Historical romance is an all-time favorite for many. With books like Bridgerton growing in popularity, but an underrated subgenre within that is WWII romances. But why do we like them?
Is it the fact that the love must be in secret, or even better, kept apart by means of war? No matter the reason for so much excitement (and heartache, let’s be real. It’s war), there are always more historical world war two novels to dive into.
1. Lilac Girls by Martha Hall Kelly
Take step into the world of a New York socialite Caroline as she takes on Paris, working at the consulate. She has her life set, a new love on the move, and then…Hitler invades Poland with France next on his list.
Then there’s Kasia. She’s Polish and quickly finds herself as a currier for the resistance. One bad move and everything is over for her.
Herta is a German doctor…who is hired into the male-dominated world of Nazis. With all three women’s lives bound to intertwine, this book is a must for historical romance fans.
2. The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah
“In love we find out who we want to be. In war we find out who we are.”
If that’s not enough to give you goosebumps and add this to your TBR list, maybe this will: Vianne lives in France in 1939 and has just said goodbye to her husband as he heads for the front. The Nazis are going to invade France, despite what Vianne believes (or secretly wishes was true). Now she has to do whatever it takes to survive with her daughter.
While her sister, Isabelle, is in the throes of new adulthood, finding her purpose and passion…one of those passions? Gaetan. He believes they can beat Germany from the inside (hehe).
3. The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris
What would it be like to read a book based on a real interview with a Holocaust survivor? You can know exactly what it would be like with this world war II novel.
Lale Sokolov is Jewish and transferred to a concentration camp at Auschwitz-Birkenau. When it’s discovered he can speak multiple languages, he’s tasked with tattooing his fellow prisoners.
In July of 1942, Lale ends up comforting a woman waiting to be tattooed. Gita. Based on that single interaction, Lale decided he will survive and he will marry her. No matter what.
4. The Book of Lost Names by Kristin Harmel
When you have a talent for forgery, you help hundreds of Jewish children flee Nazis. That’s just how it works. And for Eva Abrams, it was common sense. When she realizes a book she hasn’t seen for 60 years is being hunted for because of a supposed code encompassed in it. Nobody seems to know where it came from or what it means…except for Eva.
Take a peek into Eva’s life in 1942 as she started forging identity documents for Jewish children and the forger, Remy.
But Eva’s heart is big, and she must find a way to record these childrens’ real names so they know who they are and where they came from.
5. Code Name Helene by Ariel Lawhon
It’s 1936. Nancy Wake is a foreign correspondent witnessing Hitler’s rise in Europe. Just when she falls in love and agrees to marry, Germans invade France, forcing her into a life of code names.
White Mouse. Helene. Madame Andree.
These are the among the many names she acquires for her unique smuggling, espionage, and other skills she uses to survive.
6. We Were the Lucky Ones by Georgia Hunter
This novel revolves around three generations of Kurc, just trying to do their best to live normal lives. While they try to bide their time gossiping of new romances and soon to follow babies, the inescapable reality of Hitler’s horrors are drawing nearer.
One sibling is forced into exile, another tries to flee, and others try to escape certain death. This historical fiction will show you some realities of this time, strewn together with prose of family, loss, and love.
7. A Fire Sparkling by Julianne MacLean
As a bonus, this book definitely has the most intriguing cover, but just like bad covers contain great books, good covers don’t necessarily mean a worth read. In this case, it does!
Gillian Gibbons is crushed. She’s been betrayed by the man she loves and now has to flee home just to escape. Then she finds a picture of her grandmother embraced by a Nazi officer. Her life is that much more complicated.
In 1939, Vivian has fallen in love with a British official. But the raid of bombs destroys her life.
Gillian learns as much as she can about her grandmother’s past and as she does, that photo makes more and more sense.
8. The Paris Library by Janet Skeslien Charles
Odile Souchet is ambitious, and also living in Paris in 1939. Her life is perfect and she has her dream job as a librarian at the American Library. But when Nazis invade, she may lose everything.
Meanwhile, in Montana in 1983, Lily is lonely and in need of an adventure. Her elderly neighbor is fascinating. When Lily learns more about her neighbors mysterious past, she realizes they’re more alike than she thought.
If you love books, Paris, and connected pasts through history, give it a shot!
9. Dear Mrs. Bird by AJ Pearce
Despite nightly raids and the terrors of war, Emmeline and Bunty are still trying to stay positive. Emmy is also particularly positive she wants the Lady War Correspondent job when she sees the advertisement.
Unfortunately, there’s a misunderstanding and instead, Emmeline is writing letters for Henrietta Bird, a renowned advice columnist of Woman’s Friend magazine. She goes outside of the rules when she sees concerning letters of girls who have made mistakes with men or are struggling with the realities of a woman’s life, and replies to them in secret.
10. The Ventriloquists by E.R Ramzipoor
Helene is twelve, and orphaned. She’s out on her own, disguising herself as a boy selling copies of the popular magazine Le Soir. Except now it’s been turned into Nazi propoganda.
Then Marc Aubrion, a rogue journalist, changes everything. Now the Nazis are requiring they turn Le Soir into propganda that sways the public against the Allies…or be killed. Instead, they choose to make a fake edition of the magazine, making fun of Hitler.
They agree to die for this. They have 18 days to do it.
World War II is a devastating time in history. But no doubt, there are thousands of touching stories to come out of the time. Dive into these historical WWII novels, some filled with juicy romance with everything at stake.
Happy reading, rankers.