The most recommended WW2 fiction books

Who picked these books? Meet our 347 experts.

347 authors created a book list connected to WW2 fiction, and here are their favorite WW2 fiction books.
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Book cover of Andy Catlett: Early Travels

Susan M Soesbe Author Of Bringing Mom Home: How Two Sisters Moved Their Mother Out of Assisted Living to Care For Her Under One Amazingly Large Roof

From Susan's 3 favorite reads in 2023.

Who am I?

Author Bible nerd Fiction book coach Organizer of stuff History buff English language acquisition facilitator

Susan's 3 favorite reads in 2023

Susan M Soesbe Why did Susan love this book?

I savored this account of a boy’s Christmas visit to his two sets of grandparents. The key to the exquisiteness of this book is its point of view. The narrator is nobody special.

Yet he, like all of us past a certain age, brings the perspective of maturity. He pulls back the curtain and shows readers the quiet love in an ordinary family.

Andy Catlett showed me that wisdom is a treasure painfully earned, which can be shared with those willing to receive it. Berry’s narrative is slow, rich, and beautiful.

By Wendell Berry,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Andy Catlett as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 12, 13, 14, and 15.

What is this book about?

A young boy takes a trip on his own to visit his grandparents in Kentucky in this luminous entry in the acclaimed Port William series.

In this “eloquent distillation of Berry’s favorite themes: the importance of family, community and respect for the land” (Kirkus Reviews), nine-year-old Andy Catlett embarks on a solo trip by bus to visit his grandparents in Port William, Kentucky, during the Christmas of 1943. Full of “nostalgic, admiring detail” (Publishers Weekly), Andy observes the modern world crowding out the old ways, and the people he encounters become touchstones for his understanding of a precious and imperiled…


Book cover of Hornet Flight

Cristina Loggia Author Of Lucifer's Game: An Emotional and Gut-Wrenching World War II Spy Thriller

From my list on World War 2 for people who love history and fiction.

Who am I?

I am a former journalist and corporate public relations expert with a Ph.D. in Foreign Languages, I’ve always been passionate about World War 2 history and truly fascinated by the deceptions put in place by both the Allies and the Axis. I believe that a story that mixes fiction with history is highly powerful and evocative. I set my debut novel in the Rome in 1942 because I was inspired by the numerous stories heard from both my grandfathers who fought in the war and because Fascist Italy is not as well-known as it should be. As one of the very few female thriller writers in this genre, I wanted to celebrate the contribution of women in World War 2!

Cristina's book list on World War 2 for people who love history and fiction

Cristina Loggia Why did Cristina love this book?

Another great thriller by Follett, what I found different and interesting for this book was the setting, Nazi-occupied Denmark during World War 2. The mixing of fictional and historical events is well accomplished. Typical of Follett, the novel presents intertwining stories in an adept way that builds tension throughout. It is very well researched and the places really come to life. I loved the abundance of technical details that don’t feel overwhelming, though. With memorable, strong characters, all determined to reach their goals, the writer did a great job in placing them into a well portrayed, true-life context. I loved the spinning swirl of actions that accompany the reader until the very end.

By Ken Follett,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Ken Follett and the intrigue of World War II-"a winning formula" (Entertainment Weekly) if ever there was one. With his riveting prose and unerring instinct for suspense, the #1 New York Times bestselling author takes to the skies over Europe during the early days of the war in a most extraordinary novel. . . .

It is June 1941, and the war is not going well for England. Somehow, the Germans are anticipating the RAF's flight paths and shooting down British bombers with impunity. Meanwhile, across the North Sea, eighteen-year-old Harald Olufsen takes a shortcut on the German-occupied Danish island…


Book cover of The Sand Pounder: Love and Drama on Horseback in WWII

Marsha Hubler Author Of A Horse to Love

From my list on horses for tweens, teens, and young adults.

Who am I?

I have horse blood in my veins. I’ve loved horses ever since I knew what amazing animals they are. I grew up in a town where no one could house a horse. As I read about horses and learned more about them, I dreamed about the day I could have my very own. As a married adult with 4 acres of property and a little barn, I finally had my own horses over a 20-year period. The knowledge I gained by having my own beloved animals and caring for 12 foster children prepared me to write the Keystone Stables series about foster girl, Skye Nicholson, and her quarter horse, Champ. 

