculiar Peace (2020)

An Ordinary Tragedy (2016)

Your biggest literary influences:

John Steinbeck, Edgar Allan Poe, J.K. Rowling (for her ability to create a world), Stephen King (I know, I know – but he’s a good writer even if he’s frozen in a pop genre), Susanna Clark, David McCullough (for his ability to make history read like a novel); specific books by the following authors: Stephanie Kallos (Broken for You), Michael Chabot (The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay), Jennifer Egan (The Keep), Anne Rice (Cry to Heaven), too many to name!

Last book read:

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

The book that changed your life:

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte, as it sparked the desire in me to write.

Your favorite literary character:

Atticus Finch in To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee, for his compassion (in the first book – I’ve not read the second, but I hear he’s not so nice in that one!).

Currently working on:

The fourth and final book in the Embracing the Elephant series.

Words to live by:

“There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.” – Ernest Hemingway.

Advice for aspiring authors:

Keep going and keep yourself open to constructive criticism from knowledgeable people.


ForwardReviews on Embracing the Elephant, A Veil of Fog and Flames and An Ordinary Tragedy

Historical Novel Society on Embracing the Elephant

Booklife review of A Peculiar Peace