Do you love to read WWII historical fiction? Many of my readers certainly do! Check out this list of WWII historical fiction recommended by my readers.
In honor of Veteran’s Day, we thought it would be fun to do an entire post on World War II historical fiction recommended by my readers. To compile our World War 2 reading list, I went through all the comments on our blog. More specifically, on my posts about the best WWII novels of the last decade and the top 10 favorite WWII books looking for recommendations.
Additionally, I searched through recommendations shared with us on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram. If you comment, I listen. A few of the recommendations came from fellow bloggers (though not all book bloggers), but many come from readers just like you.
So what are the best World War 2 novels? I’ve already shared our favorites, so I thought I’d share a few of yours. Without further ado, here are 15 WWII historical fiction novels you’ll be dying to share with a friend. At least, my friends were dying to share with me!
World War 2 Novels Recommended by Bloggers
Living on the German-occupied British Isle of Guernsey, Vivienne de la Mare never expected to fall for a German soldier while her husband is away fighting for the Allies. As the war draws to a close, she must face the reality of her situation and decide how much she is willing to sacrifice for her personal happiness. If you read (or watched) The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society and want more WWII historical fiction set in Guernsey, give this poignant read a try.
As WWII nears its end, Polish resistance fighter Jakób plants a bomb on the railroad tracks intending to destroy a German transport train. Instead, he hits a train full of prisoners bound for Auschwitz. He takes in 6-year-old Gretl, the sole survivor and raises her as his own, hiding her Jewish heritage from his Catholic family. Now, 3 years later, Gretl will have to try her luck in South Africa with the other German war orphans. Mixing a coming-of-age tale with the difficulties of overcoming tragedies, The Girl From the Train will remind you that the bonds of love can transcend continents, religions, and language. A good addition to your WW2 reading list if you love historical fiction.
Tatiana de Rosnay
A decision made in an instant can change the course of so many lives. Just before Sarah and her family are arrested by the Germans in Paris in 1942, Sarah locks her little brother in a cupboard, assuming she will be back soon. Now 60 years later, as journalist Julia Jarmond investigates the past, she learns volumes not only about that fatal day in history but also about herself. A classic WWII historical fiction which is a perfect introduction to the genre.
One of the best World War 2 novels released in 2017, We Were the Lucky Ones is based on the epic true story of the Kurc family. Separated during the war, they are determined to not only survive the atrocities but reunite together and be a family again. To make the story even more compelling – it’s a tale of the author’s ancestors. If you love WWII historical fiction based on true stories, this is the one for you.
Readers’ Favorite Novels Set During World War 2
Mark T. Sullivan
Of all the WWII historical fiction recommended by our readers, this is the one that everyone seems to be raving about. Pino Lella wants nothing to do with World War II. He just wants to be a normal Italian teenager. Yet the war inevitably comes for him, placing him in the perfect position to spy for the Allies inside German High Command. This book is currently under development to be turned into a movie. Be sure to read it before it does.
When his plane is shot down over Tuscany, British pilot Hugo Langley takes refuge in a ruined monastery. There he falls in love with and is then betrayed by the beautiful Sofia Bartoli. Now, 30 years later after Hugo’s funeral, his daughter Joanna finds an unopened letter to Sofia. Joanna decides to set off to discover her father’s history and maybe discover something about herself in the process. Another of 2018’s best World War 2 novels, The Tuscan Child is the perfect choice if you enjoy novels that are partly set during WW2 and partly set in modern times.
With the onset of World War 2 and the departure of most of the men, the vicar of the quaint village of Chilbury decides to close the local choir until the men return. Coming together, the women of Chilbury refuse to concede. They reform the choir, bringing them closer together as the war rages on. If you enjoy World War 2 novels set in England and heartwarming stories about women, check out this darling British novel.
