Here is a selection of WW2 themed Historical Reads which I can recommend.
1944 and Anna is parachuted into Normandy as a special agent working with Resistance Groups, spying on the Germans and wiring the information back to the Special Operations Executive, escaping capture and the inevitable torture that would follow.
She falls in love with Pierre, another SOE agent but finds he is not what he purports to be. Then there is the little matter of the Gestapo officer who has guessed her secret. Alone, Anna has to make some terrifying decisions to survive and to ensure the impending invasion remains secret.
It is 2006 in England, where her husband has died and Anna lives alone. Her children are spying on her and plot to put her in a home so that they can sell her house for their own ends. Anna is determined to retain her independence. She falls back on her wartime skills, recruiting Nathan and his girl friend Gemma to help her and becomes close to them as she never was with her own children.
But it is only when she returns to Normandy and confronts the ghosts of her past that she realises how the war had taken its toll on her loveless marriage and her children. She makes the ultimate sacrifice and finally finds the peace and redemption that had evaded her all these years. Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com
Fifteen year-old Kate Wolseley lives a rarefied life of wealth and privilege in the expatriate community. But when the Japanese take over the colony in December 1941, she’s interned in squalid Stanley Camp with her parents. Forty miles away, in Macau, Sofia Rodrigues’ suspicions are aroused when her father invites a Japanese family to dinner, an event which leads to a breach between Sofia and her controlling half-brother, Leo. Enduring cramped conditions, humiliation, disease, and starvation, Kate befriends seventeen year-old Charles – who’s half Chinese – and they give their hearts to each other under the orchid tree. Can their love survive the war?
In December 1948, Kate returns to Hong Kong, determined to put the past behind her. Sofia dreams of leaving Macau and starting a new life, and she won’t let anyone, not even Leo, stop her. A young Englishman, James, becomes the link between Kate and Sofia. The communist-nationalist struggle in China spills over into the colony, catapulting the protagonists into the turmoil with disastrous consequences.
A coming of age story set against the background of conflict and changing values in society.
From the perils of internment to the beauty of Hong Kong’s fragrant harbour, Siobhan Daiko’s novel will take you on a sensuous journey of adventure, romance and redemption. Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com
Mary is a nursing sister at a Lancashire prison camp for the housing and treatment of German POWs. Life at work is difficult but fulfilling; life at home a constant round of arguments—often prompted by her fly-by-night sister, Ellen, the apple of her short-tempered father’s eye. Then Frank turns up at the house one night—a guard at the camp, he’s been watching Mary for weeks—and won’t leave until she agrees to walk out with him. Frank Shuttleworth is a difficult man to love and it’s not long before Mary gives him his marching orders. But Shuttleworth won’t take no for an answer and the gossips are eager for their next victim, and for the slightest hint of fraternization with the enemy. Suddenly, not only Mary’s happiness but her very life is threatened by the most dangerous of wartime secrets. Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com
When war baby Sophie joins the macho world of 1960s journalism she’s determined to prove that she’s ‘one of the boys.’ But a shocking phone call from her estranged mother sets Sophie on a quest to discover the secret of her birth.
Was her father the all-American soldier she dreamt of when she was a child, or someone far more sinister? This is the story the ambitious reporter was destined to write.
Helped by the charming but mysterious David, Sophie uncovers a heartbroken wartime orphan, a GI romance and a terrifying rape that leads to an innocent man’s court martial – and clues to her own unhappy childhood.
Torn between her secret love for Steve, the newspaper’s most eligible bachelor, and a desire to know who she really is, Sophie follows David to find her father. Only when faced with the startling truth can she accept the tragedy of love, loss and betrayal and begin a very different kind of future. Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com
It’s 2006 and Alex Mullen is coming to terms with a terrible past. Meeting up with Frankie, who shared the bad times, exposes one of Australia’s cruellest secrets. In Falmouth, 1942, commando Philip Seymour sails for France. Left on the quayside is Rosie, a half-Romany girl looking for something more from life than collecting old clothes to sell on for pennies. Philip, who turned down a commission on principle, is pal Tucker—haunted by dreams of strange beasts hanging in his father’s cold store, and Anderson—a mean spirited wide-boy who Philip doesn’t quite trust, are about to make history in the audacious raid on the docks of St Nazaire. What befalls the commandos shapes the lives of Rosie, Alex, and Philip in ways none of them could have imagined. Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com
It’s 1945 and, as the troops begin to return home, the inhabitants of London attempt to put their lives back together. For 25-year-old Millie, a qualified nurse and midwife, the jubilation at the end of the war is short-lived as she tends to the needs of the East End community around her. But while Millie witnesses tragedy and brutality in her job, she also finds strength and kindness. And when misfortune befalls her own family, it is the enduring spirit of the community that shows Millie that even the toughest of circumstances can be overcome.
Through Millie’s eyes, we see the harsh realities and unexpected joys in the lives of the patients she treats, as well as the camaraderie that is forged with the fellow nurses that she lives with. Filled with unforgettable characters and moving personal stories, this vividly brings to life the colourful world of a post-war East London. Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com
This never-before-translated masterpiece-by a heroic best-selling writer who saw his life crumble when he wouldn’t join the Nazi Party-is based on a true story.
It presents a richly detailed portrait of life in Berlin under the Nazis and tells the sweeping saga of one working-class couple who decides to take a stand when their only son is killed at the front. With nothing but their grief and each other against the awesome power of the Reich, they launch a simple, clandestine resistance campaign that soon has an enraged Gestapo on their trail, and a world of terrified neighbours and cynical snitches ready to turn them in.
In the end, it’s more than an edge-of-your-seat thriller, more than a moving romance, even more than literature of the highest order-it’s a deeply stirring story of two people standing up for what’s right, and each other. Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com
What a great idea to collect them together like this! I’d like to also recommend Past Encounters by Davina Black, much of which is about a man’s experiences in a German POW camp (it’s that, and set in the 1950s as well). It was in the top 5 of my Top Books of 2015 post! 🙂
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ps, I really fancy Alone in Berlin…. just going to get it, I think!
Hi Rosie – I too really liked the review of Alone in Berlin, but the first one: Back Behind Enemy Lines … intrigues … I’ll definitely keep these for my TBR list – thanks for the listing .. makes sense putting them in one post .. and Terry’s recommendation .. cheers to you both – Hilary
Thank you Hilary.
They all sound interesting. Thanks, Rosie!
Reblogged this on carsonrenomysteryseries.com.
Thanks, Rosie. A great selection! Pinned & shared. 🙂
What a superb selection! So glad you included Judith’s book!
I DO really love reading fiction from this time period. Great suggestions!
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Thank you Diane.
I love the cover on Pattern of Shadows, great imagery, sets the scene perfectly too 😉
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Thank you Judith will be pleased.
Great idea to put them all in the one post. Very helpful. Some great looking books here too. Thanks, Rosie.
A great selection here! Thanks for bringing them to my attention. 🙂
Fantastic selection. I’m very into WW2 books, so must come back here and write these down! I’ve only read one of these! Another WW2 recommendation from me is Don’t Pass Me By by Julie McGowan. I loved it!
Reblogged this on Val Poore and commented:
I need to read some of these myself!
Thank you Val and thanks for the recommendation too, always great to hear about good books.
Alone in Berlin is absolutely breathtaking, as amazing as Fallada’s own story during the war. I reviewed it for WKAR radio in east Lansing and couldn’t praise it enough. The HC was brought out by a terrific small press in New York: Melville House.
Many thanks Lev, readers love the recommendations from others.