WWII in Fiction

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In Farleigh Field: a novel / Rhys Bowen

World War II comes to Farleigh Place, the ancestral home of Lord Westerham and his five daughters, when a soldier with a failed parachute falls to his death on the estate.

The Fortunate Ones: a novel / Ellen Umansky

One very special work of art–a Chaim Soutine painting–connects the lives and fates of two different women, generations apart, in a novel that moves from World War II Vienna to contemporary Los Angeles.

The Librarian of Auschwitz / Antonio Iturbe

The novel follows Dita Kraus from age fourteen, when she is put in charge of a few forbidden books at Auschwitz concentration camp, through the end of World War II and beyond.

The Chilbury Ladies’ Choir: a novel / Jennifer Ryan

Letters and journals reveal the struggles, affairs, deceptions, and triumphs of five members of a village choir during World War II as they band together to survive the upheavals of war and village intrigue on the English home front.

The Boat Runner: a novel / Devin Murphy

Beginning in the summer of 1939, fourteen-year-old Jacob Koopman and his older brother, Edwin, enjoy lives of prosperity and quiet contentment. Many of the residents in their small Dutch town have some connection to the Koopman lightbulb factory, and the locals hold the family in high esteem. On days when they aren’t playing with friends, Jacob and Edwin help their Uncle Martin on his fishing boat in the North Sea, where German ships have become a common sight. But conflict still seems unthinkable, even as the boys’ father naively sends his sons to a Hitler Youth Camp in an effort to secure German business for the factory. When war breaks out, Jacob’s world is thrown into chaos.

The Lost Letter / Jillian Cantor

A heartbreaking, heartwarming historical novel of love and survival inspired by real resistance workers during World War II in Austria, and the mysterious love letter that connects generations of Jewish families. 

The Nightingale / Kristin Hannah

Vianne and Isabelle have always been close despite their differences. Younger, bolder sister Isabelle lives in Paris while Vianne lives a quiet and content life in the French countryside with her husband Antoine and their daughter. When World War II strikes and Antoine is sent off to fight, Vianne and Isabelle’s father sends Isabelle to help her older sister cope. As the war progresses, it’s not only the sisters’ relationship that is tested, but also their strength and their individual senses of right and wrong. Vianne and Isabelle will find themselves facing frightening situations and responding in ways they never thought possible as bravery and resistance take different forms in each of their actions.

The Japanese Lover: a novel / Isabel Allende

A multigenerational epic by the New York Times best-selling author of The House of the Spirits follows the impossible romance between a World War II escapee from the Nazis and a Japanese gardener’s son, whose story is discovered decades later by a care worker who would come to terms with her past.

Winter of the world: book two of the Century trilogy / Ken Follett

Continues the stories of five interrelated families who struggle with social, political, and economic turmoil in the mid-twentieth century, during which they witness the rise of Nazi Germany, the Spanish Civil War, and the horrors of World War II.

The Garden of Letters / Alyson Richman

In World War II Italy, cello prodigy Elodie Bertolotti joins the Italian Resistance to Mussolini’s fascist regime, and soon she must seek sanctuary with a young doctor who has painful secrets of his own.

All the Light we cannot see: a novel / Anthony Doerr

A blind French girl on the run from the German occupation and a German orphan-turned-Resistance tracker struggle with respective beliefs after meeting on the Brittany coast.

Lilac Girls: a novel / Martha Hall Kelly

The lives of three women converge at the Ravensbruck concentration camp as Caroline Ferriday resolves to help from her post at the French consulate, Kasia Kuzmerick becomes a courier in the Polish resistance, and Herta Oberheuser takes a German government medical position.

Sarah’s Key / Tatiana de Rosnay

On the anniversary of the roundup of Jews by the French police in Paris, Julia is asked to write an article on this dark episode and embarks on an investigation that leads her to long-hidden family secrets and to the ordeal of Sarah.

Lisette’s List: a novel / Susan Vreeland

A tale centered on the lives of Provence-inspired master artists follows the experiences of an exiled young Parisian who cares for her husband’s ailing grandfather during the Vichy regime and rediscovers love through the master works of Cezanne, Pissarro, Chagall and Picasso.

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