The best World War 2 novels for people who love history and fiction

Who am I?

I am a former journalist and corporate public relations expert with a Ph.D. in Foreign Languages, I’ve always been passionate about World War 2 history and truly fascinated by the deceptions put in place by both the Allies and the Axis. I believe that a story that mixes fiction with history is highly powerful and evocative. I set my debut novel in the Rome in 1942 because I was inspired by the numerous stories heard from both my grandfathers who fought in the war and because Fascist Italy is not as well-known as it should be. As one of the very few female thriller writers in this genre, I wanted to celebrate the contribution of women in World War 2!


I wrote...

Lucifer's Game: An Emotional and Gut-Wrenching World War II Spy Thriller

By Cristina Loggia,

Book cover of Lucifer's Game: An Emotional and Gut-Wrenching World War II Spy Thriller

What is my book about?

Spies, military secrets, and a personal crusade for freedom…Rome, 1942Cordelia Olivieri is a young, determined hotel owner desperate to escape Mussolini’s racial persecution. But as Fascist leaders gather in Rome, Cordelia is suddenly surrounded by the world’s most ruthless and powerful commanders. In an effort to keep her Jewish heritage a secret and secure safe passage out of Italy, Cordelia forms a dangerous alliance with the British army who wants to push the Axis out of North Africa once and for all.

Going undercover, Cordelia begins obtaining and leaking military intelligence to a British agent, hoping the intelligence will secure her freedom. But the more Cordelia uncovers, the greater the risks – especially for one handsome German Afrika Korps officer. How far must Cordelia go to protect her identity and secure passage out of Rome?

Shepherd is reader supported. When you buy books, we may earn an affiliate commission.

The books I picked & why

Book cover of The Key to Rebecca

Cristina Loggia Why did I love this book?

This is my top favourite when it comes to choosing a World War 2 spy novel. I read it several times and I never get tired of it. I adored the exotic setting and the colourful cast of characters that feel authentic and so intriguing, for they are all flawed to a certain degree and yet they pursue what, in their view, is the greater good. Follett manages to make the reader care for every single one of them, and that’s what I absolutely love about this writer.

This is a book that also gives a better understanding of what World War 2 was like in the heat of North Africa and is rich in accurate historical details. The rotation of the points of view make it fun to read and the innumerable twists and turns keep you engaged at all time. An edge-of-seat, definitely unbeatable classic by this master storyteller.

By Ken Follett,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Key to Rebecca as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Ken Follett's The Key to Rebecca took readers and critics by storm when first published forty years ago. Today, it remains one of the best espionage novels ever written.

A brilliant and ruthless Nazi master agent is on the loose in Cairo. His mission is to send Rommel's advancing army the secrets that will unlock the city's doors. In all of Cairo, only two people can stop him. One is a down-on-his-luck English officer no one will listen to. The other is a vulnerable young Jewish girl. . . .


Book cover of The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

Cristina Loggia Why did I love this book?

This is a novel about the trials of the people living in the Channel Islands, set in Guernsey, namely, during the German occupation in World War 2. Written in the form of an epistolary, it is the debut and only novel by Mary Ann Shaeffer, an American author who died of cancer just a few months before its publication. It is beautifully written and what is particularly remarkable in my opinion is how the author managed to inject humour, a touch of romance, real drama, and the horrors of prisoners’ camps, all contributing to perfectly depict the extraordinary atmosphere and events of the only corner of the British isles that the Third Reich successfully invaded. A gem that oozes in originality.

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 The Unlikely Spy

Cristina Loggia Why did I love this book?

The author clearly did a great deal of research for this book, and this is certainly something I truly love in this World War 2 novel: it provides that solid and rich actual background against which the story is set. It is fascinating to see how both the Nazis and the Allies were playing a game of deception, trying to outmanoeuvre and outsmart each other. The writing is very good, the characters are complex, all with their flaws, all very interesting indeed, all feeling very credible, real. An engaging spy thriller that remains one of my favourite in this genre.