Ronald H. Balson
Lena Woodward has fully settled into her Chicago life following the end of World War II. Yet, she is still haunted by memories of her past living in Nazi-occupied Poland. For she made a promise to her childhood friend Karolina, a promise that she feels she must now keep, no matter what. Ronald H. Balson’s Once They Were Brothers was also highly mentioned by our readers and could be another great WWII novel to check out.
In 1915, Eve Gardiner is overjoyed to join the Alice Network of the French Resistance during WWI, only to see it betrayed. Then, in 1947, Eve agrees to help Charlie St. Clair, an American socialite desperate to find her cousin, Rose. Rose disappeared in France during the Second World War, and Eve sees the shadows of her past in this new case. Combing both the major world wars, The Alice Network is quite a find for historical fiction readers.
World War 2 Reading List from Rachael B.
Note: One reader in particular mentioned quite a few WWII historical fiction novels to us, that we felt she needed her own section. Thanks for all the suggestions!
With a different take than most novels set during World War 2, The Bronze Horseman takes place in Russia. The lives of sisters Tatiana and Dasha Metanova are turned upside down when the Germans lay siege to Leningrad. Amidst the horrors of the siege, Tatiana meets Alexander, a young soldier in the Red Army. However, Alexander has a secret that if revealed could tear the Metanova family apart. If you love World War 2 romance, give this novel a try.
In the last days of the war, a harried group attempt to walk across all of Germany to reach safety behind the Allies’ front line. Among the group is Ana Emmerich, a Prussian aristocrat and her lover Callum Finella, an escaped Scottish POW. With them is Manfred, a fake German soldier who no one realizes is a German Jew. Can Anna and Callum’s love survive the journey and will their friendship with Manfred last? Chris Bohjalian is a fantastic writer, so you’ll want to give his WWII historical fiction novel a chance.
Another World War 2 novel by Rhys Bowen, In Farleigh Field comes highly recommended. Home to Lord Westerham and his five daughters, Farleigh Place is mostly untouched by the Second World War raging around it. When a soldier and possibly German spy lands in Farleigh Field after a failed parachute jump, MI5 operative Ben Cresswell is sent to investigate. Can he uncover the conspiracy behind this great family before England pays the ultimate price?
WWII Historical Fiction That We Love
I’ll be honest, the fact that this book was narrated by Death was a bit off-putting at first. However, this book is amazing. The story is particularly compelling for its look at what it was like for a German child to grow up in Germany during the war. You feel so involved in the life of Liesel and her best friend Rudy that you want to rejoice with them in their triumphs and cry with them in their sorrows. A must-read for anyone who loves Young Adult WWII historical fiction.
Jodi Picoult is not my favorite author, though she made my list of books that will make you cry. While not as great as My Sister’s Keeper, I admire this book for its thought-provoking ending. Set today, Sage Singer, a baker, meets Josef Weber, an old German gentleman in her grief support group. As she learns his history and his connection to her Jewish grandmother, she has to figure out the line between punishment and forgiveness. While the storytelling is interesting if not entirely believable, the moral questions raised are what sets this book apart.
Kristin Hannah’s novel is one that would make pretty much anyone fall in love with WWII historical fiction. Set in a small village in occupied France, the story centers around two sisters. Forced to house a German officer in her home, the older sister Vianne Mauriac must decide, to protect her daughter, where exactly she should draw the line of being complicit with German demands. On the other hand, her younger sister Isabelle Rossignol feels committed to doing anything she can to resist the German occupation.
I know I said this list of WWII historical fiction would be from our readers, but I just couldn’t resist throwing in one of my favorite WWII novels. One summer day in 1934, 13-year-old Briony Tallis misunderstands a flirtation between her older sister Cecilia and Robbie Turner, with devastating consequences. Now, as World War 2 rages, an older Briony starts to realize the reality of what happened and the full repercussions that she has caused. Can Briony find atonement or is it too late? No matter what you do, make sure to read until the very end.
What WWII historical fiction am I missing from my list?