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15 In Books

Top 10 World War II Books You Must Read

World War II books seems to be a trendy topic for historical fiction recently. There are a slew of books to choose from, which can make finding the best World War II books very difficult. In no particular order, I put together a list of my Top ten recommendations for the best World War II books.

You’ll find a mix of newer releases and older WWII books that cover a wide range of topics and perspectives. Most of these World War 2 novels are historical fiction but there are also two biographies that read like novels. There are two books that I haven’t read yet, but I included them since they have excellent reviews. I’m hoping to read them soon! If there are any World War 2 books you’d add to my list, let us know in the comments!

Best Books About World War 2

The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah 

Two sisters living in France during the German occupation each find their own means of resisting the Nazis. The descriptions of life in a war torn country are fascinating and heart breaking. I couldn’t put this one down. 

 

 

 

The Alice Network by Kate Quinn

Although this novel takes place after the war, it flashbacks to the previous years. The two main characters are a female spy and an American socialite searching for her cousin. Since I haven’t yet read this one, you can find an excellent review from a fellow LiteraryQuicksand writer here.  http://www.literaryquicksand.com/2017/06/review-the-alice-network-by-kate-quinn/

 

 

 

Everyone Brave Is Forgiven by Chris Cleave 

A war-time love story inspired by Cleave’s own grandparents. Mary, Alistair, and Tom’s lives are entangled in love, war, deception, and passion. It’s set during the first three years of World War II in both London and the island of Malta. This is high on my TBR list.

 

 

 

 

The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom 

A unique view into the life of a faithful Dutch woman and her family who saved the lives of Jews during the war. This is Corrie Ten Boom’s memoir about her experience hiding Jewish families in her home. When she was eventually discovered by the Germans, she was sent to a concentration camp and just barely survived. An inspiring read that shows how God works through ordinary individuals. 

 

 

 

Number the Stars by Lois Lowry 

A young adult/children’s novel about the Danish Resistance’s campaign to smuggle the Jewish population to safety in Sweden. This story is told through the eyes of a young Danish girl who’s family hides a Jewish girl within their home. It’s a quick read, but a unique and powerful story. 

 

 

 

Winter of the World by Ken Follett

If you have time, you’ll want to read this whole trilogy. The first book starts with WWI and introduces a number of families from various countries involved in war. Winter of the World follows those families through the next generation into WWII. A sweeping tale from multiple perspectives that shows all aspects of war. I loved that this one covers politics, relationships, resistance, and the actual fighting. If you’re looking for a comprehensive novel about war, this is it. 

 

 

 

The Guernsey Literary & Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows

Probably my absolute favorite novel on this list. It’s the perfect fit for book lovers and World War II historical fiction fanatics. When a writer connects with a book club on the island of Guernsey, she is swept into their dramatic lives. They write letters back and forth sharing stories about being occupied by the Nazis during the war. The quirky characters are simply delightful and lifelong relationships are formed. I enjoyed reading about the effects of occupation on a territory that didn’t see direct action. 

 

 

The Secret Keeper by Kate Morton

I’ll read pretty much anything Kate Morton writes, but this is one of my Top 3. When Laurel witnesses a shocking crime as a young girl, it challenges everything she knows about her mother. Fifty years later, she has the chance to uncover the truth from that day. Told in a mix of present day revelations and flashbacks to the years of World War II, this story tells the tale of three strangers who meet by chance during the war. Their relationships change their lives forever. 

 

 

 

Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford

Set in America, this offers a lesser known viewpoint of how the war affected Japanese Americans. Henry and Keiko are young friends living on the West Coast when America joins the war. When Keiko and her family are rounded up and sent to internment camps due to their Japanese heritage, the two can only hope for the end of the war. Forty years later, Henry is reminded of his childhood friend and searches for a long-lost connection to Keiko. This is a tug-at-the-heartstrings tale of hope and forgiveness. 

