100 books like A Kiss from Maddalena

By Christopher Castellani,

Here are 100 books that A Kiss from Maddalena fans have personally recommended if you like A Kiss from Maddalena. Shepherd is a community of 11,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of Sisters in Arms

Alicia Dill Author Of Beyond Sacrifice

From my list on thrillers on veterans beyond “thank you for your service".

Why am I passionate about this?

Before I’m a writer, I’m a reader and I need the realness when it comes to military service. I started as an Army journalist so the details matter to me. When I pick up a book to relax and the main character draws me with a story I can get all the five senses of it, I’m in! On the other hand, I'm usually turned off by books that use veterans as props or either heroes or villains with nothing in between. That’s not who I served with. Where was the gray of the human existence in veteran characters? Gimme books that bring more depth to characters that round out personal experience. 

Alicia's book list on thrillers on veterans beyond “thank you for your service"

Alicia Dill Why did Alicia love this book?

I loved this was a historical fiction novel that featured the Six Triple Eight unit from the Women’s Army Corps. The Midwest was heavily featured including Iowa and the way race played in the way women were allowed to serve. This reminded me that I stand on the shoulders of the women who came before me in the Women’s Army Corps and the treatment of women has come a long way. I struggled with some of the scenarios the two main characters, Grace Steele and Eliza Jones were put into but they rang true for a fictional novel. 

By Kaia Alderson,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Sisters in Arms as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Kaia Alderson's debut historical fiction novel reveals the untold, true story of the Six Triple Eight, the only all-Black battalion of the Women's Army Corps, who made the dangerous voyage to Europe to ensure American servicemen received word from their loved ones during World War II.

Grace Steele and Eliza Jones may be from completely different backgrounds, but when it comes to the army, specifically the Women's Army Auxiliary Corps (WAAC), they are both starting from the same level. Not only will they be among the first class of female officers the army has even seen, they are also the…

Book cover of The Beantown Girls

Cathy Gohlke Author Of Ladies of the Lake

From my list on the wonder and complexity of friendships and love.

Why am I passionate about this?

From the moment my grandmother told me that books were not created by magic, but that real people write books (I was five years old) I knew that I wanted to become a writer—as surely as did Anne in Anne of Green Gables. Themes of the joy, the complexity, and responsibility of friendship and family, of working together despite great challenges to overcome obstacles for purposes beyond ourselves, and of doing that while sometimes working through stages of grief all resonate with me, are all part of my life. The books I’ve recommended, as well as the books I’ve written, contain those themes.

Cathy's book list on the wonder and complexity of friendships and love

Cathy Gohlke Why did Cathy love this book?

Good friends stick together through thick and thin. That’s the premise I took away from The Beantown Girls. 

When one of three forever best friends from Boston learns that her fiancé is missing in WWII action, she determines to go to Europe and against all odds, find him. She convinces her two best friends—women with very different personalities, very different gifts, and skills—to join her as Red Cross Clubmobile girls in what could be a grand adventure or a terrible risk to their lives. 

They never expected to care so deeply for the soldiers they go to help, to encounter the horrors and deprivation of war they do, or that their friendship and camaraderie will be tested and yet become the thing that carries them through.

By Jane Healey,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked The Beantown Girls as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

An Amazon Charts and Washington Post bestseller.

A novel of love, courage, and danger unfolds as World War II's brightest heroines-the best of friends-take on the front lines.

1944: Fiona Denning has her entire future planned out. She'll work in city hall, marry her fiance when he returns from the war, and settle down in the Boston suburbs. But when her fiance is reported missing after being shot down in Germany, Fiona's long-held plans are shattered.

Determined to learn her fiance's fate, Fiona leaves Boston to volunteer overseas as a Red Cross Clubmobile girl, recruiting her two best friends to…

Book cover of Manhattan Beach

Priscilla Gilman Author Of The Critic's Daughter: A Memoir

From my list on loving and losing a complicated father.

Why am I passionate about this?

I'm the daughter of a charismatic and complicated father, the late theater and literary critic and Yale School of Drama professor Richard Gilman. My memoir, The Critic's Daughter, tells the story of how I lost him for the first time when I was ten years old and over and over in the ensuing months and years; the book is my attempt to find him. I'm a former professor of English literature at Yale and Vassar, the mother of two boys, a book critic for the Boston Globe, and a literature, writing, and meditation teacher.

