100 books like Millions Like Us

By Virginia Nicholson,

Here are 100 books that Millions Like Us fans have personally recommended if you like Millions Like Us. 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 The Splendid and the Vile: A Saga of Churchill, Family, and Defiance During the Blitz

Linda Stewart Henley Author Of Kate's War

From my list on young women in WW II in the UK.

Why am I passionate about this?

Two of my three novels have young women protagonists. I find young adulthood a fascinating time in women’s lives and I enjoy creating a character and putting her in a historical setting. The Second World War offers fertile ground for storytelling, and I grew up south of London after the war. My father’s unpublished memoir, in which he describes an event that he experienced in the war, inspired me to write about it, but I told the story through the eyes of the protagonist, Kate. 

Linda's book list on young women in WW II in the UK

Linda Stewart Henley Why did Linda love this book?

This well-written book taught me a great deal about WW2. I especially appreciated learning more about Mary Churchill, Winston’s youngest daughter, who was seventeen at the start of the war. The author obtained access to her diaries, and he quotes from them often, so I got a feel for the life of a young woman in society during wartime. Mary had a conscience and good insights and became a main character in this historical book.

It’s not a novel, but at times it reads like one.  

By Erik Larson,

Why should I read it?

6 authors picked The Splendid and the Vile as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • The author of The Devil in the White City and Dead Wake delivers an intimate chronicle of Winston Churchill and London during the Blitz—an inspiring portrait of courage and leadership in a time of unprecedented crisis
 
“One of [Erik Larson’s] best books yet . . . perfectly timed for the moment.”—Time • “A bravura performance by one of America’s greatest storytellers.”—NPR 
 
NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY The New York Times Book Review • Time • Vogue • NPR • The Washington Post • Chicago Tribune • The Globe &…


Book cover of Wartime: Britain 1939-1945

Jillianne Hamilton Author Of The Hobby Shop on Barnaby Street: A Heartwarming WW2 Historical Romance

From my list on daily life on the British homefront during WWII.

Why am I passionate about this?

I fell in love with English history around age 10 when I began reading historical fiction and non-fiction. I have maintained a history blog, The Lazy Historian, since 2015 and I published a casually written non-fiction book, The Lazy Historian’s Guide to the Wives of Henry VIII, in 2018. When I began writing my Homefront Hearts WWII romance trilogy, I threw myself into researching the well-documented daily lives of the English and the various challenges that came from “keeping calm and carrying on.”

Jillianne's book list on daily life on the British homefront during WWII

Jillianne Hamilton Why did Jillianne love this book?

Written by one of the most respected and well-known British historians living today, Juliet Gardiner’s Wartime Britain is a bulky collection of anecdotes and details on homefront life, ranging from devastating to joyful. She covers many topics in depth and in a very human way: the Blitz, homefront crimes, evacuation, the enlistment process, food rationing, and a lot more. It includes quite a few photos from wartime Britain as well. 

By Juliet Gardiner,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Juliet Gardiner's critically acclaimed book - the first in a generation to tell the people's story of the Second World War - offers a compelling and comprehensive account of the pervasiveness of war on the Home Front. The book has been commended for its inclusion of many under-described aspects of the Home Front, and alongside familiar stories of food shortages, evacuation and the arrival of the GIs, are stories of Conscientious Objectors, persecuted Italians living in Britain and Lumber Jills working in the New Forest. Drawing on a multitude of sources, many previously unpublished, she tells the story of those…


Book cover of How We Lived Then: A History of Everyday Life During the Second World War

Jillianne Hamilton Author Of The Hobby Shop on Barnaby Street: A Heartwarming WW2 Historical Romance

From my list on daily life on the British homefront during WWII.

Why am I passionate about this?

I fell in love with English history around age 10 when I began reading historical fiction and non-fiction. I have maintained a history blog, The Lazy Historian, since 2015 and I published a casually written non-fiction book, The Lazy Historian’s Guide to the Wives of Henry VIII, in 2018. When I began writing my Homefront Hearts WWII romance trilogy, I threw myself into researching the well-documented daily lives of the English and the various challenges that came from “keeping calm and carrying on.”

Jillianne's book list on daily life on the British homefront during WWII

Jillianne Hamilton Why did Jillianne love this book?

This book contains a multitude of stories from people who lived in Britain during WWII and dealt with things like wartime preparations, rationing, “Dig for Victory,” travel, homefront war work, and lots of other daily life details—even something as mundane as the types of books people were reading during that time makes it into this thick and comprehensive social history book. Also includes quite a few very nice photos.

