Updated: Apr 5, 2018
One of my favorite genres is historical fiction, because it allows readers to develop a unique perspective to some of the most interesting periods of history. As a reader, there is something about connecting to a different time and place through getting to know a character's struggles, victories, passions, hopes, and fears. Not only can one let their imagination take the reins, but they can learn about real events, people, and places. The World War II era, for example, was one of tragedy, loss, and fear, yet despite the atrocities that were brought to light, there are stories of victory, love, and strength. As a historical fiction fan, World War II era novels can be emotionally taxing, yet so worth while to read. The knowledge of history gained by reading such a book is important, but the emotional perspective gained is key.
In the past year I have read four amazing historical fiction novels set in World War II. Most of the stories are about characters who were overseas during this tragic time, yet some stories depict the lives of those who were in the United States. These stories lend historical information on the war and time period, but also allow readers to develop an emotional connection to the characters in the pages. I wholeheartedly recommend reading all four books, not in any particular order. If you are a fan of historical fiction, you will be truly engrossed in these novels. If you are not a fan of historical fiction, you will soon become one by reading these breath-taking stories.
1) Lilac Girls by Martha Hall Kelly
Based on true people and events, this New York Times Bestseller depicts the lives of a New York socialite, a Polish teenage girl, and a young German doctor, each transformed by the occurrences of World War II. The stories of these women transcend continents and leave a mark on history.
2) My Mother's Secret: A Novel Based on a True Holocaust Story by J.L Witterick
This International Bestselling Novel is based on the true story of Franciszka Halamajowa, who along with her daughter, heroically offered her home to hide two Jewish families and a fleeing German soldier from the Nazis. This story is the epitome of a mother's love that gives hope in a world where it seems there is none.
3) We Were the Lucky Ones by Georgia Hunter
This New York Times Bestseller offers the stories of three generations of the Kurc family, a Jewish family living in Poland during World War II. The unique stories told from the perspective of each family member unravel to tell the tales of separation, loss, love, and perseverance.
*Personal note: I finished this book while on a flight to North Carolina, and needless to say, I had a few odd stares while I sat in my seat crying. So if you aren't afraid to shed a tear in public, feel free to read this anywhere, however, if you are like me this one is best for reading at home.
4) All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
This novel is a Pulitzer Prize winner, a New York Times Book Review Top Ten Book, National Book Award finalist, and has spent more than two and a half years on the New York Times bestseller list. This award winning novel is about a blind French girl and a German boy whose lives become intertwined in the most expected way in occupied France during World War II.