The best World War II novels to inspire you

Who am I?

Sarah Sundin’s love for the stories of World War II comes from family members who served during the war on the US Home Front and abroad. Her passion for research and travel has fueled her award-winning novels. The horrors of the war brought out the worst in humanity. Yet they also brought out the best in humanity, and those stories—of people who chose kindness and courage and right in trying times—are the stories that inspire us to choose kindness and courage and right in our own trying times.


I wrote...

Until Leaves Fall in Paris

By Sarah Sundin,

Book cover of Until Leaves Fall in Paris

What is my book about?

As the Nazis march toward Paris in 1940, American ballerina Lucie Girard buys her favorite English-language bookstore to allow the owners to escape—and then uses her store to aid the resistance. Widower Paul Aubrey wants to return to the States with his little girl, but the US Army convinces him to keep his factory running and obtain military information from his German customers. As the war rages on, Paul and Lucie are drawn to each other, but for Paul to win her trust would mean betraying his mission. In a world turned upside down, will love or duty prevail?

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The books I picked & why

Book cover of The Curator's Daughter

Sarah Sundin Why did I love 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.

By Melanie Dobson,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Curator's Daughter as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A young girl, kidnapped on the eve of World War II, changes the lives of a German archaeologist forced into the Nazi Party and―decades later―a researcher trying to overcome her own trauma.

1940. Hanna Tillich cherishes her work as an archaeologist for the Third Reich, searching for the Holy Grail and other artifacts to bolster evidence of a master Aryan race. But when she is reassigned to work as a museum curator in Nuremberg, then forced to marry an SS officer and adopt a young girl, Hanna begins to see behind the Nazi facade. A prayer labyrinth becomes a storehouse…


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

Sarah Sundin Why did I love 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.

By Madeline Martin,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked The Last Bookshop in London as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

“An irresistible tale which showcases the transformative power of literacy, reminding us of the hope and sanctuary our neighborhood bookstores offer during the perilous trials of war and unrest.”

—KIM MICHELE RICHARDSON, author of The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek

August 1939: London prepares for war as Hitler’s forces sweep across Europe. Grace Bennett has always dreamed of moving to the city, but the bunkers and drawn curtains that she finds on her arrival are not what she expected. And she certainly never imagined she’d wind up working at Primrose Hill, a dusty old bookshop…


Book cover of The Lines Between Us

Sarah Sundin Why did I love 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.

By Amy Lynn Green,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A WWII novel of courage and conviction, based on the true experience of the men who fought fires as conscientious objectors and the women who fought prejudice to serve in the Women's Army Corps.

Since the attack on Pearl Harbor, Gordon Hooper and his buddy Jack Armitage have stuck to their values as conscientious objectors. Much to their families' and country's chagrin, they volunteer as smokejumpers rather than enlisting, parachuting into and extinguishing raging wildfires in Oregon. But the number of winter blazes they're called to seems suspiciously high, and when an accident leaves Jack badly injured, Gordon realizes the…


Book cover of The London Restoration

Sarah Sundin Why did I love 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.

By Rachel McMillan,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The secrets that might save a nation could shatter a marriage.

Madly in love, Diana Foyle and Brent Somerville married in London as the bombs of World War II dropped on their beloved city. Without time for a honeymoon, the couple spent the next four years apart. Diana, an architectural historian, took a top-secret intelligence post at Bletchley Park. Brent, a professor of theology at King's College, believed his wife was working for the Foreign Office as a translator when he was injured in an attack on the European front.

Now that the war is over, the Somervilles' long-anticipated reunion…


Book cover of The Paris Dressmaker

Sarah Sundin Why did I love 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.

By Kristy Cambron,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Based on true accounts of how Parisiennes resisted the Nazi occupation in World War II-from fashion houses to the city streets-comes a story of two courageous women who risked everything to fight an evil they couldn't abide.

Paris, 1939. Maison Chanel has closed, thrusting haute couture dressmaker Lila de Laurent out of the world of high fashion as Nazi soldiers invade the streets and the City of Lights slips into darkness. Lila's life is now a series of rations, brutal restrictions, and carefully controlled propaganda while Paris is cut off from the rest of the world. Yet in hidden corners…


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These Tangled Threads: A Novel of Biltmore

By Sarah Loudin Thomas,

Book cover of These Tangled Threads: A Novel of Biltmore

Sarah Loudin Thomas Author Of These Tangled Threads: A Novel of Biltmore

New book alert!

Who am I?

Author Appalachian West virginian Dog lover Hiker

Sarah's 3 favorite reads in 2023

What is my book about?

Seven years ago, a hidden betrayal scattered three friends living in the shadow of Biltmore Estate. Now, when Biltmore Industries master weaver Lorna Blankenship is commissioned to create an original design for Cornelia Vanderbilt's 1924 wedding, she panics knowing she doesn't have the creativity needed. But there's an elusive artisan in the Blue Ridge Mountains who could save her--if only she can find her.

To track the mysterious weaver down, Lorna must seek out the relationships she abandoned in shame. As she pulls at each tangled thread from her old life, Lorna is forced to confront the wounds of long ago. She'll have to risk the job that shapes her identity as well as the hope of friendship--and love--restored.

These Tangled Threads: A Novel of Biltmore

By Sarah Loudin Thomas,

What is this book about?

Seven years ago, a hidden betrayal scattered three young friends living in the shadow of Biltmore Estate. Now, when Biltmore Industries master weaver Lorna Blankenship is commissioned to create an original design for Cornelia Vanderbilt's 1924 wedding, she panics knowing she doesn't have the creativity needed. But there's an elusive artisan in the Blue Ridge Mountains who could save her--if only she can find her.

To track the mysterious weaver down, Lorna sees no other way but to seek out the relationships she abandoned in shame. As she pulls at each tangled thread from her old life, Lorna is forced…


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