Priscilla's book list on loving and losing a complicated father

Priscilla Gilman Why did Priscilla love this book?

Manhattan Beach is less experimental and more conventional than Jennifer Egan's A Visit From The Goon Squad and The Candy House, but it is every bit as moving, rich, and textured as those justly celebrated novels, and it contains one of the most touching father/daughter relationships that I've ever encountered in fiction.

A historical novel set in Depression and World War II-era New York City, Manhattan Beach begins with almost 12-year-old Anna Kerrigan accompanying her rakish father, Eddie, on a mission to a wealthy gangster. A few years later, Eddie disappears after abruptly walking out on his family with no warning or explanation.

Has he been killed? Is he in hiding?  Why did he abandon a family he ostensibly loved? Plucky, brave Anna devotes herself to the search for her missing father with the ingenuity and zeal of the detectives she reads about in fiction.

I reviewed Manhattan Beach for…

By Jennifer Egan,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • A New York Times Notable Book

Winner of the Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Fiction

The daring and magnificent novel from the Pulitzer Prize–winning author.

Named One of the Best Books of the Year by NPR, Esquire, Vogue, The Washington Post, The Guardian, USA TODAY, and Time

Anna Kerrigan, nearly twelve years old, accompanies her father to visit Dexter Styles, a man who, she gleans, is crucial to the survival of her father and her family. She is mesmerized by the sea beyond the house and by some charged mystery between the two men.…

Book cover of The Last Year of the War

Elizabeth Musser Author Of By Way of the Moonlight

From my list on time-slip with present day and WWII protagonists.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a Southern girl from Atlanta who writes ‘entertainment with a soul’ from my writing chalet—tool shed—outside Lyon, France where my husband and I have worked with a non-profit for over 30 years. I love to incorporate little-known historical facts into my award-winning and best-selling contemporary, historical, and time-slip fiction. I want my reader to find not only a good story and an interesting plot, but also the soul in my book and in my characters with themes of betrayal, regret, redemption, forgiveness, and faith that allow my reader to think, to ask questions, to laugh and cry and hope. To be entertained way down in her soul. 

Elizabeth's book list on time-slip with present day and WWII protagonists

Elizabeth Musser Why did Elizabeth love this book?

Susan Meissner is my go-to for wonderfully deep characterization in time-slip novels. The Last Year of the War tells a much less familiar part of WWII, the horrifying way many German and Japanese Americans were interned in camps in Texas during the war years. Elise Sontag is a typical American teenager from Iowa who meets fellow internee Mariko Inoue, a Japanese-American teen from Los Angeles, at the camp. The story is filled with heartache and twists and turns and has a lovely present-day thread that delights and surprises. 

As an author, I am often inspired when I stumble upon little know historical facts as Susan has done here. I incorporated the little known Coast Guard Mounted Patrol into my dual-time of my book

By Susan Meissner,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Last Year of the War as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

From the acclaimed author of Secrets of a Charmed Life and As Bright as Heaven comes a novel about a German American teenager whose life changes forever when her immigrant family is sent to an internment camp during World War II.
In 1943, Elise Sontag is a typical American teenager from Iowa—aware of the war but distanced from its reach. Then her father, a legal U.S. resident for nearly two decades, is suddenly arrested on suspicion of being a Nazi sympathizer. The family is sent to an internment camp in Texas, where, behind the armed guards and barbed wire, Elise…

Book cover of Courage, My Love

Alyssa Palombo Author Of The Borgia Confessions

From my list on historical fiction set in Italy.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve been fascinated by history my whole life, and have been reading historical fiction for as long as I can remember. I have a particular passion for the history of Italy, in all its complicated, bloody, and dazzling glory, from the politics to the music to the art to, of course, the food and wine. There is so much within Italian history that captivates, and as a woman of Italian descent it holds a special interest for me. I try to capture the drama, beauty, and complexity of Italy in my own historical novels, and the books on this list all do that in the most compelling way.

Alyssa's book list on historical fiction set in Italy

Alyssa Palombo Why did Alyssa love this book?

I just recently read this wonderful debut novel, and I’ve been thinking about it ever since! Courage, My Love tells the story of two women living in Nazi-occupied Rome who become involved in the Italian resistance and its effort to rid their country of fascism. This is a beautiful, heart-wrenching, timely novel of ordinary people living in extraordinary times, and the courage they have in standing up to evil.

