The best World War II novels to inspire you

The Books I Picked & Why

The Curator's Daughter

By Melanie Dobson

Book cover of The Curator's Daughter

Why this book?

This dual timeline novel is expertly researched and woven into a tapestry. In 1940, a German archaeologist is forced to marry an SS officer—and to catalog art stolen from the Jews. In modern times, a young woman with a traumatic past in the neo-Nazi movement works with the Holocaust Museum to fight hate crimes. Their entwining stories show the courage needed to stand up against racism—and the necessity of doing so, no matter the cost.


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The Last Bookshop in London: A Novel of World War II

By Madeline Martin

Book cover of The Last Bookshop in London: A Novel of World War II

Why this book?

A charming novel that brings the London Blitz to life—both the terrors and the famous British all-in-it-together spirit. Despite never having been a reader, a young woman lands a job at a bookshop. She’s determined to learn about the books she’s selling and immerses herself in the stories. When she begins reading out loud in the Underground station during air raids, something beautiful happens in her community, showing the beauty of giving to others even when you feel you have nothing to offer.


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The Lines Between Us

By Amy Lynn Green

Book cover of The Lines Between Us

Why this book?

Filled with spunk and humor, this novel also highlights a less-known aspect of the war. A conscientious objector serves as a smokejumper in Oregon, parachuting into forest fires to fight them. His former sweetheart, who broke up with him for being “cowardly,” serves in the Women’s Army Corps. When her brother dies fighting a mysterious fire, she breaks every rule imaginable to investigate—but the results could be devastating. The exploration of the true meaning of courage and honesty adds incredible depth to this story.


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The London Restoration

By Rachel McMillan

Book cover of The London Restoration

Why this book?

A love letter to London, this novel takes place immediately after the war, as a newlywed couple tries to pick up the pieces and fall in love again. But she’s keeping secrets from him—she must, having served as a codebreaker at Bletchley Park. And he’s struggling with nightmares from his service as an army medic. When her former boss ropes her in to help bring down a Soviet spy ring somehow connected to her beloved Christopher Wren churches, the secrets and nightmares could very well defeat them. A beautiful tale with literary depth.


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The Paris Dressmaker

By Kristy Cambron

Book cover of The Paris Dressmaker

Why this book?

A deft weaving of the stories of two brave Parisiennes throughout the war years. An haute couture dressmaker sews gowns for the girlfriends of German officers and passes their secrets to the French Resistance, while an art expert catalogues art looted by the Nazis. With impeccable research and heart, this novel illuminates the harshness of life in Paris during the war, the eternal allure of the City of Light, and the importance of doing right in a world gone wrong.


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