WWII Historical Fiction You’ll Be Dying to Share


Do you love to read WWII historical fiction? If so, we have the perfect list for you. Ever since Rachael wrote her first list on World War 2 books, our readers have been clamoring to have their say. They’ve suggested so many WWII historical fiction novels to us that we couldn’t keep them to ourselves. We knew we had to share. 

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 our readers. To compile our World War 2 reading list, we went through all the comments on our blog. More specifically, on our posts about the best WWII novels of the last decade and Rachael’s top 10 favorite WWII books looking for recommendations.

Additionally, we searched through recommendations shared with us on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram. If you comment, we 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? We’ve already shared our favorites, so we thought we’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, our friends were dying to share with us!

This post contains affiliate links, meaning if you purchase anything, at no additional cost to you, we receive a small commission. For more information, read our Disclosures.

World War 2 Novels Recommended by Bloggers

book cover for The Soldier's Wife by Margaret Leroy

The Soldier’s Wife
by Margaret Leroy

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.

Recommended by: CJ at A Well Read Tart


book cover for The Girl From the Train by Irma Joubert

The Girl From the Train
by Irma Joubert

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, religion and language. A good addition to your WW2 reading list if you love historical fiction.

Recommended by: CJ at A Well Read Tart


book cover for Sarah's Key by Tatiana de Rosnay

Sarah’s Key
by 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.

Recommended by: Laura at Chaos & Quiet


book cover for We Were the Lucky Ones by Georgia Hunter

We Were the Lucky Ones
by Georgia Hunter

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 own ancestors. If you love WWII historical fiction based on true stories, this is the one for you.

Recommended by: Sarah at Sarah’s Bookshelves

Related: The Best World War II Novels of the Last Decade

Readers’ Favorite Novels Set During World War 2

book cover for Beneath a Scarlet Sky by Mark Sullivan

Beneath a Scarlet Sky
by 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.

Recommended by: Jessica


book cover for The Tuscan Child by Rhys Bowen

The Tuscan Child
by Rhys Bowen

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.

Recommended by: Crista N


book cover for The Chilbury Ladies' Choir by Jennifer Ryan

The Chilbury Ladies’ Choir
by Jennifer Ryan

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.

Recommended by: Krista W


book cover for Karolina's Twins by Ronald H. Balson

Karolina’s Twins
by 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.

Recommended by: Melissa


book cover for The Alice Network by Kate Quinn

The Alice Network
by Kate Quinn

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.

Recommended by: Lauren

Related: The Best World War 2 Books of All Time

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 Rachael B. for all the suggestions!

book cover for The Bronze Horseman by Paullina Simons

The Bronze Horseman
by Paullina Simons

With a different take than most novels set during World War 2, The Bronze Horseman actually 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.


book cover for Skeletons at the Feast by Chris Bohjalian

Skeletons at the Feast
by Chris Bohjalian

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 actually 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.


book cover for In Farleigh Field by Rhys Bowen

In Farleigh Field
by Rhys Bowen

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?

Related: Don’t Buy the Hype: Read This, Not That

WWII Historical Fiction That We Love

book cover for The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

The Book Thief
by Markus Zusak

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.

Recommended by: Nina at Sleeping Should Be Easy


book cover for The Storyteller by Jodi Picoult

The Storyteller
by Jodi Picoult

Jodi Picoult is not really 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, and 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.

Recommended by: Victoria at Inspired by Tor


book cover for The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah

The Nightingale
by Kristin Hannah

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, 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.

Recommended by: Karen


book cover for Atonement by Ian McEwan

by Ian McEwan

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 are we missing from our list?

WWII Historical Fiction // 16 Books You'll Be Dying to Share with a Friend // historical fiction, world war 2 books, WWII historical fiction // #historicalfiction #bookstoread

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  • Reply Sarah's Book Shelves November 12, 2018 at 7:40 am

    Yay – so glad WWTLO is on this list!

  • Reply CJ | A Well-Read Tart November 12, 2018 at 9:32 am

    Some great recommendations on here!! And, so happy to see that THE SOLDIER’S WIFE (don’t you just love that cover?!?) and THE GIRL FROM THE TRAIN made your list! They were some great reads. I also loved THE CHILBURY LADIES CHOIR that another blogger recommended.

    I still need to read the GUERNSEY LITERARY AND POTATO PIE SOCIETY (and watch the movie); it sounds right up my alley. Also intrigued by the Chris Bohjalian title. I’ve read THE NIGHT STRANGERS by this author, which is a VERY different kind of novel (spooky!), so I’m interested to read historical fiction by him. He’s an excellent writer.

  • Reply Christina November 13, 2018 at 10:41 am

    I just got into Historical Fiction more, it’s been a back burner genre for me for a while but I’ve found a new appreciation for it. I own a few of these and haven’t heard of many of the others but they all look amazing!

  • Reply DJ Sakata November 13, 2018 at 11:21 am

    I seldom read this genre and have only read the Chilbury Ladies Choir from this list – I adored it! But I tend to avoid these as I don’t like to be reminded of how women were treated like property

  • Reply Sierra November 13, 2018 at 12:06 pm

    I have a couple of those books. I have yet to read Sarah’s Key though. I have it somewhere, the rest look like fantastic reads as well.

  • Reply Tasha November 13, 2018 at 12:52 pm

    There are some fantastic sounding books here.

  • Reply Stormi November 13, 2018 at 3:59 pm

    My TBR just got a lot longer!

  • Reply Amanda McGill November 13, 2018 at 8:58 pm

    Great list! I loved Sarah’s Key and the Book Thief! I have a lot more to read now!

  • Reply Robin Taylor November 14, 2018 at 1:09 am

    These are terrific recommendations.

  • Reply melissa's fandomworld November 14, 2018 at 3:13 am

    Thank you for all the recommendations! I don’t often read historical fiction anymore but I do tend to really love them from time to time. I’m especially very interested in buying and reading ‘we were the lucky ones’. Thanks for writing this awesome article!

  • Reply Gayathri November 14, 2018 at 9:09 am

    I love WW II novels. They are poignant, intense and so inspiring. I recently reviewed The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, which might fall under this category.

  • Reply Sandy March 23, 2019 at 8:37 am

    Somewhere in France by Jennifer Robson. Also Lights Out Liverpool and Put Out the Fires by Maureen Lee.

  • Reply Monique C Liddle August 23, 2019 at 2:06 am

    You must have “Unbroken” on your list or are you sticking to fiction?

    • Reply Rachael August 29, 2019 at 9:15 pm

      This list is just World War II historical fiction. Unbroken did make my list of top 10 World War 2 books!

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