100 books like Beneath a Scarlet Sky

By Mark Sullivan,

Here are 100 books that Beneath a Scarlet Sky fans have personally recommended if you like Beneath a Scarlet Sky. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of The Nightingale

Mel Laytner Author Of What They Didn't Burn: Uncovering My Father's Holocaust Secrets

From my list on resilience and surviving the horrors of World War II.

Why am I passionate about this?

I was a foreign correspondent seven time zones from home when my father died of a sudden heart attack. My grief mixed with guilt for never having sat down with him to unravel his vague vignettes about life and loss in the Holocaust. I wondered, how did he survive when so many perished? How much depended on resilience, smarts, or dumb luck? As reporters do, I started digging. I uncovered a Nazi paper trial that tracked his life from home, through ghettos, slave labor, concentration camps, death marches, and more. The tattered documents revealed a man very different from the quiet, quintessential Type-B Dad I knew…or thought I knew. 

Mel's book list on resilience and surviving the horrors of World War II

Mel Laytner Why did Mel love this book?

This novel left me feeling both teary-eyed and ennobled. Superficially, it is about two French sisters living through the Nazi occupation of France during World War II. At its root, however, Hannah deconstructs the essence of survival.

I loved how her characters frame the book’s cosmic questions: What would you do to survive? What compromises would you make? Is it better to fight back aggressively or resist passively? The sisters are of different temperaments and personalities. Each answers these questions differently, painfully. I found myself haunted by these themes long after I put The Nightingale back on the shelf. You will, too.

By Kristin Hannah,

Why should I read it?

27 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…


Book cover of Unbroken

Mel Laytner Author Of What They Didn't Burn: Uncovering My Father's Holocaust Secrets

From my list on resilience and surviving the horrors of World War II.

Why am I passionate about this?

I was a foreign correspondent seven time zones from home when my father died of a sudden heart attack. My grief mixed with guilt for never having sat down with him to unravel his vague vignettes about life and loss in the Holocaust. I wondered, how did he survive when so many perished? How much depended on resilience, smarts, or dumb luck? As reporters do, I started digging. I uncovered a Nazi paper trial that tracked his life from home, through ghettos, slave labor, concentration camps, death marches, and more. The tattered documents revealed a man very different from the quiet, quintessential Type-B Dad I knew…or thought I knew. 

Mel's book list on resilience and surviving the horrors of World War II

Mel Laytner Why did Mel love this book?

If I didn’t know this was a true story, I would have dismissed Unbroken as some overblown Rambo novel. But it is true, and enthralling, and that’s what kept me turning pages.

Louis Zamperini, a 1936 American Olympian turned World War II Air Corp navigator, was shot down and captured by the Japanese. Because of his fame, Japanese guards singled him out for especially harsh treatment. Zamperini’s torment made me angry; his tenacity made me proud. Post-war trauma drove him to the bottle, as with so many veterans. That he overcame spiraling alcoholism through his renewed Christian faith makes for an inspiring story and gives fresh meaning to the very word “survivor.”

By Laura Hillenbrand,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

From the author of the bestselling and much-loved Seabiscuit, an unforgettable story of one man's journey into extremity. On a May afternoon in 1943, an Army Air Forces bomber crashed into the Pacific Ocean and disappeared, leaving only a spray of debris and a slick of oil, gasoline, and blood. Then, on the ocean surface, a face appeared. It was that of a young lieutenant, the plane's bombardier, who was struggling to a life raft and pulling himself aboard. So began one of the most extraordinary odysseys of the Second World War. The lieutenant's name was Louis Zamperini. In boyhood,…


Book cover of All the Light We Cannot See

Michael Allan Scott Author Of Facing North, Headed South

From my list on brilliant genre defying storytelling.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m of the opinion that good writers draw from life experience. Here are the broad strokes: a Boy Scout reporter at the 1964 national Jamboree, a drummer in country, rock, and jazz bands, a SCUBA instructor, a commercial real estate developer, a drug addict, and an inmate in the penal system. I’ve been reading and writing almost from day one. Most of my early work is crap. I’ve learned the hard way what makes a story worth telling and how best to tell it. Read my recommendations and decide for yourself. After all, it’s your opinion that counts.  

Michael's book list on brilliant genre defying storytelling

Michael Allan Scott Why did Michael love this book?

