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My Favorite WWII Novels

Updated: Aug 31, 2022

So this book technically covers both world wars during three generations of women's stories. But it's one of the best I've ever read! The three authors each take one character and the chapters rotate between their stories. I honestly don't know how that works, much less how it works this well!! All I can say is that these authors are brilliants artists and everyone that I have recommended read this book agreed.

One of the best elements is that you realize early on that the dates of the character's lives fall at about the right time to be three direct generations, but they don't seem to fit at first. So you get to spend the whole book trying to fit them together which I assure you that you won't until the end! Each woman approaches hardship, love and war differently, making their uniqueness engaging and oh so addicting! I assure you that you won't regret this one!

This novel is one that I have been talking about since I read it six months ago. It's one of the hardest stories that I've read, some of the violence is just hard to stomach. However, if you can make it through those parts, I would 100% recommend this novel! It has a beautiful blend of sassy women that participated in aircraft flights and undercover work during WWII, humor, pain, friendship and salvation.

Two best friends that couldn't be more different get pulled in separate directions during the war but their friendship stays strong. When one of them goes missing, the other will do whatever it takes to find her friend. That's all I'm going to give you, synopsis wise... but trust me, you should read it!

I'm sure you've heard of this one, and it's not really new, but oh so fantastic! I cannot say enough about the power and wonder of Kristin Hannah's writing, but this is my favorite novel of hers. Another story of a woman's work undercover during the war, this tale is so suspenseful you probably won't sleep until you finish it, but you'll love every moment!

If you haven't read anything by Kristin Hannah, I would highly recommend this as the first one you read! You will have no regrets, promise.

The unique element in this novel is that it's about one family of adult children. Some are married, one engaged, and one son single. The begging of the books paints a picture of the normalcy of life in Poland. The characters are falling in love, making a family, finding an apartment, all very normal activities which they soon realize they shouldn't have taken for granted. Being a Jewish family, they soon become spread all over the world and lose contact with each other. Filled with suspense, loss, loneliness, and finally hope as the war comes in an end, you'll fall in love with this family and be sad to see their stories end.

The Lost girls Of Paris is about several women that underwent training in Paris to direct telegrams between resistance members without being detected. It's very suspenseful, as the girls all get placed in jobs or hidden locations around Europe, usually alone and with secret identities.

For the other history nerds, the author has some of her research notes in the back of the book about the real women who transmitted telegrams and sent radio messages among the resistance. I'd never heard of their work and found it very interesting!

“Forgiveness is an act of the will, and the will can function regardless of the temperature of the heart.”

“This is what the past is for! Every experience God gives us, every person He puts in our lives is the perfect preparation for the future that only He can see.”

“Do you know what hurts so very much? It's love. Love is the strongest force in the world, and when it is blocked that means pain. There are two things we can do when this happens. We can kill that love so that it stops hurting. But then of course part of us dies, too. Or we can ask God to open up another route for that love to travel.”

These gems are why if you haven't read this book before or don't remember what it's about, you should pick it up!

This is the sequel to The tattooist of Auschwitzs (which I haven't read yet), but is a powerful stand alone story! The main character did some incredible painful things to survive her time in Auschwitzs only to be imprisoned again because her actions were considered "fraternizing with nazis". Again, another heavy and painful story, this one does have hope at the end of the tunnel and most importantly, Cilka is given opportunity after opportunity to re-learn how to build healthy relationships, how to trust other people and how to let her heart feel compassion once again. It's a story of healing after long years of abuse, but one that is possible.

So I may have saved my absolute favorite for last... it's either this one or Code Name Varity, but these are definitely my top two! This novel is so different from anything I've read before! It's like a desperate love story, fighting through the darkest seasons of life, chasing after each other. If you're not already swooning, read this quote:

"People say that I should move on. I don’t see why.” Christopher’s entire body was rigid. “Perhaps it’s time to let her go. It’s been thirteen years now, Brother. You’re not old. You’ve still got a life to live.” “Maybe, but maybe I just don’t want to."

You should read this book, I'm not even a sappy person and I absolutely fell in love with this story! A german man enlists, gets his uncle to have him stationed at Auschwitz, and tries to hide his true feelings about the Nazis… all to find the love of his life. From here, the story becomes a flashback of how Rebecca and Christopher met and feel in love. Incorporating different family dynamics, this story is intricate, teaches about the power of real love and the strength it takes to never quit.

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