By Norman Longmate,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked How We Lived Then as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Although nearly 90% of the population of Great Britain remained civilians throughout the war, or for a large part of it, their story has so far largely gone untold. In contrast with the thousands of books on military operations, barely any have concerned themselves with the individual's experience. The problems of the ordinary family are barely ever mentioned - food rationing, clothes rationing, the black-out and air raids get little space, and everyday shortages almost none at all.

This book is an attempt to redress the balance; to tell the civilian's story largely through their own recollections and in their…


Book cover of Fashion on the Ration: Style in the Second World War

Jillianne Hamilton Author Of The Hobby Shop on Barnaby Street: A Heartwarming WW2 Historical Romance

From my list on daily life on the British homefront during WWII.

Why am I passionate about this?

I fell in love with English history around age 10 when I began reading historical fiction and non-fiction. I have maintained a history blog, The Lazy Historian, since 2015 and I published a casually written non-fiction book, The Lazy Historian’s Guide to the Wives of Henry VIII, in 2018. When I began writing my Homefront Hearts WWII romance trilogy, I threw myself into researching the well-documented daily lives of the English and the various challenges that came from “keeping calm and carrying on.”

Jillianne's book list on daily life on the British homefront during WWII

Jillianne Hamilton Why did Jillianne love this book?

In 1941, Britain was shocked to find out that the extra margarine coupons in their food ration books were actually to be used for clothing starting immediately since clothing was now also to be rationed. Clothes rationing, wartime makeup, wedding wear, uniforms (for men and women), restrictions placed on clothing design, fashion houses and magazines, “make-do and mend,” and more are all covered in this dense little book.

By Julie Summers,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In September 1939, just three weeks after the outbreak of war, Gladys Mason wrote briefly in her diary about events in Europe: 'Hitler watched German siege of Warsaw. City in flames.' And, she continued, 'Had my wedding dress fitted. Lovely.'

For Gladys Mason, and for thousands of women throughout the long years of the war, fashion was not simply a distraction, but a necessity - and one they weren't going to give up easily. In the face of bombings, conscription, rationing and ludicrous bureaucracy, they maintained a sense of elegance and style with determination and often astonishing ingenuity. From the…


Book cover of Love Lessons

Clare Harvey Author Of The Escape

From my list on WW2 memoirs by brave and remarkable women.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m endlessly fascinated by the stories of young women from the WW2 era, who came of age at the moment the world was torn apart. As an author of wartime historical fiction with strong female characters, it’s vital for me to understand the experience of ordinary women who grew up in such extraordinary times, so I’m always on the hunt for real voices from the era. I’d love to think that in similar circumstances I’d face my challenges with the same humour, resourcefulness, bravery, and humanity as my favourite five female memoirists selected for you here.

Clare's book list on WW2 memoirs by brave and remarkable women

Clare Harvey Why did Clare love this book?

If I’d been a London teenager at the outbreak of WW2, Joan is who I’d choose to have as my best friend. Joan’s memoirs, taken from her actual diaries, which were written secretly during bombing raids, reveal a conflicted, hormonally charged, humorous woman. This snippet gives you an idea: “Well here I sit in the air-raid shelter with screaming bombs falling right and left…I can’t help feeling that each moment may be my last, and as the opposite of death is life, I think I shall get seduced by Rupert tomorrow.” Written with great wit, and full of joie de vivre, Love Lessons is a wonderful read.

By Joan Wyndham,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Love Lessons as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

On my way to the studio there was an air-raid. I ran into the brick shelter in the middle of the road. There were poor little Leonard and Agnes sitting on their suitcases, having lost their all. Luckily Leonard had been wearing his best trousers at the time. Madame Arcana was there too wearing a gold brocade toque and a blanket. It was bloody cold and I wanted to pee badly, but couldn't. Leonard wouldn't give me his seat as he believes in the equality of the sexes, so I sat on the floor...'

August 1939. As a teenage Catholic…


Book cover of Mission France: The True History of the Women of SOE

Mara Timon Author Of City of Spies

From my list on real-life, kick-ass female agents of WW2.

Why am I passionate about this?

My mother instilled a love of books in me, and my father fostered my fascination with history – which meant that a good part of my formative years involved books, writing, and watching WW2 films. Years later, when a BBC documentary captured my imagination, I delved into the world of SOE’s female spies, binge-reading biographies and autobiographies. I was struck by their determination, dedication, resourcefulness – and in awe of their exploits. These women were heroes. When an idea for a story took hold, I followed one "what if..." after another until my first novel emerged. While City of Spies is fiction, I tried to stay as faithful as possible to history.

Mara's book list on real-life, kick-ass female agents of WW2

Mara Timon Why did Mara love this book?

