World War 11 Reads

January 27, 2021

World War 11 Reads
(including some Holocaust reads)

January 27th is International
Holocaust Remembrance Day

holocaust remembrance day

Meme from  In addition to the six million Jews, there were approximately five million others killed by the Nazis: gypsies, homosexuals, people with mental or physical disabilities, Jehovah’s Witnesses, resistance fighters, Poles and other Slavic peoples.

International Holocaust Remembrance Day (white text on black background, one single candle)

Those of us who read WW11 Historical Fiction have stories of the Holocaust and the suffering of the Jewish people burned into our hearts. On this day of remembrance, I’ve listed some of the most memorable WW11 books I’ve read. Some involve the Holocaust. some describe the efforts of others or how their own lives were affected, and others take place during WW11. This is NOT a list exclusively about the Holocaust even though we are remembering this horrific event in history today.

***Titles are links to my blog or goodreads reviews or affiliate Amazon links.

Helping Others

From Sand and Ash by Amy Harmon

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

The Orphan’s Tale by Pam Jenoff

Resistance; Spies

The Alice Network by Kate Quinn

The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah

Code Name Hélène by Ariel Lawhon

Resistance Women by Jennifer Chiaverini

The Invisible Woman by Erika Robuck (ARC, Pub Date: 2/9/21)

The Baker’s Secret by Stephen P Kierman

The Lost Girls of Paris by Pam Jenoff


We Were the Lucky Ones by Georgia Hunter

Nonfiction, Memoirs

The Choice: Embrace the Possible by Dr. Edith Eva Eger

The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom

Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy by Eric Metaxas

Saving Children

The Medallion by Cathy Gohlke

The Last Train to London by Meg Waite Clayton

The Book of Lost Names by Kristin Harmel

Young Adult (New Young Adult and Adult crossover)

Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys

Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys

The Librarian of Auschwitz by Antonio Iturbe

Paper Hearts by Meg Woviott

Concentration Camps

Lilac Girls by Martha Hall Kelly

The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris

Cilka’s Journey by Heather Morris

(***Yes, I’m aware that Heather Morris has received criticism of her work in regard to historical facts, however, I still appreciated the stories.)

Living During WW11

The Last Bookshop in London by Madeline Martin (ARC, Pub Date: 4/6/21)

The Paris Library by Janet Skeslien Charles (ARC, Pub Date: 2/9/21)

Paris Never Leaves You by Ellen Feldman

Beneath a Scarlet Sky by Mark T. Sullivan

The Chilbury Ladies’ Choir by Jennifer Ryan

The Butterfly and the Violin by Kristy Cambron

All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer

The Soldier’s Wife by Margaret Leroy

The Lost Wife by Alyson Richman

Everyone Brave is Forgiven by Chris Cleave

The Room on Rue Amelie by Kristin Harmel

White Rose, Black Forest by Eoin Dempsey

Unbroken: A WW11 Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption by Laura Hillenbrand

Red Sky Over Hawaii, The Lieutenant’s Nurse, The Island of Sweet Pies and Soldiers all by Sara Ackerman

The Winemaker’s Wife by Kristin Harmel

The Things We Cannot Say by Kelly Rimmer

The Beantown Girls by Jane Healey

Room on Rue Amélie by Kristin Harmel

Holocause Remembrance Day: In Memory of 6 Million Jews (white text on black background, a row of candles burn)

What titles can you add? I thought of adding Sarah’s Key, but I didn’t actually read it because I saw the movie. I know it’s a favorite for many histfic readers.

QOTD: Have you read any of these titles?

Happy Reading Book Buddies!

“Ah, how good it is to be among people who are reading.”
~Rainer Maria Rilke

“I love the world of words, where life and literature connect.”
~Denise J Hughes

“Reading good books ruins you for enjoying bad ones.”
~Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

“I read because books are a form of transportation, of teaching, and of connection! Books take us to places we’ve never been, they teach us about our world, and they help us to understand human experience.”
~Madeleine Riley, Top Shelf Text

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***Blogs posts may contain affiliate links. This means that at no extra cost to you, I can earn a small percentage of your purchase price.

Unless explicitly stated that they are free, all books that I review have been purchased by me or borrowed from the library.

Book Cover and author photos are credited to Amazon or an author’s (or publisher’s) website.




  1. This was a great post Carol and so important. I love reading WW2 books, and I have read a few on this list already, the others are all going on my reading list though!

  2. Carol, this is a great thing to do – thanks for compiling it. I would add Mosaic by Diane Armstrong which tells the story of five generations of her Polish Jewish family. She was a child during the war. It is utterly fascinating, gripping and highly moving. We read it after a trip to Poland when our son was living there and also having met a wonderful couple in Wroclaw who were Holocaust survivors. I feel everyone should read this book!

  3. Excellent list. Have you read HEIDEGGER’S GLASSES by Thaisa Frank? If not, I highly recommend it. It is an extraordinary tale, beautifully written. Many thanks for all these wonderful recommendations.

  4. It feels weird to say that I love WWII novels because it was such an awful period in history with so much hate, fear, violence, and death. Still, the stories really resonate with me. I’ve read a number of the books you’ve listed, but there are a lot on here that I haven’t, so thanks for this. I’ll definitely look up the new-to-me titles.


    • Thanks for commenting Susan! I agree that they are heavy and heartbreaking reads. But also so inspirational! Especially the stories based on real people.

  5. I havent, I read a few nonfiction books but the holocaust as a fictional/romantic setting …. Idk

    I just read an investigative one that was pretty good

    • Thanks Jonetta! Taking some heat on Twitter from people who feel some titles are too generic WW11 and not specifically Holocaust…..I edited my first paragraph to explain the post better. Next year I will need to do better and only include Holocaust books on the list. 🤷‍♀️

  6. Unfortunately, I haven’t read any of the mentioned books, but I will definitely be reading a few of these books this year immediately. Thank you so much for this post and this amazing list of book! 💖💕

  7. This era is always so haunting but it’s still important to read about. I loved Miss Graham’s Cold War Cookbook but it takes place shortly after WWII

  8. I’ve read so many of these! My daughter and I were just talking today about someday visiting a Holocaust museum.

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