The Best World War Two Historical Novels I’ve Read Lately
There is a wealth of World War Two historical fiction books and I’ve read a lot of them. In fact, I read so much that I purposely have to take breaks from them and move on to other genres.
I’ve read a few stinkers, but most of the ones I pick out, I enjoy. Here are a few World War II novels that I’ve read lately and enjoyed. I think you’ll love them too.
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World War Two Historical Fiction
I’ve read a variety of World War II historical fiction books in the past few months. Some were newer releases and others were older. The books were all so different and the settings varied, but one thing they all had in common were strong women. These women did things they never thought they were capable of.
Here are the books I’ve read lately that I would recommend.
The Spies of Shilling Lane by Jennifer Ryan
Ever since I read The Chilbury Ladies’ Choir by Jennifer Ryan, I’ve been eagerly awaiting her next book. I wasn’t disappointed.
The Spies of Shilling Lane tells the story of Mrs. Braithwaite, the village busybody. After being shunned by her village after her husband divorces her, she goes to London to find her daughter. Little does she know, she’s about to embark on an adventure when she arrives in the middle of the London Blitz to find her daughter missing.
I got so attached to the characters in this book, especially prickly Mrs. Braithwaite (who learns so much about herself through the pages of this book). This book is fun and despite the World War II setting, a light read. If you like books with a little bit of mystery or ones with an older protagonist, you’ll love this choice. READ MORE HERE.
The Golden Hour by Beatriz Williams
I first decided to The Golden Hour because of its setting. I was intrigued by a WWII novel set in the Bahamas. The book features dual story lines. The first is Lulu, a society reporter sent to Nassau to cover the Duke and Duchess of Windsor. Soon, she discovers there’s more to the story than glitz and glamour. The other story line follows a woman named Elfriede starting with the early 1900s through WWI. Throughout the book, the two women’s stories begin to entwine.
You’ll find romance, mystery, intrigue, and even a bit of royalty in this story of two strong women. This book is everything I love in historical fiction with an engrossing story, strong characters, fascinating setting, and even a few real-life historical figures thrown in the mix. READ MORE HERE.
Mistress of the Ritz by Melanie Benjamin
Most of Melanie Benjamin’s books are based on true stories. Mistress of the Ritz is no exception. This book is based off the story of Blanche Auzello, the wife of the director of the Ritz Hotel in Paris. The Ritz was a place of fairy tales and glamour until June of 1940 when the German army occupied Paris and used the Ritz as one of its headquarters.
Their current long-term guests (including Coco Chanel) stayed in the hotel alongside the Germans and the Auzellos had to continue to operate the hotel to its usual standards. This is a story about living (and resisting) under German occupation. It’s the story of a brave couple in a unique situation who did what they needed to do to survive, protect their guests, and help France. READ MORE HERE
The Lost Vintage by Ann Mah
The Lost Vintage is another novel with dual story lines. The first is set in modern-day times and tells the story of Kate who is trying to pass the very difficult Master of Wines exam. In order to study, she travels to the vineyard in Burgundy that has been in her family for generations. While there, she uncovers a long lost diary and secrets that her family has been keeping for decades.
The second story line tells the story Kate reads in the diary, the story of Kate’s great half-aunt, Helene, who was a teenager during World War Two. As Kate pieces together the story of her aunt, she learns about her family, her self, and the legacy her family left behind.
This book is perfect for anyone who loves books set in a vineyard, compelling historical fiction, and strong women characters. READ MORE HERE.
The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris
The Tattooist of Auschwitz sat on my TBR list for a long time. It was a bestselling book and highly recommended, but I was not sure I was ready to read a book set in a concentration camp. I wish I would have picked it up earlier!
This book, which was based on a true story, told a powerful love story set in a hopeless and horrific place. It tore at my heart, but I couldn’t put it down.
It tells the store of Lale (the tattooist), a Slovakian Jew trying to survive Auschwitz and the woman he fell in love with at first sight, Gita. Their story is harrowing and heartbreaking, but also hopeful. I know you’ll fall in love with the characters as much as I did.
This book definitely lived up to the hype and I’m so glad I read it. It’s a great choice for anyone who loves World War II historical fiction. READ MORE HERE.
What I’m Reading Next
While I’m never at a loss for a good World War Two historical fiction book, I do have a couple at the top of my reading list.
After reading The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris, I want to read its follow-up, Cilka’s Journey. I was introduced to Cilka in The Tattooist and she is definitely a character I want to know more about. I look forward to reading her story soon.
I’ve also added The Song of the Jade Lily by Kirsty Manning to my TBR list. I’m intrigued by this book that tells a less common WWII story, that of Jewish refugees who fled to Shanghai during the war. I’m always looking for excellent books that aren’t mentioned on every single recommendation list and this one looks to be exactly that.
Jennifer Ryan has another World War II novel coming out in late February 2021 called The Kitchen Front. It’s about four women who enter a BBC cooking competition for a spot at being the first female co-host all while surviving living in the homefront during WWII. I’ve loved every single one of Ryan’s books, so I greatly look forward to this new release.
Do you have any recommendations as to what I should read next?
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