Special Operations Executive had the directive to “Set Europe ablaze” and from 1942 began recruiting women as field operatives. 39 were sent into France (of which 26 returned), and Kate Vigurs tells their stories in Mission France. Superbly researched and well written, this book is a really good all-rounder. Broken into 3 sections (Foundations, War, and Death & Deliverance), it tells each woman’s story, from their recruitment to either their death or demob. I loved the fact that she covered the lesser-known agents as well as the big names. Be prepared to be moved – these women’s exploits are more amazing than a lot of fiction I’ve read!

By Kate Vigurs,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Formed in 1940, Special Operations Executive was to coordinate Resistance work overseas. The organization's F section sent more than four hundred agents into France, thirty-nine of whom were women. But while some are widely known-Violette Szabo, Odette Sansom, Noor Inayat Khan-others have had their stories largely overlooked.

Kate Vigurs interweaves for the first time the stories of all thirty-nine female agents. Tracing their journeys from early recruitment to work undertaken in the field, to evasion from, or capture by, the Gestapo, Vigurs shows just how greatly missions varied. Some agents were more adept at parachuting. Some agents' missions lasted for…


Book cover of GI Brides: The Wartime Girls Who Crossed the Atlantic for Love

Saskia Sarginson Author Of How It Ends

From my list on love and paranoia in Cold War Britain and America.

Why am I passionate about this?

The Cold War has never been a passion for me, but rather a kind of horror. It was ongoing all through my childhood, and I had nightmares about nuclear attacks and Soviet spies. We lived in the middle of a Suffolk pine forest during the 60s and 70s. There was an American air base on the edge of the forest, surrounded by a tall wire fence. It seemed a spooky place with its concrete bunkers and keep-out signs. Later, as an author on the lookout for good stories, I remembered my childhood terrors and the atmosphere of menace surrounding the base. It gave me an idea for a story set in a similar airbase. 

Saskia's book list on love and paranoia in Cold War Britain and America

Saskia Sarginson Why did Saskia love this book?

While doing research into Ruby’s backstory, I discovered this book. It reads like a novel but tells the stories of four real women who married American servicemen and left war-torn Britain for the more lavish lifestyle available to Americans in the 50s. But the arduous journey by sea, the intrusive and humiliating health examinations waiting on the other side, and the strangeness of a strange land provided challenges and difficulties. Each woman’s experience is different, but each is determined not to give up on their dream. An epilogue tells of how their marriages and lives worked out. Fascinating. 

By Duncan Barrett, Nuala Calvi,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked GI Brides as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The Sunday Times bestseller

From the bestselling authors of The Sugar Girls, G.I. Brides weaves together the real-life stories of four women who crossed the ocean for love, providing a moving true tale of romance and resilience.

The 'friendly invasion' of Britain by over a million American G.I.s caused a sensation amongst a generation of young women deprived of male company during the Second World War. With their exotic accents, smart uniforms and aura of Hollywood glamour, the G.I.s soon had the local girls queuing up for a date, and the British boys off fighting abroad turning green with envy.…


Book cover of A Spitfire Girl: One of the World's Greatest Female Ata Ferry Pilots Tells Her Story

Clare Mulley Author Of The Women Who Flew for Hitler: A True Story of Soaring Ambition and Searing Rivalry

From my list on female pilots.

Why am I passionate about this?

Clare Mulley is the award-winning author of three books re-examining the history of the First and Second World War through the lives of remarkable women. The Woman Who Saved the Children, about child rights pioneer Eglantyne Jebb, won the Daily Mail Biographers' Club Prize and is now under option. Polish-born Second World War special agent Krystyna Skarbek, aka Christine Granville, is the subject of the Spy Who Loved, a book that led to Clare being decorated with Poland’s national honour, the Bene Merito. Clare's third book, The Women Who Flew for Hitler, long-listed for the Historical Writers Association prize, tells the extraordinary story of Nazi Germany’s only two female test pilots, whose choices and actions put them on opposite sides of history. Clare reviews for the Telegraph, Spectator, and History Today. A popular public speaker, she has given a TEDx talk at Stormont, and recent TV includes news appearances for the BBC, Sky, and Channel 5 as well as various Second World War history series.

Clare's book list on female pilots

Clare Mulley Why did Clare love this book?

There are several fascinating memoirs by ATA pilots including those by Diana Barnato Walker and the fittingly named Nancy Bird, but I was lucky enough to know Mary Ellis so her words speak most directly to me. A life recounted in sensible tones, reading this book it is easy to imagine you are settled into an armchair across from Mary, while at the same time realising that she would be much more comfortable in the cockpit of a Spitfire. By the end of the war she had delivered 400 Spitfires and flown 72 different types of aircraft. ‘Who needs love’, Ellis wrote, ‘when there is the ultimate thrill of speed, the sky, and the orgasmic experience of piloting the best fighter aircraft in the world?’ Enough said.