This book has everything I look for in great storytelling in spades: real people doing their best to cope with extraordinary circumstances, masterfully crafted by an author who loves his work.

Some will call this a historical novel; some will pigeonhole it as a war novel. In my view, it easily exceeds all such classifications. It is an incredible piece of work. I use this book for reference, to remind me how it’s done. 

By Anthony Doerr,

Why should I read it?

40 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?

WINNER OF THE 2015 PULITZER PRIZE FOR FICTION
NATIONAL BOOK AWARD FINALIST
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
WINNER OF THE CARNEGIE MEDAL FOR FICTION

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 In Cold Blood

Peggy Webb Author Of Black Crow Cabin

From my list on books about crime that transcend the genre.

Why am I passionate about this?

I grew up on a small farm in Mississippi and discovered the wide world through a movable feast of books provided by the Bookmobile. The hayloft was my favorite reading spot. I could look across the lake to imagine myself in WWII Paris, the frozen tundras of Alaska, or anywhere beyond the pastures where Daddy’s cattle grazed. I fell in love with words when I was eight years old, a dreamer spinning stories inspired by the ones I read between the covers of my beloved books. I still love words and hear their music as they flow onto the pages of the thrillers I currently write.

Peggy's book list on books about crime that transcend the genre

Peggy Webb Why did Peggy love this book?

I was first drawn to Capote’s book because it’s an amazing hybrid—a page-turning, true crime story about the Clutter family murders in Kansas that reads like fiction. Capote and I are both products of the Deep South, so I knew to expect lyrical writing and rich details, two elements I treasure in a novel.

When I drive from my home to visit my son in Florida, I go through Monroeville, Alabama, where Capote grew up next door to Harper Lee (To Kill a Mockingbird), and I think of how she helped him interview friends of the victims and watched him almost lose his soul as he interviewed the killers.

Those interviews are the beating heart that sucked me into the story and ensured this novel would become a classic.  

By Truman Capote,

Why should I read it?

17 authors picked In Cold Blood as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The chilling true crime 'non-fiction novel' that made Truman Capote's name, In Cold Blood is a seminal work of modern prose, a remarkable synthesis of journalistic skill and powerfully evocative narrative published in Penguin Modern Classics.

Controversial and compelling, In Cold Blood reconstructs the murder in 1959 of a Kansas farmer, his wife and both their children. Truman Capote's comprehensive study of the killings and subsequent investigation explores the circumstances surrounding this terrible crime and the effect it had on those involved. At the centre of his study are the amoral young killers Perry Smith and Dick Hickcock, who, vividly…


Book cover of The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek

Kimberly Nixon Author Of Rock Bottom, Tennessee

From my list on books based on a true story.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have a passion for the family story, and I have been blessed with a plethora of them. My mother grew up in Appalachia during the Great Depression and faced shame because her mother left the family to commit a felony. Her accounts of a childhood without and sleeping in an abandoned log cabin have been seared into my soul. My father, one of fourteen children during the Great Depression, worked on neighboring farms from the age of seven. History has two parts, the facts and details, but the telling of the story wrangles the purpose and sacrifice of those involved.

Kimberly's book list on books based on a true story

Kimberly Nixon Why did Kimberly love this book?

I sat on my mother’s lap as a child to hear stories of her childhood in Appalachia—no running water or electricity, and the shame brought on by her mother’s escape from that hard life. The setting and the characterizations in Book Woman of Troublesome Creek brought back some of the memories of my mother’s stories.

I came to love the character’s adaptation to the harsh environment, their want for a better life, and the difference one person’s influence can make in a community. The spirit of survival, even with the hardest of circumstances, forced me to cherish this story. It was as if my mother had written this book or perhaps read it to me.

By Kim Michele Richardson,

Why should I read it?

7 authors picked The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
A USA TODAY BESTSELLER
A LOS ANGELES TIMES BESTSELLER
AN OKRA PICK
The bestselling historical fiction from Kim Michele Richardson, this is a novel following Cussy Mary, a packhorse librarian and her quest to bring books to the Appalachian community she loves, perfect for readers of Lee Smith and Lisa Wingate. The perfect addition to your next book club!
The hardscrabble folks of Troublesome Creek have to scrap for everything-everything except books, that is. Thanks to Roosevelt's Kentucky Pack Horse Library Project, Troublesome's got its very own traveling librarian, Cussy Mary Carter.
Cussy's not only…


Book cover of The Tattooist of Auschwitz

Dave Reardon Author Of The Deep Enders

From my list on WWII novels on love in a time of hatred.