Marsha's book list on horses for tweens, teens, and young adults

Marsha Hubler Why did Marsha love this book?

I found this recent release a fascinating historical fiction for teens and older based on actual events of horses and their riders during World War II. 

Fearing an invasion by German and Japanese forces, the U.S. Coast Guard enlisted horsemen to patrol the beaches along the east and west coasts of our country from 1942 to 1944. The unit was called The Sand Pounders.

M.J. Evans wrote the book in a personal way, introducing In Tillamook, Oregon, a young equestrian, 17-year-old Jane, who decided to join the Sand Pounders. However, Sand Pounders were only accepting men. But that didn’t slow the main character and her horse down. The pair do ride successfully and serve their country well. 

This book is a good read for any horse lover of any age!

By M.J. Evans,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The world is at war. A teenage equestrian takes on a man's world to make a difference...and finds love along the way.

Fearing an invasion by German and Japanese forces during World War II, the U.S. Coast Guard enlisted horsemen to patrol the beaches along the east and west coasts. The unit was called “The Sand Pounders” and they rode their horses up and down the beaches from 1942 to 1944.

In Tillamook, Oregon, a young equestrian decided to join them. There was only one problem…they were only accepting men. That didn’t slow her down.

The Sand Pounder is a…


Dinner with Churchill

By Robin Hawdon,

Book cover of Dinner with Churchill

Robin Hawdon Author Of Number Ten

New book alert!

Who am I?

My writing is eclectic and covers many topics. However, all my books tend to have a thriller element to them. Perhaps it's my career as an actor and playwright which has instilled the need to create suspense in all my writings. I sometimes feel that distinguished authors can get so carried away with their literary descriptions and philosophical insights that they forget to keep the story going! It is the need to know what happens next that keeps the reader turning the pages. Perhaps in achieving that some subtlety has to be sacrificed, but, hey, you don't read a political thriller to study the philosophical problems of governing nations!

Robin's book list on lone heroes and threats to national security

What is my book about?

This is a new novel by one of the UK's most prolific writers. It is based around an extraordinary true incident at the start of World War II when fierce political opponents Winston Churchill and Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain encountered each other at a famous dinner party. Seen from the perspective of Lucy Armitage, a young girl suddenly conscripted by a strange stroke of fate into Churchill's overworked but adoring team of secretaries.

As Churchill prepares to take over the leadership of the nation, Lucy finds herself increasingly involved in her famous employer's phenomenal work output and eccentric habits. When romance and the world of espionage impinge on her life, she becomes a vital part of the eternal struggle between good and evil regimes that still exists today.

Dinner with Churchill

By Robin Hawdon,

What is this book about?

It is on historical record that, on the evening of October 13th 1939, six weeks after war had been declared on Hitler's Germany, Winston Churchill and Neville Chamberlain, fierce and implacable opponents for years over the appeasement issue, met together with their two wives, Clementine and Anne, for a private dinner at Admiralty House, and event which caused ripples throughout Westminster.

Chamberlain was still Prime Minister, but had seen all his efforts to negotiate peace with Hitler shattered. Churchill had been recalled to the cabinet after ten years 'in the wilderness', his dire warnings of the Nazi threat vindicated.

Lucy…


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.

Who am I?

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 Red Joan

Jeannette de Beauvoir Author Of Dead in the Water

From Jeannette's 3 favorite reads in 2023.

Who am I?

Author Storyteller Voracious reader Poet Indoor girl

Jeannette's 3 favorite reads in 2023

Jeannette de Beauvoir Why did Jeannette love this book?

Based on the real-life story of Melita Norwood—a woman who in her eighties was unmasked as the KGB's longest-serving British spy—this novel really has it all: it’s a mystery, historical fiction, and a spy thriller.

It takes on complex and difficult questions around living out one’s values and the unintended consequences of doing so, and challenges a lot of the assumptions we tend to make about other people’s motives. Or even our own.

By Jennie Rooney,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

'If you loved William Boyd's Restless, you'll enjoy this' Viv Groskop, Red

Cambridge University in 1937 is awash with ideas and idealists - to unworldly Joan it is dazzling.