By Kristin Beck,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

When the Nazi occupation of Rome begins, two courageous young women are plunged deep into the Italian Resistance to fight for their freedom in this captivating debut novel.

Rome, 1943

Lucia Colombo has had her doubts about fascism for years, but as a single mother in an increasingly unstable country, politics are for other people--she needs to focus on keeping herself and her son alive. Then the Italian government falls and the German occupation begins, and suddenly, Lucia finds that complacency is no longer an option. 

Francesca Gallo has always been aware of injustice and suffering. A polio survivor who…

Book cover of War in Val d'Orcia: An Italian War Diary, 1943-1944

Christine Foster Meloni Author Of Growing Up in Mussolini's Fascist Italy: The Story of Andrea Marcello Meloni

From my list on the dangers of living under Hitler and Mussolini.

Why am I passionate about this?

I became very interested in this topic when I moved to Italy and met and married Andrea Meloni. I had never been particularly interested in wars and battles but, when he began to tell me about his very personal experience growing up in Mussolini’s Fascist Italy, I was captivated and felt that his unique story was important. I, therefore, encouraged him to write his memoirs. My book is based on them, and so it is more his book than mine. However, I did extensive research to set his story in a coherent historical context. 

Christine's book list on the dangers of living under Hitler and Mussolini

Christine Foster Meloni Why did Christine love this book?

Origo was an English woman married to a wealthy Italian.

They were living on their estate in Italy (Tuscany) when Mussolini came to power and soon allied himself with Hitler. Her personal account of how they, both anti-Fascists, lived during this very difficult period brings history to life. They often put themselves in harm’s way by helping others hide from Fascist pursuers.

By Iris Origo,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked War in Val d'Orcia as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The bestselling diaries of WWII in Tuscany, with a new introduction by writer and social historian Virginia Nicholson, and stunning rediscovered photographsAt the height of the Second World War, Italy was being torn apart by German armies, civil war, and the eventual Allied invasion. In a corner of Tuscany, one woman - born in England, married to an Italian - kept a record of daily life in a country at war. Iris Origo's compellingly powerful diary, War in Val d'Orcia, is the spare and vivid account of what happened when a peaceful farming valley became a battleground.

At great personal…

Book cover of Beneath a Scarlet Sky

Lorenzo Petruzziello Author Of The Taste of Datura

From my list on books with underlying and self-made conflicts.

Why am I passionate about this?

I write in my spare time, drawing inspiration from my frequent trips to Italy, dating back to my childhood summers. I am an indie writer of noir crime fiction with an interest in uncomfortable moments, especially those created by the main characters themselves. My list journeys across a vast array of genres, but they all have that tone of something happening in the shadows or underlying truths working to achieve an outcome or fight against adversity. I like unspoken dialogue and self-made conflicts, which are both elements included in all the stories I mention in this list. 

Lorenzo's book list on books with underlying and self-made conflicts

Lorenzo Petruzziello Why did Lorenzo love this book?

This book was recommended to me because it was set in Italy–specifically in Milan, where I spent some time years ago. It was interesting to learn about the region during the time of WWII and the tribulations that befallen the city and certain groups of people. In this story, the characters participate in a discreet fight against the force of fascism that took over their city.

Of course, I appreciated this fascinating story of this young man’s role. But what really remained with me was learning how the people worked together in the shadows to fight against evil.

By Mark Sullivan,

Why should I read it?

10 authors picked Beneath a Scarlet Sky as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Soon to be a major television event from Pascal Pictures, starring Tom Holland.

Based on the true story of a forgotten hero, the USA Today and #1 Amazon Charts bestseller Beneath a Scarlet Sky is the triumphant, epic tale of one young man's incredible courage and resilience during one of history's darkest hours.

Pino Lella wants nothing to do with the war or the Nazis. He's a normal Italian teenager-obsessed with music, food, and girls-but his days of innocence are numbered. When his family home in Milan is destroyed by Allied bombs, Pino joins an underground railroad helping Jews escape…

Book cover of All the Light We Cannot See

Jill Wallace Author Of War Serenade

From my list on impossible odds and satisfying endings.

Why am I passionate about this?

