I have a bit of an obsession with WWII novels. I’m not sure when it started and I didn’t notice it until a co-worker told me that every book I talk about takes place during war. She is Buddhist and said that because her beliefs focus on peaceful things she avoided filling her mind with negativity, especially as entertainment. She avoided novels that take place during war and that’s why she noticed that all of my favorites were books she couldn’t read.
Since that day I’ve tried (really tried) to diversify my library but I keep finding myself drawn back to war fiction over and over again. I could sit here and try to justify it by rambling on about my family’s military service history or by explaining how I’m drawn to tactics and logistics because I’m an INTJ but really I think it’s as simple as enjoying the drama and tension of the time. It makes for good reading.
Any time someone asks me for book recommendations (which happens frequently in the office since I work with a group of writers) my first question has become, “Well, do you like war fiction?” because if they say no then I may not be the person for them.
Now, I know that World War II fiction is a heavily saturated market and there are some really terrible books out there in the genre. I know, I’ve read them too. I’ve read so many that were just absolutely terrible and made me want to swear off the genre for a while but then I’ll stumble upon a great read that sucks me right back in.
If you’re looking for any good WWII novels to read, I highly recommend each of the following books.
- The Officer’s Code by Lyn Alexander (Schellendorf Series Book #1)
- The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah
- The Paris Architect by Charles Belfoure
- All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
- Once We Were Brothers by Ronald H Balson
- The Melody of Secrets by Jeffrey Stepakoff
- Gracianna by Trini Amador
- Love & Treasure by Ayelet Waldman
- Girl in the Blue Coat by Monica Hesse
If you’ve read any of these, I’d love to hear your thoughts. Otherwise, hit me with your best book recommendations (even if they aren’t war fiction). Right now I’m totally caught in a book hangover from reading the Schellendorf Series for the third time and nothing is even coming close to being as good.