By Daniel Silva,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Unlikely Spy as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

What if Nazis deactivated a 'sleeper',a blonde Mata Hari,in the winter of 1944 in London in an endeavour to steal the whereabouts of D-Day landings. In the tradition of Robert Harris's FATHERLAND Rights already sold to publishers in the United States and eight other countries


Book cover of V2: A Novel of World War II

Cristina Loggia Why did I love this book?

This is a novel that feels like a journalistic reportage, as it is almost factual in the way it is crisply written and for the accuracy of the historical detail the author injected in his story. I liked the exploration of the moral and ethical dilemma that German scientists faced in the development of the V2 rocket technology. Suspenseful and fascinating, with credible characters, Robert Harris masterfully depicts the two sides of the story in a well-paced page-turner that makes an informative, engrossing, and interesting read.

By Robert Harris,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked V2 as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'Immersive' Guardian
'Stunning' Daily Express
'Riveting' Telegraph

Victory is close. Vengeance is closer.

Rudi Graf used to dream of sending a rocket to the moon. Instead, he has helped to create the world's most sophisticated weapon: the V2 ballistic missile, capable of delivering a one-ton warhead at three times the speed of sound.

In a desperate gamble to avoid defeat in the winter of 1944, Hitler orders ten thousand to be built. Graf is tasked with firing these lethal 'vengeance weapons' at London.

Kay Caton-Walsh is an officer in the Women's Auxiliary Air Force who joins a unit of WAAFs…


Book cover of Hornet Flight

Cristina Loggia Why did I love this book?

Another great thriller by Follett, what I found different and interesting for this book was the setting, Nazi-occupied Denmark during World War 2. The mixing of fictional and historical events is well accomplished. Typical of Follett, the novel presents intertwining stories in an adept way that builds tension throughout. It is very well researched and the places really come to life. I loved the abundance of technical details that don’t feel overwhelming, though. With memorable, strong characters, all determined to reach their goals, the writer did a great job in placing them into a well portrayed, true-life context. I loved the spinning swirl of actions that accompany the reader until the very end.

By Ken Follett,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Hornet Flight as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Ken Follett and the intrigue of World War II-"a winning formula" (Entertainment Weekly) if ever there was one. With his riveting prose and unerring instinct for suspense, the #1 New York Times bestselling author takes to the skies over Europe during the early days of the war in a most extraordinary novel. . . .

It is June 1941, and the war is not going well for England. Somehow, the Germans are anticipating the RAF's flight paths and shooting down British bombers with impunity. Meanwhile, across the North Sea, eighteen-year-old Harald Olufsen takes a shortcut on the German-occupied Danish island…


You might also like...

Make Her Pay

By Miranda Rijks,

Book cover of Make Her Pay

Miranda Rijks Author Of The Homemaker

New book alert!

Who am I?

Author Reader Mountain-lover

Miranda's 3 favorite reads in 2023

What is my book about?

A twisty psychological thriller about beautiful, successful Leonie who has just met Markus, the man of her dreams. But Leonie has a secret. Ten years ago, she was involved in an accident in which another driver died. Leonie shouldn’t have been behind the wheel that night – so she fled the scene. And ever since, she’s struggled with the terrible guilt.

Now, as her wedding to Markus draws near, it seems someone is out to get her. It’s little things at first but it soon escalates into a terrifying campaign which threatens her business, her family and even her life. Leonie realizes there’s a link to the accident that happened all those years ago. Someone knows what she did. Someone is determined to make her pay.

Make Her Pay

By Miranda Rijks,

What is this book about?

Leonie has the perfect life. Someone wants to take it away.

Leonie is living her best life. Still in her twenties, she’s beautiful, successful and has just met Markus, the man of her dreams.

But Leonie has a secret. Ten years ago, she was involved in an accident in which another driver died. Leonie shouldn’t have been behind the wheel that night – no license, no insurance – so she fled the scene. And ever since, she’s been struggling to deal with the terrible guilt.

Now, as her wedding to Markus draws near, it seems someone is out to get…


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in Denmark, intelligence agency, and World War 1?

10,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about Denmark, intelligence agency, and World War 1.

Denmark Explore 36 books about Denmark
Intelligence Agency Explore 116 books about intelligence agency
World War 1 Explore 857 books about World War 1