My ultimate read is when the action is fast, but the character's discovery of self is slow. Besides, being engrossed in the challenges of others makes my own pale by comparison. The author needs to get me to empathize with the characters - even if their struggles are nothing like my own - and once they’ve done that, I’ll be in for the long haul! Journeying through life’s mire and finding the rainbow with a character you believe - and believe in - makes for the ultimate in vicarious living. And ‘Heck, YES’ to a satisfying ending!

Jill's book list on impossible odds and satisfying endings

Jill Wallace Why did Jill love this book?

This book, with its prose as poetry, made me want to read it again the minute I finished. To absorb Mr. Doerr’s majestic words was to be transformed into a little blind girl with the heart of a lion, the wit of a comic, the determination of a world leader. I became Marie-Laure LeBlanc and felt all the while sublimely grateful that I could see. And then I met Werner Flemming and wept for him. I understood him. I was deeply moved by him. 

I felt it was profoundly destined that these two should meet and fall in love, but my imagination carried me far into the future. I was surprised to find though I should have been disappointed, I was not. You see, this book made me realize that while many people touch our lives, some can change the course of our trajectory even by a single degree. And…

By Anthony Doerr,

Why should I read it?

41 authors picked All the Light We Cannot See as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?


A beautiful, stunningly ambitious novel about a blind French girl and a German boy whose paths collide in occupied France as both try to survive the devastation of World War II

Open your eyes and see what you can with them before they close forever.'

For Marie-Laure, blind since the age of six, the world is full of mazes. The miniature of a Paris neighbourhood, made by her father to teach her the way home. The microscopic…

Book cover of Snow on the Tulips

Terrie Todd Author Of Rose Among Thornes

From my list on relationships between characters on opposing sides of WWII.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a Canadian author and I set my novels here. When I first attempted to write a book, I chose historical fiction because I thought it would be easier to get my characters into trouble—without cell phones and other modern conveniences to bail them out. I wasn’t wrong. However, the research involved with writing good historical fiction soon gave me a whole new appreciation for the genre and I was hooked. I find the WWII era far enough in the past to provide historical insight into humanity’s many weaknesses and strengths, yet near enough to make it relatable. I’ve been thrilled with the feedback on my faith-based stories.

Terrie's book list on relationships between characters on opposing sides of WWII

Terrie Todd Why did Terrie love this book?

I love how Tolsma sets up a very believable story of a Dutch war widow who ends up harboring a wounded Resistance worker. Although saving him means risking everything and although liberation is within sight, Cornelia’s faith won’t allow her to turn the man out. Fearing their story will end before it even begins, she must make an impossible choice between relative safety for her brother and herself, or joining Gerrit in the Resistance. I learned so much about what the Dutch went through during WWII.

By Liz Tolsma,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A stranger's life hangs in the balance. But to save him is to risk everything.

The war is drawing to a close, but the Nazis still occupy part of the Netherlands. After the losses she's endured, war widow Cornelia is only a shadow of the woman she once was. She fights now to protect her younger brother, Johan, who lives in hiding.

When Johan brings Gerrit Laninga, a wounded Dutch Resistance member, to Cornelia's doorstep, their ives are forever altered. Although scared of the consequences of harboring a wanted man, Cornelia's faith won't let her turn him out.

As she…

Book cover of First to Fight: The Polish War 1939

Jeremy Black Author Of A History of the Second World War in 100 Maps

From my list on WW2 in Europe.

Why am I passionate about this?

Jeremy Black is a prolific lecturer and writer, the author of over 100 books. Many concern aspects of eighteenth-century British, European, and American political, diplomatic and military history but he has also published on the history of the press, cartography, warfare, culture, and on the nature and uses of history itself.

Jeremy's book list on WW2 in Europe

Jeremy Black Why did Jeremy love this book?

A Major scholar of the period, Moorhouse is particularly instructive for his ability to capture the Eastern European perspective. The Polish war of 1939 has generally been underplayed in the literature, and it is particularly valuable therefore to see this well-researched account.

By Roger Moorhouse,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked First to Fight as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A new and definitive account of the German invasion of Poland that initiated WWII in 1939, written by a historian at the height of his abilities.

'Deeply researched, very well-written... This book will be the standard work on the subject for many years to come' - Andrew Roberts, author of Churchill: Walking with Destiny

The Polish campaign is the forgotten story of the Second World War.

The war began on 1 September 1939, when German tanks, trucks and infantry crossed the Polish border, and the Luftwaffe began bombing Poland's towns and cities. The Polish army fought bravely but could not…

5 book lists we think you will like!

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