The best novels set in WWII with unique plot lines and perspectives

Elizabeth B. Splaine Author Of Swan Song
By Elizabeth B. Splaine

Who am I?

As a retired opera singer, I have sung many of the songs that are featured in the book. I first became interested in Terezin when I sang with an opera company that was performing Brundibar, a children’s opera (composed by Hans Krasa, who was imprisoned in the camp) performed more than 50 times in Terezin. As a psych major (having written several medical/psych thriller books as well) I am constantly questioning the idea of choices and the consequences that fall from them. War challenges our notion of humanity, hope, and choice, and perhaps writing helps me work through some of those questions I have…what would I do in that situation? 


I wrote...

Swan Song

By Elizabeth B. Splaine,

Book cover of Swan Song

What is my book about?

Adolf Hitler becomes obsessed with his nephew’s fiancee, a beautiful Jewish opera singer who is the doppelganger for his beloved, deceased niece with whom he had an affair. Because he can’t possess her, Hitler uses her life as a pawn in a vindictive, global chess game he plays with his nephew. Based on real-life people and places, Swan Song will have you hooked from the first tantalizing chapter.

The books I picked & why

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Les Parisiennes: Resistance, Collaboration, and the Women of Paris Under Nazi Occupation

By Anne Sebba,

Book cover of Les Parisiennes: Resistance, Collaboration, and the Women of Paris Under Nazi Occupation

Why this book?

Les Parisiennes lays out in graphic detail the significant inequities handed down throughout the war with regard to social, economic, and religious status for women of world war II Paris. Ms. Sebba uses a timeline of pre-, during, and post-world war II to paint a picture of what daily life was like depending on how much money you had or whom you knew. She uses real-life examples like Coco Chanel, Genevieve de Gaulle, and Edith Piaf to help the reader understand the consequences of various choices made during wartime.

Les Parisiennes: Resistance, Collaboration, and the Women of Paris Under Nazi Occupation

By Anne Sebba,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Les Parisiennes as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.


The Life and Death of Adolf Hitler

By Robert Payne,

Book cover of The Life and Death of Adolf Hitler

Why this book?

I wanted to dive into Hitler’s mind as I wrote words pouring from his mouth, and this book did not disappoint. From the opening pages I felt immersed in his pathetically creepy world where he was always the hero, or the wronged one, the victim. His rise to power was foreseeable, predictable, and avoidable, urged forward by people of wealth who consistently chose personal profit over integrity. Reading this book helped me understand how divisiveness can be propagated using deft propaganda. This book is terrifying, revealing, and really important to understand.

The Life and Death of Adolf Hitler

By Robert Payne,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Life and Death of Adolf Hitler as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.


The Nazi Officer's Wife: How One Jewish Woman Survived the Holocaust

By Edith Hahn Beer, Susan Dworkin,

Book cover of The Nazi Officer's Wife: How One Jewish Woman Survived the Holocaust

Why this book?

I love books that present choices that seem clear to us, reading in this century, curled up on the sofa in front of a roaring fire sipping from a cup of mocha, latte frappucino. Choices that appear black and white are actually a muddled gray when life or death hangs in the balance. I love to read books that ask (without asking) what would I do in the exact same situation as the protagonist. This book does that, and you can feel the tension, the strain, the angst as the Nazi noose tightens around their necks. Terrifying and real.

The Nazi Officer's Wife: How One Jewish Woman Survived the Holocaust

By Edith Hahn Beer, Susan Dworkin,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Nazi Officer's Wife as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Edith Hahn was an outspoken young woman studying law in Vienna when the Gestapo forced her and her mother into a ghetto, issuing them papers branded with a "J". Soon Edith was taken away to a labour camp and when she returned home after months away she found her mother had been deported. Her boyfriend, Pepi, proved too terrified to help her, but a Christian friend was not. Using the woman's identity papers, she fled to Munich. There she met Werner Vetter, a Nazi party member who fell in love with her and, despite her protests and even her eventual…

The Untold Story of Eva Braun: Her Life beyond Hitler

By Thomas Lundmark,

Book cover of The Untold Story of Eva Braun: Her Life beyond Hitler

Why this book?

Again, in writing Anna in my own book (who is based on the actions and decisions of Eva Braun), I had to get inside her head. I was fascinated with the idea that someone (Hitler) so reviled could be simultaneously so adored…by Eva and so many other women. Eva’s short, sad life could have taken several turns. She didn’t have to end up dead in a dark, underground bunker next to a madman. Ultimately, the book gave me great insight into her mind, and aided me greatly in writing a character who becomes so obsessed with Adolf that she loses herself.

The Untold Story of Eva Braun: Her Life beyond Hitler

By Thomas Lundmark,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Untold Story of Eva Braun as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.


Helga's Diary: A Young Girl's Account of Life in a Concentration Camp

By Helga Weiss, Neil Bermel (translator),

Book cover of Helga's Diary: A Young Girl's Account of Life in a Concentration Camp

Why this book?

There are several books I could recommend written by adults who were imprisoned as children in Terezin during the war, but this one stands out because of its artwork interspersed with factual accounts of daily life. Indeed, it’s the factual perspective she takes in her descriptions that makes them so heart-wrenching. Her map was my primary tool in writing descriptions of the camp, and her artwork, imitating her writing style, comes across as stark and factual. Written as a diary, not a novel, I cried at the cruelty with which her life unfurled before her. At the same time, however, she manages to capture the beauty of being a child, full of hope and promise. That balance makes the book a jewel.

Helga's Diary: A Young Girl's Account of Life in a Concentration Camp

By Helga Weiss, Neil Bermel (translator),

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In 1939, Helga Weiss was a young Jewish schoolgirl in Prague. As she endured the first waves of the Nazi invasion, she began to document her experiences in a diary. During her internment at the concentration camp of Terezin, Helga's uncle hid her diary in a brick wall. Of the 15,000 children brought to Terezin and deported to Auschwitz, there were only one hundred survivors. Helga was one of them. Miraculously, she was able to recover her diary from its hiding place after the war. These pages reveal Helga's powerful story through her own words and illustrations. Includes a special…


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