Why am I passionate about this?

I'm an Australian writer who wrestled with the idea of being a novelist for years before finally surrendering to the joy of crafting beloved characters–then dropping them in the most awful situations for the sake of a compelling story. I was a newspaper journalist for a decade, covering crime, politics, and shark attacks. I moved into youth work and wrote The Deep Enders series while also producing How To Cook That, a large YouTube channel hosted by my wife, Ann.

Dave's book list on WWII novels on love in a time of hatred

Dave Reardon Why did Dave love this book?

What an outstanding tale by novelist Morris.

The book tells the true story of Slovakian Jew Lale Sokolov, who falls in love with a young woman that he was forced to tattoo upon her arrival at Auschwitz concentration camp in WWII.

The book rocked me as I asked again and again the question: "How can humans do this to each other?"  

By Heather Morris,

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked The Tattooist of Auschwitz as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

One of the bestselling books of the 21st century with over 6 million copies sold.

Don't miss the conclusion to The Tattooist of Auschwitz Trilogy, Three Sisters. Available now.

I tattooed a number on her arm. She tattooed her name on my heart.

In 1942, Lale Sokolov arrived in Auschwitz-Birkenau. He was given the job of tattooing the prisoners marked for survival - scratching numbers into his fellow victims' arms in indelible ink to create what would become one of the most potent symbols of the Holocaust.

Waiting in line to be tattooed, terrified and shaking, was a young girl.…


Book cover of The Paris Library

Susan J. Godwin Author Of Rain Dodging: A Scholar's Romp through Britain in Search of a Stuart Queen

From my list on women spies and ‘lost libraries’ of World War II.

Why am I passionate about this?

Sadly, there is not one Jewish family in this world who does not have a connection to the Holocaust. I imagine that my pull towards World War II heroic women is become I am a Jewish woman. I have a passion for books and many of the characters in my choices share this passion. I also have a passion for Britain. France is not too shabby either; the Parisian setting in some of the books are descriptive and gripping.

Susan's book list on women spies and ‘lost libraries’ of World War II

Susan J. Godwin Why did Susan love this book?

Books and Paris, need I say more?

Based on the true story of the librarians at the American Library in Paris during World War II, The Paris Library is “an ode to the importance of libraries, books, and the human connections we find within both,” writes author Kristin Harmel.

I gravitate towards books about bookstores, their coziness, their safety. The main character, Odile, reminds the reader that we all have bravery within. I gravitate to older women in my own life, the mother-figure I never had. As a mentor in Odile’s later life, I am heartened by the intergenerational relationship she nurtures.

By Janet Skeslien Charles,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked The Paris Library as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

IN THE DARKNESS OF WAR, THE LIGHT OF BOOKS - HOW LIBRARIANS DEFIED THE NAZIS

THE NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

'A wonderful novel celebrating the power of books and libraries to change people's lives' JILL MANSELL

'Heart-breaking and heart-lifting and always enchanting' RUTH HOGAN

'An irresistible and utterly compelling novel that will appeal to bibliophiles and historical fiction fans alike' SUNDAY EXPRESS

'I devoured The Paris Library in one hungry gulp . . . charming and moving' TATIANA DE ROSNAY

'An irresistible, compelling read' FIONA DAVIS

'Paris and libraries. What's not to love?!' NATASHA LESTER

'Compelling' WOMAN & HOME

'Delightful,…


Book cover of Gates of Fire: An Epic Novel of the Battle of Thermopylae

Nick Brown Author Of The Siege: Agent of Rome 1

From my list on books that take you to another world.

Why am I passionate about this?

Before I was a writer, I was a reader.  My mother was a primary school teacher, so I was encouraged to read from my earliest years. I wanted to be not only entertained but transported to another place, time, or world. When I finally decided to write my first novel, I settled on historical fiction, but I have since written both science fiction and fantasy. I always endeavour to emulate my literary heroes and create engaging characters, compelling plots, and an interesting, unusual, convincing world.

Nick's book list on books that take you to another world

Nick Brown Why did Nick love this book?

Forget the film 300. The Battle of Thermopylae has never been described with more power and authenticity than in Pressfield’s 1998 novel.