By Mary Ellis, Melody Foreman,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A Spitfire Girl as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

We visualise dashing and daring young men as the epitome of the pilots of the Second World War, yet amongst that elite corps was one person who flew no less than 400 Spitfires and seventy-six different types of aircraft and that person was Mary Wilkins.

Her story is one of the most remarkable and endearing of the war, as this young woman, serving as a ferry pilot with the Air Transport Auxiliary, transported aircraft for the RAF, including fast fighter planes and huge four-engine bombers. On one occasion Mary delivered a Wellington bomber to an airfield, and as she climbed…


Book cover of Spitfire Women Of World War II

Nicholas Harvey Author Of Deadly Sommer

From my list on kick-ass females of sea and sky.

Why am I passionate about this?

My wife is a beautiful, intelligent, and determined woman. She took up rock climbing in her forties. She rides a motorcycle on and off-road. She scuba dives with sharks, she’s jumped out of an airplane, and she strapped crampons on her feet when I said we’re climbing a snow-covered mountain. One of my best friends in the world is from Finland. Typical of Finns, and Scandinavians in general, he has a dry wit and keen observations and thoughts which he delivers matter-of-factly in few words. Combining these two with a sprinkling of my own imagination produced Nora Sommer.

Nicholas' book list on kick-ass females of sea and sky

Nicholas Harvey Why did Nicholas love this book?

I have an obsession with WWII, submarines of the era, and especially the Battle of Britain. As women in dangerous and often traditionally masculine roles also appeal, it makes sense that true stories of these gallant pilots are right in my wheelhouse. Or cockpit…

During the war, female pilots were recruited to ferry planes for the Air Transport Auxiliary to RAF bases, freeing up male combat pilots.

Unarmed, without instruments or radios, the women often flew over the hostile skies of southern England in new or repaired aircraft, flight testing them on the way. Navigation was done by compass headings and visual references on the ground.

This book does a wonderful job of shining a light on the relatively small group of brave souls who did their part during dark times.

By Giles Whittell,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Spitfire Women Of World War II as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The story of the unsung heroines who flew the newest, fastest, aeroplanes in World War II - mostly in southern England where the RAF was desperately short of pilots.

Why would the well-bred daughter of a New England factory-owner brave the U-boat blockades of the North Atlantic in the bitter winter of 1941? What made a South African diamond heiress give up her life of house parties and London balls to spend the war in a freezing barracks on the Solent? And why did young Margaret Frost start lying to her father during the Battle of Britain?

They - and…


Book cover of D-Day Girls: The Spies Who Armed the Resistance, Sabotaged the Nazis, and Helped Win World War II

Thomas F. Linehan, Jr. Author Of Hannah Gould

From my list on courageous women and girls in war time.

Why am I passionate about this?

I focus on real-life stories of people usually in wartime conflicts and study the American Civil War and WWII. I am friends with several Holocaust survivors. But my focus is on defiance, rather than evading capture or captivity. Wars show the extremes of human behavior, both good and evil. I have a place in my heart for women and girls who were thrust into a man’s world at incredible disadvantage and through extraordinary character and ability overcame the harshest realities. A few were military fighters, some spies, but all in death-defying roles. Many died in action, and most never recognized for their valor. These are the unsung heroes that I love most.  

Thomas' book list on courageous women and girls in war time

Thomas F. Linehan, Jr. Why did Thomas love this book?

The success of the D-Day invasion of German-occupied France was highly dependent upon spy-gathered information. The stories of three young women, unlikely heroes, are set against a complicated historical backdrop of spy networks in Nazi-occupied France leading up to the Allied invasion. These are the stories of Andree Borrel, Odette Sansom, and Lise de Baissac. The British spy organization, Special Operations Executive (SOE) hired, trained, and utilized these and other women as field operatives. Without the covert work they accomplished, the Allied invasion could have been disastrous. Although the work is non-fiction, it flows like a novel with quotes and personal anecdotes of the real agents. The courage and valor of these everyday women turned heroines are inspiring.  

By Sarah Rose,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked D-Day Girls as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The dramatic, untold story of the extraordinary women recruited by Britain's elite spy agency to help pave the way for Allied victory, for fans of A WOMAN OF NO IMPORTANCE by Sonia Purnell

'Gripping: Spies, romance, Gestapo thugs, blown-up trains, courage, and treachery (lots of treachery) - and all of it true, all precisely documented'
ERIK LARSON, author of THE DEVIL IN THE WHITE CITY

'The mission is this: Read D-Day Girls today. Not just for the spy flair but also because this history feels more relevant than ever, as an army of women and girls again find themselves in…


5 book lists we think you will like!

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