My favorite books about brave women in WWII

Why am I passionate about this?

I am Rhys Bowen, New York Times best selling author of two historical mystery series and several Internationally best selling historical novels. Many of these take place in and around World War II. I have particularly focused on the bravery of ordinary women, the unsung heroines who risked their lives against impossible odds. My stories take place in France, Italy, as well as, England so these books resonated with me.


I wrote...

The Paris Assignment

By Rhys Bowen,

Book cover of The Paris Assignment

What is my book about?

A sweeping tale of love and loss, bravery and deception that takes the reader from London to Paris and then to the wilds of Australia.

Madeleine Grant falls in love while studying in Paris, endures heartbreak and loss but puts her own life on the line when she agrees to be a courier in occupied France. Then, having lost everything and everyone she loves, she once again offers herself as bait to catch a Nazi criminal, bringing surprising results. This book is a jolting reminder of the bravery of ordinary women and girls, who knew the risk they took and yet volunteered anyway.

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The books I picked & why

Book cover of The Rose Code

Rhys Bowen Why did I love this book?

I am fascinated with the work done by women at Bletchley Park, kept as secret knowledge until recently.

The story features three very different women who forge a friendship while working as code breakers until a betrayal tears them apart.  Then after the war, at the royal wedding, they reunite for one last code breaking and the unmasking of a traitor.

By Kate Quinn,

Why should I read it?

10 authors picked The Rose Code as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of The Huntress and The Alice Network returns with another heart-stopping World War II story of three female code breakers at Bletchley Park and the spy they must root out after the war is over.

1940. As England prepares to fight the Nazis, three very different women answer the call to mysterious country estate Bletchley Park, where the best minds in Britain train to break German military codes. Vivacious debutante Osla is the girl who has everything-beauty, wealth, and the dashing Prince Philip of Greece sending her roses-but she burns to…


Book cover of The Nightingale

Rhys Bowen Why did I love this book?

This is another story that will tear your heart out.

I think this book is an eye opener about what was life for ordinary people in Nazi occupied France during WWII. It’s another book about how women had to make choices, balancing their own survival with their moral compass.

I loved the disfunctional relationship between the two sisters, who were abandoned by their father and grew up with different lives. 

By Kristin Hannah,

Why should I read it?

25 authors picked The Nightingale as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Soon to be a major motion picture, The Nightingale is a multi-million copy bestseller across the world. It is a heart-breakingly beautiful novel that celebrates the resilience of the human spirit and the endurance of women.

This story is about what it was like to be a woman during World War II when women's stories were all too often forgotten or overlooked . . . Vianne and Isabelle Mauriac are two sisters, separated by years and experience, by ideals and passion and circumstance, each embarking on her own dangerous path towards survival, love and freedom in war-torn France.

Kristin Hannah's…


Book cover of The Book of Lost Names

Rhys Bowen Why did I love this book?

I have been so impressed at the risks ordinary people took to save their Jewish friends and neighbors during WWII. This is one such story.

I love books set in two time periods, and this one takes us from the present to the time of war, with the heroine, now an old woman, who was a forger in Nazi Europe coming across a book of codes, revealing the true names of escaping Jewish children. 

By Kristin Harmel,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked The Book of Lost Names as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Throughout the 1940s, forgers helped thousands of children escape Nazi France. In this instant New York Times bestseller, Kristin Harmel reimagines their story...

Perfect for readers of The Tattooist of Auschwitz, The Librarian of Auschwitz and The Book Thief.

In 1942, Eva is forced to flee Paris after the arrest of her father, a Polish Jew. Finding refuge in a small mountain town, she begins forging identity documents for Jewish children escaping to neutral Switzerland. But erasing people comes with a price, and along with a mysterious, handsome forger named Remy, Eva realises she must find a way to preserve…


Book cover of The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

Rhys Bowen Why did I love this book?

This book is perhaps my favorite of all the WWII novels.

Full of warm, eccentric characters and so true to what happened on the Channel Islands (where I have been conducting my own research!) Again it is set in the present and the past, with a present-day heroine going to Guernsey to meet with survivors of the Nazi occupation.

What starts off as a light-hearted mission gradually peels back layers of brutality and betrayal.

By Mary Ann Shaffer, Annie Barrows,

Why should I read it?

13 authors picked The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The beloved, life-affirming international bestseller which has sold over 5 million copies worldwide - now a major film starring Lily James, Matthew Goode, Jessica Brown Findlay, Tom Courtenay and Penelope Wilton 'I can't remember the last time I discovered a novel as smart and delightful as this one ... Treat yourself to this book, please - I can't recommend it highly enough' Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat Pray Love To give them hope she must tell their story It's 1946. The war is over, and Juliet Ashton has writer's block. But when she receives a letter from Dawsey Adams of…


Book cover of Three Hours in Paris

Rhys Bowen Why did I love this book?

I’m not normally a thriller reader, but I’ve loved Cara Black’s Aimee Leduc mystery series, so I tried this. Oh, my goodness. You will hold your breath from page one until the climax.

A young woman suffers unbearable loss and then trains as a sharpshooter, sent to Paris with the goal of assassinating Hitler.

Based on the knowledge that Hitler only came to Paris for three hours and left abruptly, Cara fills in the why for us.

By Cara Black,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked Three Hours in Paris as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In June of 1940, when Paris fell to the Nazis, Hitler spent a total of three hours in the City of Light—abruptly leaving, never to return. To this day, no one knows why.

Kate Rees, a young American markswoman, has been recruited by British intelligence to drop into Paris with a dangerous assignment: assassinate the Führer. Wrecked by grief after a Luftwaffe bombing killed her husband and infant daughter, she is armed with a rifle, a vendetta, and a fierce resolve. But other than rushed and rudimentary instruction, she has no formal spy training. Thrust into the red-hot center of…


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Lap Baby

By Amy Q. Barker,

Book cover of Lap Baby

Amy Q. Barker Author Of Lap Baby

New book alert!

Why am I passionate about this?

Author Avid reader Nature lover Park ranger wanna be Best Nana ever

Amy's 3 favorite reads in 2023

What is my book about?

A story you'll never forget about survival, forgiveness, healing, and love.

Twenty years ago. A plane crash. Three women survivors are inexorably connected by fate, destiny, and a cause. 

Julie Geiger, a flight attendant, told five sets of parents to place their babies on the floor of the plane when it was going down. Now, she must live with the consequences. Will changing the emergency rules bring her healing and forgiveness? And where does love fit into her life now?

Marie Stanley lost her baby boy on that flight. And she knows exactly who to blame. Julie. The problem is that vindictiveness festers. And eats into your soul. How will Marie learn to move past her hate and save her marriage in the process?

Paige Montgomery, the lap baby who survived the flight, would love to forget it ever happened. After all, she’s happy. And she’s on the cusp of a new relationship. How will she learn to forge her own path, one that integrates all the elements of her past, including the crash, the loss of her parents, and her subsequent adoption?

Lap Baby

By Amy Q. Barker,

What is this book about?

Twenty years ago. A plane crash. Three women survivors inexorably connected by fate, destiny, and a cause.

Did you know that lap babies (children under the age of two) are instructed to be placed on the floor of a plane during an emergency? Sounds crazy, but it’s true.

Julie Geiger, a flight attendant, told five sets of parents to do just that. Now she must live with the consequences. Will changing the rules bring her healing and forgiveness? And where does love fit into her life now?

Marie Stanley lost her baby boy on that flight. And she knows exactly…


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