The best World War Two books featuring strong women

Gill Thompson Author Of The Child on Platform One
By Gill Thompson

Who am I?

As a teacher, I spent forty years at the chalkface before finally achieving my ambition to be a published writer. My first novel was about a child migrant to Australia; my second about a little girl on the kinder transport. I wanted to write about strong women in world war two. All three of the mothers in my stories are separated from their children and have to make some tough decisions. I hope my readers will remember them for their courage and tenacity and that they’ll enjoy reading about them as much as I’ve enjoyed creating them. 

I wrote...

The Child on Platform One

By Gill Thompson,

Book cover of The Child on Platform One

What is my book about?

Prague 1939. Young mother Eva has a secret from her past. When the Nazis invade, Eva knows the only way to keep her daughter Miriam safe is to send her away - even if it means never seeing her again. But when Eva is taken to a concentration camp, her secret is at risk of being exposed.

In London, Pamela volunteers to help find places for the Jewish children who arrived from Europe. Befriending one unclaimed little girl, Pamela brings her home. Then when her son enlists in the RAF, Pamela realises how easily her own world could come crashing down…

The books I picked & why

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The Girl from Bletchley Park

By Kathleen McGurl,

Book cover of The Girl from Bletchley Park

Why this book?

I’m fascinated by the way the code breakers at Bletchley helped to shorten the war. In Pam, McGurl has created a strong woman, who makes key choices, sometimes at the expense of her own happiness, to support the war effort. But what I really enjoyed was the time slip nature of the novel, where Pam is contrasted to her granddaughter Julia, a modern woman, who, when let down by the men around her, becomes empowered by her own freedom. It’s interesting to see how women’s roles have changed between the 1940s and today. 

Charlotte Gray

By Sebastian Faulks,

Book cover of Charlotte Gray

Why this book?

Charlotte Gray is a Special Operations Executive who works with the French Resistance in Vichy, France during World War II. It was fascinating to read about this aspect of world war two and the courage and initiative of women like Charlotte (based on the real-life characters of Nancy Wake and Pearl Witherington). And of course, Faulks is a brilliant writer.

People Like Us

By Louise Fein,

Book cover of People Like Us

Why this book?

Although strictly this was set in the run-up to World War two, rather than the war itself, I thought this was a fascinating insight into how a young German girl, infatuated with Hitler and the Nazis, gradually learns to see things from a different point of view when she falls in love with a Jewish boy. It’s a novel for our time, showing how easily ‘ordinary people’ can be sucked into extreme views. 

My Name Is Eva

By Suzanne Goldring,

Book cover of My Name Is Eva

Why this book?

I’m always intrigued by the stories older people have to tell about their war time experiences. I’m so glad I spoke to my own father about the war before he died, and I try to recognise this in my own novels. Suzanne shows us so well how a seemingly frail and elderly woman can hide a multitude of secrets, and Eva’s story is fascinating and beautifully told. 

The Night Watch

By Sarah Waters,

Book cover of The Night Watch

Why this book?

It was interesting to read about life in London during the Blitz, and Kay, Helen and Viv’s stories are powerfully told. I’m fascinated by writers who experiment with form, and in telling the story backwards, in piecemeal fashion, Waters conveys a profound message about the messy and fragmented nature of life.

5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in World War 2, Germany, and the German occupation of Europe?

5,810 authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about World War 2, Germany, and the German occupation of Europe.

World War 2 Explore 967 books about World War 2
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The German Occupation Of Europe Explore 43 books about the German occupation of Europe

And, 3 books we think you will enjoy!

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