After a chance meeting with Russian-born Sonya and Leo, Joan is swept up in the glamour and energy of the duo, and finds herself growing closer and closer to them both.

But allegiance is a slippery thing. Out of university and working in a government ministry with access to top-secret information, Joan finds her loyalty tested as she is faced with the most difficult question of all: what price would you…


Book cover of Lilac Girls

Jo Horne Author Of Monica's War

From my list on unsung heroes of WWII.

Who am I?

I have had a lifelong passion for history—the choices and challenges faced by others in trying times. I find myself looking for connections and a visit to the Holocaust Museum in DC led me to just such a connection with the story of the White Rose Resistance group, sending me down a rabbit hole of research that has blossomed into years of looking for little known stories of WWII heroes and heroines. From there telling their stories through my stories has become my passion.

Jo's book list on unsung heroes of WWII

Jo Horne Why did Jo love this book?

An American working in Paris, a German doctor, and a Polish teenager working for the Resistance are thrown together in this WWII story based on real events culminating in the notorious Ravensbruck Camp for women, famous for its medical experimentation during the war. It’s a story of survival and courage and unlikely friendships.

By Martha Hall Kelly,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked Lilac Girls as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • One million copies sold! Inspired by the life of a real World War II heroine, this remarkable debut novel reveals the power of unsung women to change history in their quest for love, freedom, and second chances.

“Extremely moving and memorable . . . This impressive debut should appeal strongly to historical fiction readers and to book clubs that adored Kristin Hannah’s The Nightingale and Anthony Doerr’s All the Light We Cannot See.”—Library Journal (starred review)

New York socialite Caroline Ferriday has her hands full with her post at the French consulate and a new…


Book cover of Life and Fate

Paul Clark Author Of The Price of Dreams

From my list on life in the Soviet Union.

Who am I?

At the age of 16, I briefly joined the International Socialists, a small British Trotskyist party. Though I soon became disillusioned, it was a formative experience that left me with a lifelong fascination with communism and the Soviet Union. Over the following decades, I read everything I could about the subject, both fiction and non-fiction. In the years after the fall of communism, the ideas that eventually culminated in the writing of this book began to form in my head.

Paul's book list on life in the Soviet Union

Paul Clark Why did Paul love this book?

Grossman consciously attempted to write the War and Peace of the Second World War, and in this panoramic masterpiece, he pulled it off. Like War and Peace, the book focuses both on the travails of a single family and the broader sweep of history, as we witness events from the perspective of persecuted Jewish scientists, soldiers (both Soviet and German), partisans, peasants, and generals.

This is an intensely personal work – Grossman covered the battle of Stalingrad for the Soviet press and knew his subject matter firsthand. Writing it was also an extremely courageous act. The KGB confiscated the manuscript and Grossman never lived to see the book published.

By Vasily Grossman,

Why should I read it?

7 authors picked Life and Fate as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Based around the pivotal WWII battle of Stalingrad (1942-3), where the German advance into Russia was eventually halted by the Red Army, and around an extended family, the Shaposhnikovs, and their many friends and acquaintances, Life and Fate recounts the experience of characters caught up in an immense struggle between opposing armies and ideologies. Nazism and Communism are appallingly similar, 'two poles of one magnet', as a German camp commander tells a shocked old Bolshevik prisoner. At the height of the battle Russian soldiers and citizens alike are at last able to speak out as they choose, and without reprisal…


Book cover of Murder Before Evensong

Kitty Murphy Author Of Death in Heels

From my list on murder mysteries to brighten your day.

Who am I?

I adore crime fiction, especially mysteries. They make sense. In the real world, crime rarely has the resolution of fiction, and almost never has Belgian detectives with very neat moustaches, or old ladies solving a who-dunnit… I grew up reading these books, mentally inhaling everything from Christie to Rankin to McDermid, and now I spend my days writing brutal but quite silly murders solved by a woman who would really rather wear an old grey fleece and jeans than a sparkly dress, and her friends, the fictional TRASH drag family. Murder mysteries are fun – perfect escapism. In a world so messed up as ours is right now, don’t we need to escape into fiction?

Kitty's book list on murder mysteries to brighten your day

Kitty Murphy Why did Kitty love this book?