 

 

Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand 

A rare glimpse into the life of a prisoner of war based on a true story. This biography of Louis Zamperini covers his life as an athlete before the war and his experience as a Air Force pilot before he’s captured by Japanese soldiers. The brutality is at times extremely hard to read, but if you want an unflinching tale about what happened in WWII outside of Europe, this is it.

 

 

 

Have you read any of the Top Ten WWII books in this list? What else would you add?

Looking for more book lists? Check out my Book Club Suggestions and my Summer Reading List!

Top 10 WWII Books

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15 Comments

  • Reply
    Angela
    May 16, 2018 at 10:57 am

    WWII is a particular favorite of mine when it comes to historical fiction. I’ve read a couple of these. Kate Morton is absolutely one of my favorite authors, so I’m glad to see one of hers up there! P.S. she revealed the cover today for her new book coming out in October!

    • Reply
      Rachel Kamery
      May 17, 2018 at 7:24 am

      I did not realize she has a new book coming out!! Googling now to find that cover. So exciting!

  • Reply
    Allison
    May 17, 2018 at 12:37 pm

    Great list! I’m working on a historical fiction list and had to cut a few out because there are SO many World War II novels–but it makes sense because it was such a fraught time, all around the world. I’ve read about half of these and they’re all pretty amazing; I’d like to read the others as well.

    • Reply
      Rachel Kamery
      May 21, 2018 at 7:18 am

      Can’t wait to see what you put on your list! It is rather difficult to narrow down…

  • Reply
    Jolissa
    May 18, 2018 at 11:09 am

    Definitely have to add All the Light We Cannot See. One of my favorite books of all time!

    • Reply
      Rachel Kamery
      May 21, 2018 at 7:15 am

      That’s too funny because I actually started that one and abandoned it! I just couldn’t get into the story, but I’m pretty sure I’m the exception to the rule because I’ve mainly read glowing reviews : )

  • Reply
    Sabrina Fox
    May 19, 2018 at 7:16 am

    I’ve come to realize that the only book I’ve read that was set in WWII that I can recall off the top of my head is THE BOOK THIEF. I feel like I should pick up EVERYONE BRAVE IS FORGIVEN soon because that’s the one that caught my eye right off the bat!

    • Reply
      Rachel Kamery
      May 21, 2018 at 7:14 am

      The Book Thief is actually one I still need to read. I started it, but never got around to finishing it ha.

  • Reply
    A Week in the Books: Links I Loved the Week of 5/25/18 | Mind Joggle
    May 25, 2018 at 5:18 am

    […] Top 10 World War II Novels – Never Enough Novels This list is actually from last week, but I wanted to include it this week as a companion to my historical fiction list. A few of the books on Rachel’s list are also on mine, but there are others that I still want to read. There is just so much ground to cover in World War II; it’s no wonder there are so many novels set in that time. […]

  • Reply
    Allison @ My Novel Life
    May 27, 2018 at 12:12 pm

    Great list! I’ve been wanting to read The Alice Network. I’m about to start Lilac Girls for my book club. That would probably go well on this list too!

  • Reply
    Top 10 Historical Fiction Novels - Literary Quicksand
    July 2, 2018 at 9:06 pm

    […] If you’re looking for World War II novels, head on over to Never Enough Novels to check out my list here! […]

  • Reply
    Hayley
    August 13, 2018 at 5:53 pm

    We Were The Lucky Ones is a fantastic book in this genre!!

  • Reply
    Mickey
    September 11, 2019 at 3:44 pm

    Good authors for this genre are Kate Quinn and Pam Jenoff as well.

    • Reply
      Rachel Kamery
      September 13, 2019 at 11:02 am

      I’ve been meaning to read Kate Quinn, but haven’t gotten to it yet.

  • Reply
    Debra Hill
    November 9, 2019 at 11:08 pm

    The Winds of War and War and Remembrance by Herman Wouk. Also The Bronze Horseman by Paullina Simons.

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