Do you love to read Word War II Novels as much as I do? If so, take a look at the best World War II novels of the last decade.
Recently, I got back from my first trip to Europe. The histories of the cities I visited were all heavily affected by the Second World War. Walking around these cities, I had a better feel for World War II and it’s impact on Europe.
I’ve always been fascinated by World War II novels. As a little girl, I used to watch old war movies with my dad. Kelly’s Heroes, Patton, and Where Eagles Dare were my favorites. World War II is such a fascinating period to read about. The acts of bravery and the depths of horror that took place just boggle the mind.
Lately, I’ve been reading a lot of nonfiction books about World War II. Hopefully, I’ll have some great ones to recommend to you soon. But for now, here are my favorite World War II novels of the last decade.
Did I miss any of your favorite recent World War II novels? Find out what WWII historical fiction our readers have recommended to us.
My Favorite World War II Novels
This is a mouthful of a title; I’m a bit amazed the publisher didn’t shorten it. Regardless of its title, this is such a fun book to read. On the German occupied island of Guernsey, the residents form a book club as an excuse for breaking curfew. Written as a series of letters after the war between the book club and writer Juliet Ashton, the story gives you a look at what life was like on the occupied island. A fun read that is sure to leave you smiling at the colorful cast of characters. While I always prefer to reading World War II novels to watching them, be sure to check out the television adaptation on Netflix and see how you compare the two.
I can’t recommend this book enough. Seriously, if you are just dipping your toe into World War II novels, you should choose this one. You’ll find yourself immersed in a world of intrigue with the story of British spy, Agent “Verity.” Captured when her plane crashes in occupied France, Verity is interrogated by the Gestapo in an attempt to learn of her mission. As she confesses under torture, you’ll find yourself on the edge of your seat wondering what secrets she is willing to exchange for her life. How far is she willing to go for her mission? A brilliant and emotional read that you won’t want to miss.
I have loved every Kate Morton book I’ve read, and this one is simply brilliant. It all starts when sixteen-year-old Laurel Nicolson witnesses her mother Dorothy stab a man to death on a calm summer day. If that doesn’t get your interest piqued, I don’t know what will. Kate Morton masterfully unfolds the backstory of Dorothy’s life during the war. The more you learn about Dorothy, the more you’ll keep wanting more. If you love figuring out the twists and turns of World War II novels, you’ll love this book. I, for one, did not guess the ending. Definitely one of those books you won’t be able to put down.
Jodi Picoult is not really my favorite author, though she also made my list of books that will make you cry. While not as great as My Sister’s Keeper, this book won its place on my list for its thought-provoking ending. Set in modern day, 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.
This one is my favorite World War II novels on this whole list. I’m not at all surprised it won a Pulitzer Prize; the writing is absolutely fabulous. Anthony Doerr masterfully interweaves the stories of Marie-Laurie, a blind French girl who flees from Paris to the coastal city of Saint Malo with her uncle, and Werner, a German radio operator charged with rooting out the French resistance. While the plot is interesting in and of itself, the character development and storytelling will keep you glued to the page.
Coming in at a close second, Kristin Hannah’s novel is one that would make pretty much anyone fall in love with 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, in order 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 do anything she can to resist the German occupation. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and also loved her latest novel, The Great Alone.
I always enjoy a new perspective in World War II novels, and Ruta Sepetys delivered with this young adult book. The story follows a group of Prussian refugees fleeing from the advance of the Stalin’s Red Army. Personally, I like when a historical fiction novel teaches me about history through its natural storytelling. To be honest, the writing is probably the weakest of the World War II novels on my list. I debated whether I should add it, but it’s fascinating setting won me over. I learned quite a bit about Prussia and about the Wilhelm Gustloff, which are both terribly interesting. So for a fun, informative read, this is a good choice.
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World War II Novels On My To-Read List
Of all the WWII historical fiction often recommended to me, 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. Read more →
I’m about a third of the way finished with this book. Set in Seattle, this lovely little novel follows Chinese-American Henry Lee as he recalls his first childhood love, Keiko Okabe, a Japanese-American. Now, forty years later, Henry searches for clues to find Keiko, who he lost contact with after her family was sent to an internment camp. So far, I’m really enjoying this novel. Seeing the wartime views of the Chinese-American characters has given me a new perspective. Hopefully, this book lives up to its promising start. If not, I’m sure it will make the next edition of my Read This Not That list.
One of my book club friends recommended this book to me. Since she has impeccable taste, I’m really excited to read this novel. The storyline centers around a holding camp for illegal immigrants in Israel in 1945. I’ve read a few of Anita Diamant’s novels, I can promise that she is an excellent writer. I’m hoping this book will be just as fantastic as her novel The Red Tent. Currently, it’s sitting on my nightstand at the top of my to-read pile. I was tempted to take it with me on my Europe trip. However, I decided to go the minimalist packing route and only read e-books on my phone.
What World War II novels are your favorites?