The best books about World War Two and Nazi stolen art

Who am I?

I studied art history in Florence, Italy, while there for six months during college. I’ve always loved Italy and am fascinated with art and World War II, because my father was a top-turret gunner on a B-17, flying missions over Europe, including on D-Day. WWII historical fiction is my favorite topic to read and write. I write in a variety of genres, from women’s fiction to historical romantic thrillers and romantic suspense to paranormal. My latest project is a cozy mystery series about an American college graduate who goes to work for a flailing Italian art detective agency in Florence and works with her sexy Carabinieri boyfriend (later husband), to solve Nazi stolen art crimes. 

I wrote...

The Case of the Forgotten Fragonard

By Marilyn Baron,

Book cover of The Case of the Forgotten Fragonard

What is my book about?

Tracking stolen art in gorgeous Italian villas…secrets and danger.

Hadley Evans Ferrari, art detective in Florence, Italy, is on the scent of a forgotten painting in a villa in Rome when she stumbles across a treasure trove of stolen artwork—from Hermann Göring’s personal World War II stash. When she and the palazzo’s interior decorator are held hostage by the head of a secret Nazi organization and required, in a race against time, to appraise all the artwork in the house for private sale, she fears they will never escape with their lives. Can her sexy carabinieri husband Luca Ferrari and the police department’s Art Squad get there in time to come storming in and “save the day” before the villa’s evil Count “ties up loose ends”?

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The books I picked & why


By Lisa Scottoline,

Book cover of Eternal

Why did I love this book?

This is my first Lisa Scottoline book.

She’s known for her crime fiction, but this is her first foray into historical fiction and I fell in love with the book. It doesn’t necessarily have to do with art theft but it’s one of the best WW II books I’ve ever read.

I fell in love with her characters and didn’t want the book to end. She has a new book coming out (March 2023) called Loyalty about the rise of the Mafia in Sicily, which is also fascinating and unforgettable.

By Lisa Scottoline,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

#1 bestselling author Lisa Scottoline offers a sweeping and shattering epic of historical fiction fueled by shocking true events, the tale of a love triangle that unfolds in the heart of the creeping shadow of fascism.

What war destroys, only love can heal.

Elisabetta, Marco, and Sandro grow up as the best of friends despite their differences. Elisabetta is a feisty beauty who dreams of becoming a novelist; Marco the brash and athletic son in a family of professional cyclists; and Sandro a Jewish mathematics prodigy, kind-hearted and thoughtful, the son of a lawyer and…

The Nightingale

By Kristin Hannah,

Book cover of The Nightingale

Why did I love this book?

This is my favorite World War II book.

I loved the story and the book’s release unleashed a barrage of WII books. I liked that the story was about womens’ (sisters) role in the war.

It was action-packed and kept me guessing until the end.

I love books set in France and the Historical Fiction genre. I highly recommend her book.

By Kristin Hannah,

Why should I read it?

22 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…

Woman on Fire

By Lisa Barr,

Book cover of Woman on Fire

Why did I love this book?

This is a very sophisticated, fast-paced, and well-researched book about an international art scandal.

The characters were interesting and came alive on the page. I was convinced they were talking about a real work of art. The book was full of intrigue.

Nazi stolen art is my all-time favorite topic to read and write about. I really enjoyed it and found it one of the best fiction books on the subject.  

By Lisa Barr,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Woman on Fire as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?


A young journalist embroiled in an international art scandal centred around a Nazi-looted masterpiece, forcing the ultimate showdown between passion and possession, lovers and liars, history and truth.

After talking her way into a job in Chicago, young journalist Jules Roth is given an unusual assignment: locate a painting stolen by the Nazis more than 75 years ago. The painting? None other than legendary artist Ernst Engel's most famous work, Woman on Fire. A dying designer covets the portrait…

The Last Mona Lisa

By Jonathan Santlofer,

Book cover of The Last Mona Lisa

Why did I love this book?

Not only was this book about the theft of the Mona Lisa, the most famous painting in the world, in 1911 a great read, but I connected with the book because the author is a writer and an artist.

As an artist, he has been replicating famous paintings for private collectors for more than two decades so he knows his subject.

By Jonathan Santlofer,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

"Unstoppable what-happens-next momentum."-Michael Connelly, #1 New York Times bestselling author
"A deliciously tense read."-Ruth Ware, #1 New York Times bestselling author
From award-winning crime writer and celebrated artist Jonathan Santlofer comes an enthralling tale about the 1911 theft of the Mona Lisa from the Louvre, the forgeries that appeared in its wake, and the present-day underbelly of the art world.
August, 1911: The Mona Lisa is stolen by Vincent Peruggia. Exactly what happens in the two years before its recovery is a mystery. Many replicas of the Mona Lisa exist, and more…

The Stolen Lady

By Laura Morelli,

Book cover of The Stolen Lady

Why did I love this book?

This book takes you on a breathless journey with the Mona Lisa when it was hidden from the Germans during World War II.

It is set in interesting places and I loved the WW II tie-in. The author is an art historian—she holds a PhD in Art History from Yale University—so she knows what she’s talking about.

On a personal note, I had the privilege of interviewing her when she was our featured author for Roswell Reads, a one-city-one-read program and she gave an excellent presentation.

I’ve read a few of her other books and was equally impressed.

By Laura Morelli,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

From the acclaimed author of The Night Portrait comes a stunning historical novel about two women, separated by five hundred years, who each hide Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa—with unintended consequences.

France, 1939

At the dawn of World War II, Anne Guichard, a young archivist employed at the Louvre, arrives home to find her brother missing. While she works to discover his whereabouts, refugees begin flooding into Paris and German artillery fire rattles the city. Once they reach the city, the Nazis will stop at nothing to get their hands on the Louvre’s art collection. Anne is quickly sent to…

5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in France, World War 2, and art theft?

9,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about France, World War 2, and art theft.

France Explore 779 books about France
World War 2 Explore 1,545 books about World War 2
Art Theft Explore 34 books about art theft

And, 3 books we think you will enjoy!

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