The best military romance novels for learning about history

The Books I Picked & Why

Gone With the Wind

By Margaret Mitchell

Book cover of Gone With the Wind

Why this book?

Gone With the Wind is my favorite novel. Mitchell brings her characters and the event of the Civil War alive. This taught me more about the Civil War than any historical book. It begins at a time before the war, takes the reader through the destruction and death during the war, and brings the reader to the devastation to the South after the war. Gone With the Wind has something for everyone: romance, history, believable characters, and a great story. After almost 90 years, the book is still a great read!


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A Farewell to Arms

By Ernest Hemingway

Book cover of A Farewell to Arms

Why this book?

A Farewell to Arms is a great read, even today. Dialogue is Hemingway’s strength and the story of two star-crossed lovers who experience an out-of-wedlock pregnancy and ends in tragedy puts the reader right in the middle of the war. Lt Fredric Henry is an American who enlists in the Italian army as a Red Cross ambulance driver before the US formally entered the war. Nurse Catharine Barkley is a British nurse he falls in love with. Published in 1928, this novel deals with taboo subjects for that time in history (such as unwed pregnancy) and desertion, so certain parts were censored in the first edition. The most faithful version of this book is the 1957 Rock Hudson/Jennifer Jones movie.


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A Freedom Such as Heaven Intended

By Amanda Lauer

Book cover of A Freedom Such as Heaven Intended

Why this book?

A Freedom Such as Heaven Intended is a wonderful book whose main character is an educated biracial slave woman who escapes the abuse of her owner by enlisting the help of conductors of the Underground Railroad. This beautiful book, part of a series of five books, gives the reader an excellent glimpse into the life of a black woman during the Civil War, so I learned a great deal about a runaway slave’s plight during the Civil War.


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The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

By Mary Ann Shaffer, Annie Barrows

Book cover of The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

Why this book?

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society begins in London just after the Second World War. Writer Juliet Ashton exchanges letters with a man she’s never met, a native of Guernsey. As they exchange letters, she finds out about the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, which was started as a spur-of-the-moment alibi when its members were discovered breaking curfew by the Germans occupying their island. The cast of characters is charming, eccentric and above all, were so believable that I felt I was reading about real people. I highly recommend this beautiful book. While the characters are fictional, the German occupation of Guernsey from 1940-1945 is true. I learned so much from this entertaining story, and I highly recommend it.


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A High and Hidden Place

By Michele Lucas

Book cover of A High and Hidden Place

Why this book?

While not technically a ‘romance,’ this is the remarkable story of one woman’s quest to uncover her past. In 1963, 25-year-old journalist Christine Lenoir watches in horror as Lee Harvey Oswald is shot live on TV. She has flashbacks and vivid dreams about her life as a young child. Raised by religious sisters in a convent in France, Christine is led to believe that her parents died of the flu. In actuality, she discovers that they and most of the residents of her hometown were slaughtered by the Nazis in June of 1944. It’s a difficult read, but this is an extraordinary book.


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