Historical fiction has had a glow-up in recent years, and perhaps no other genre has received as many titles as WWII fiction from that era. There’s something about the mix of history, war, nostalgia, and what could have been that keep readers coming back time and time again.
Take a look at the top reads in this area and consider adding them to your to-be-read list – that’s TBR – for an entertaining way to work your way through the time period in more way than one. From romance, to mystery, to dramas, thrillers, and everything in-between, these books have got you covered.
Here are the top WWII fiction reads this year
A Place to Hang the Moon
Named as a New York Public Library Best Book of the Year, this middle-grade fiction title tells the story of kids navigating WWII London after the death of their grandmother. Keeping their orphan status a secret, the dwindling family vows to stay together while battling the conditions of war.
Angels of the Pacific
Based on true stories, this newly-released novel covers the real-life female group of Angels of Bataan, a group of Army nurses in the Philippines. After the Great Depression, main character, Tess, travels overseas for a fresh start as an Army nurse. But after her stationed base is invaded, she and her nursing friends work on the front lines, but are ultimately captured as prisoners of war. For four long years the nurses work in underground efforts to find their friends, their freedom, and to defeat the Japanese soldiers who imprisoned them.
An Island at War
Inspired by the author’s family and their letters written during WWII, An Island at War is a historical fiction tale about New Jersey and what took place there as it was occupied during the war. It’s told from the point of view of Estelle, a young woman left to help her grandmother run the family farm, while her younger sister was shipped overseas to safety.
The author is also a New York Times Best Seller with a previous book, a WWI-based book, The Poppy Field.
The Midwife of Auschwitz
Inspired by a true story, The Midwife of Auschwitz tells the story of Ana and her friend Ester, who are imprisoned during WWII. They help deliver babies, who are promptly taken and sent with German families. Her plan to discreetly tattoo the newborns with their mothers’ numbers sets a plan to try and lead distraught mothers to an eventual reunion.
Its author has written several other books, including four top-selling WWII titles.
The Librarian Spy
This book has it all: written by a New York Times Best Seller, roots in real stories, and of course, for book lovers, it’s a fascinating take on librarians-turned-spies. Follow Ava, working at the Library of Congress, in what she thought would be a “normal” job, but what turns out to be an important step in U.S. intelligence.
The Wedding Dress Sewing Circle
Another best-selling author who penned several WWII novels releases The Wedding Dress Sewing Circle. Follow the story of a London fashion designer who loses it all to war and how she turns it around to creatively make wedding dresses through ration, war, and hardship. Based on a true story.
You also won’t want to miss:
- Mother Daughter Traitor Spy
- The Whalebone Theatre
- That Summer in Berlin
- Peach Blossom Spring