His immense knowledge and understanding of the era are evident on every page, and any reader will swiftly find themselves alongside Xeones, Leonidas, and the outnumbered Spartans as they defend their homeland against the Persian invaders. This is a bloody, brutal, brilliant classic of the historical fiction genre. 

By Steven Pressfield,

Why should I read it?

14 authors picked Gates of Fire as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In the Sunday Times bestseller Gates of Fire, Steven Pressfield tells the breathtaking story of the legendary Spartans: the men and women who helped shaped our history and have themselves become as immortal as their gods.

'Breathtakingly brilliant . . . this is a work of rare genius. Savour it!' DAVID GEMMELL

'A tale worthy of Homer, a timeless epic of man and war, exquisitely researched and boldy written. Pressfield has created a new classic' STEPHEN COONTS

'A really impressive book - imaginatively framed, historically detailed and a really gripping narrative' ***** Reader review

'Beautifully written and a great joy…


Book cover of The Agony and the Ecstasy: A Biographical Novel of Michelangelo

Kimberly Nixon Author Of Rock Bottom, Tennessee

From my list on books based on a true story.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have a passion for the family story, and I have been blessed with a plethora of them. My mother grew up in Appalachia during the Great Depression and faced shame because her mother left the family to commit a felony. Her accounts of a childhood without and sleeping in an abandoned log cabin have been seared into my soul. My father, one of fourteen children during the Great Depression, worked on neighboring farms from the age of seven. History has two parts, the facts and details, but the telling of the story wrangles the purpose and sacrifice of those involved.

Kimberly's book list on books based on a true story

Kimberly Nixon Why did Kimberly love this book?

After a trip to Florence to see Michelangelo’s earlier works and then David, I struggled to understand the genius, his intense pursuit of excellence, and how his surroundings influenced his art.

The author set me in one of the most fascinating eras of history and made me feel as if I were an apprentice in Michelangelo’s shop. I wept to comprehend the artist and realized that perfection was not a choice for Michelangelo, but a non-negotiable burden.

As I now observe genius in a musician, a scientist, or a mother caring for an autistic child, I give credence to what I learned from Oliver Stone’s portrayal of Michelangelo.

By Irving Stone,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked The Agony and the Ecstasy as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Irving Stone's classic biographical novel of Michelangelo-the #1 New York Times bestseller in which both the artist and the man are brought to vivid, captivating life.

His time-the turbulent Renaissance, the years of poisoning princes, warring Popes, and the all-powerful de'Medici family...

His loves-the frail and lovely daughter of Lorenzo de'Medici, the ardent mistress of Marco Aldovrandi, and his last love, his greatest love-the beautiful, unhappy Vittoria Colonna...

His genius-a God-driven fury from which he wrested brilliant work that made a grasp for heaven unmatched in half a millennium...

His name-Michelangelo Buonarroti. Creator of the David, painter of the ceiling…


Book cover of The Yellow Bird Sings

Karla M. Jay Author Of When We Were Brave

From my list on WWII with stories we haven’t heard before.

Why am I passionate about this?

I love to write stories of historical injustice, so this is mainly the genre I read. In recent years, many new novels merely rehashed the same theme, such as the horror show known as Auschwitz or the other camps. Although those are worthy of the people who died there, I’m always on the hunt for a fresh story that has never been told about those tragic years. 

Karla's book list on WWII with stories we haven’t heard before

Karla M. Jay Why did Karla love this book?

It’s Poland 1941, and Roza and her 5-year-old daughter Shira are hiding in a neighbor’s barn, and hoping beyond hope that they will remain safe, because the rest of their family has all been taken away. This is a lyrical read which many musical analogies since Shira is a musical prodigy. I loved this book because you are right there, staying silent, while trying to create a life with your daughter.  This was inspired by the true stories of hidden children during WWII and stayed with me long after. 

By Jennifer Rosner,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Yellow Bird Sings as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'Prepare to have your heart broken' - Good Housekeeping
Woman & Home Book Club Pick

Poland, 1941. A mother. A child. An impossible choice.

After the Jews in their town are rounded up, Roza and her five-year-old daughter, Shira, seek shelter in a local farmer's barn. They spend their days and nights in silence to avoid being caught.

When their safe haven is shattered, Roza faces an impossible choice: whether to keep her daughter close by her side, or give her the chance to survive by letting her go.

A deeply moving novel about the unbreakable bond between parent and…


5 book lists we think you will like!

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