Great characters, high drama over a toilet, and a very murdery murder. Perfect cozy crime.

Canon Daniel Clement stands between two sides of a war over the installation of a new toilet in the church. The writing is gentle and yet brilliant, comfortable and funny, and also has moments of poignant tenderness. 

Extra points for having dogs in the story.

By Richard Coles,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

THE FIRST NOVEL IN THE REVEREND RICHARD COLES' CANON CELEMENT MYSTERY SERIES

'Cosy crime with a cutting edge'
SUNDAY TELEGRAPH

'Even better than I knew it would be'
INDIA KNIGHT, THE SUNDAY TIMES

'Devotees of Midsomer Murders and Agatha Christie's Miss Marple stories will feel most at home here'
GUARDIAN

'Charming and funny'
OBSERVER, Thriller of the Month

'I've been waiting for a novel with vicars, rude old ladies, murder and sausage dogs ... et voila!'
DAWN FRENCH

'The unlikely heir to Barbara Pym'
DAILY TELEGRAPH

'Whodunnit fans can give praise and rejoice'
IAN RANKIN

'A cunning whodunnit... A sharp…


Book cover of The Secret Book of Flora Lea

Susie Orman Schnall Author Of Anna Bright Is Hiding Something: A Novel

From Susie's 3 favorite reads in 2023.

Who am I?

Author Experience seeker Reader Hiker Crossword solver

Susie's 3 favorite reads in 2023

Susie Orman Schnall Why did Susie love this book?

This was a perfectly crafted story from page one.

I went in knowing absolutely nothing about this book, aside from the fact that I was hearing great things about it, and I couldn’t have been more delighted—truly delighted—with what I found.

I loved the dual timeline and the expert way the author navigated between them. I loved the mystery aspect, constantly wondering what would happen, and the satisfying twist. I loved the gorgeous, lyrical prose.

And I loved how complete the story was—every element of it, from the characters to the plot to the history, were so beautifully constructed. And most of all, it is full of love and emotion and wonder and hope. Highly recommend!

By Patti Callahan Henry,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked The Secret Book of Flora Lea as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

When a woman discovers a rare book that has connections to her past, long-held secrets about her missing sister and their childhood spent in the English countryside during World War II are revealed.

In the war-torn London of 1939, fourteen-year-old Hazel and five-year-old Flora are evacuated to a rural village to escape the horrors of the Second World War. Living with the kind Bridie Aberdeen and her teenage son, Harry, in a charming stone cottage along the River Thames, Hazel fills their days with walks and games to distract her young sister, including one that…


Book cover of Mila 18

Walt Gragg Author Of The Red Line

From my list on oldie, but goldie, books of the past century.

Who am I?

I have a keen interest in history. I have been fortunate enough to have lived a life filled with wide-ranging experiences. I have lived in the smallest of towns and the largest of cities. At one time or another, I have called eight different states, Europe, and Asia home. As an Army veteran, I am driven to work on stories based on my own experiences and observations of the world we live in. It’s that insight that I hope comes across vividly in The Red Line.

Walt's book list on oldie, but goldie, books of the past century

Walt Gragg Why did Walt love this book?

Although not mentioned as often as some of his other masterpieces, in Mila 18 Uris spins an unforgettable tale that deftly combines fiction and nonfiction in a way few authors have been able to match. It is a truly unforgettable rendering of the events involved in the 1943 uprising against the Nazis in the Jewish Ghetto in Warsaw. Like the other four I am recommending, this book was one that truly touched my soul. Mila 18 provides incredible insight into people’s determination to stand up against their fates in even the direst of circumstances. It is well worth the read.

By Leon Uris,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Mila 18 as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

From the brilliant storyteller who gave us Exodus, QB VII, The Haj, and Mitla Pass

It was a time of crisis, a time of tragedy—and a time of transcendent courage and determination.  Leon Uris's blazing novel is set in the midst of the ghetto uprising that defied Nazi tyranny, as the Jews of Warsaw boldly met Wehrmacht tanks with homemade weapons and bare fists. Here, painted on a canvas as broad as its subject matter, is the compelling of one of the most heroic struggles of modern times.

“Not only authentic as history . . . it is convincing as…