World War 2 Historical Fiction Recommendations

     I want to share with you four of my favorite historical fiction reads that take place during World War 2. This is by no means all them, however all of these are books that I know I will be rereading in the future. I am a huge historical fiction fan. It is usually the genre that I will turn to if I ever feel like I don’t have anything interesting to read. Hopefully this post provides you with some ideas for what to read next if you want some historical fiction adventure in your life!

All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

My Goodreads Rating: 4.5 stars
    This book follows two perspectives that both show us a different side of the war. We learn about Marie Laure, a blind girl who lives in France, and Werner, a Hitler Youth in Germany. The story expertly weaves their stories together in a way that opens your eyes to things about the war that you may not have learned in history class. Marie Laure and Werner’s stories collide when they both end up at Saint-Malo, a walled citadel in France. There are also other people’s perspectives that are woven into the story through short viewpoint chapters. This book was really beautifully written and I learned a lot about the history of radios from Werner’s perspective chapters. This book is 530 pages and took me awhile to finish, but if you’re looking for a well researched and well written historical fiction, then you can’t go wrong with this one.

The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah

My Goodreads Rating: 4 stars
     This book takes place in German-occupied France and also follows two different perspectives. The chapters switch back and forth between the perspectives of two sisters, Vianne and Isabelle, who both have extremely different personalities. This book does a really good job of showing the difficulties that women during the war had to endure while their husbands were away fighting. There are a lot of books out there that discuss what it was like for the soldiers during the war, but not many touch on the subject of the women on the home front. I must admit that at the beginning of this novel, I was pretty sure that I wasn’t going to like it because of the writing and the fact that I thought there was going to be a love at first sight story. However, I’m so glad that I continued reading because there got to a point where I absolutely couldn’t put it down. The writing improved as the story went on and the plot line was so riveting that I just had to know what was going to happen next. At the end, I was left shocked at the hardships that the women in the story had had to endure. Pick this one up if you want a good story about human bravery and perseverance!

Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys

My Goodreads Rating: 4 stars 
    I first read this book when I was in middle school and I remember that it made me cry and that I absolutely loved it. I read it again recently just to see if it was actually as good as I first remembered it and it had the same effect on me (I cried again). You may notice that I have two Ruta Sepetys novels on this list and that’s because she is one of my favorite authors. She is so good at bringing to light stories about historical events that most people have never heard of (including me). This book is about the Soviet invasion of Lithuania in 1941 and follows a Lithuanian girl named Lina and her mother and little brother as they are deported to Siberia. The stories of the hardships that the Lithuanian people had endured has been lost to history for a really long time, but this book attempts to reveal the past. Ruta is Lithuanian herself and I think that is what motivated her to research this part of history. It is a beautiful story that you must read!

Salt to Sea by Ruta Sepetys 

My Goodreads Rating: 4 stars
    This is Ruta’s most recent book and it takes place in 1945 in East Prussia as many refugees from the war made their way to a ship called the Wilhelm Gustloff. The Wilhelm Gustloff is a ship that sank and killed about 9,400 people, which is the largest loss of life from a sinking ship in history (yet it’s not very well known). The book follows three different characters as they journey through East Prussia to the Wilhelm Gustloff for salvation. There is Joana (a Lithuanian nurse), Florian (a Prussian with a mysterious letter), and Emilia (a little polish girl in a pink cap). In the story, the three of them have to band together to survive as they journey to the ship that is supposed to save them. This book was so captivating and I think I liked it even better than Between Shades of Gray. This is one of those books that makes you sit and stare at a wall after you finish it and try to digest what you just read. This book has stayed with me and I definitely recommend it.
Ruta Sepetys has also written one more book called Out of the Easy that takes place in New Orleans in the 1950’s. I haven’t read it yet, but I certainly want to!

There you go! Those are four of my favorite historical fiction World War 2 books. I hope you consider reading them all because they are all so good!

Author: wordswithbri

Book Blogger

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