Books Set During World War Two
Do you love historical fiction? Then I bet you would love a good World War Two read, and I have a few dynamic book recommendations.
Mandy is actually an Avon author who I work with regularly. She has an amazing backlist of World War Two titles but her debut novel A Woman of War – known as The German Midwife in the USA and Canada – is one of a kind. What if you had to be the midwife to one of Hitler’s inner circle, or your whole family will be killed? With a forbidden romance and tons of details thrown in, it’s a really addictive read.
Another Avon author! I don’t usually shout about the books I work with on my blog because I’m afraid of appearing biased, but I’m particularly proud of the historical fiction we work on. The Forbidden Promise is set in Scotland during the early years of war. It’s Constance’s 21st birthday and during her party, she is the only one to see a spitfire crash into a nearby loch. Saving the pilot she now has to keep a promise which may cost her everything. Split between 1940 and 2020 it’s a great read with a little something for everyone.
I adore Goodnight Mister Tom, to this day it remains one of my favourite childhood reads of all times. You cannot beat the perfect symmetry between children’s fiction with the realistic horrors of the war.
If you love historical fiction with a twist then Lissa Evans is a great author to visit. Crooked Heart is about a woman who takes in an evacuee – very reluctantly – as he shows great aptitude for helping her make money to pay off her debts. I’ve never read a story about the exploitation of an evacuee before, so this was quite a dark and intriguing read.
There’s nothing like satire to bring the reality of war to the forefront of a story. Catch-22 is such a fascinating read if utterly confusing at times. With no logical chronology, the story follows Yossarian and his platoon of fellow pilots in Italy during the war. Yossarian is forever trying to get out of the war as he watches his friends die one by one. It’s emotionally draw-dropping and sometimes breathtakingly funny. It’s definitely not a one-note book.
Good books written fully in letters are few and far between for some reason. It’s a cliche device that’s been over-used unsuccessfully in the past, but this is not one of those books. We’re following an author just after the end of the war, but we jump between mid-war years and later as two strangers swap books and share their experiences of wartime, in particular the creation of The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. It’s a beautiful romance with real heart.
If you enjoy a bit of gossip and some old-timey world war two fiction then you’ll love Dear Mrs Bird. This is what I think of when I think of World War fiction as it really encaptures the Blitz spirit, with a twist of unique drama. In this case, an agony aunt at a conservative magazine going too far with her responses.
Atonement is definitely a love-it or hate-it novel. I think I’m in the latter camp, but I’ve read this book three times because I should love it. The story, when broken down is stunning but I don’t gel with Ian McEwan’s writing personally. However, that being said it is still very much a good World War Two fiction read that I recommend to others. Just because I can’t get on with it, doesn’t mean it isn’t a good book.
And finally, a gorgeous young adult novel set in Germany during the Second World War. This story follows an evacuee called Lisel who’s illiterate and lonely. As she is taught to read by her care-givers she finds that she can’t get enough of words and begins to steal books as she witnesses books being burnt in the Nazi regime. The story is heartbreaking, and very cleverly narrated by death. This story ends with the best line I’ve ever read. It gave me literal chills.
And there we have it. Those are my top suggestions for Books set in World War Two. What are your favourite World War Two reads? Do you have any recommendations? Let me know in the comments below.