Hi Y’all! Welcome to another Top Ten Tuesday 🙂 This week’s topic is officially “Books that every (fill in the blank) needs to read”. I’m excited to see what everyone posts and I hope we get a variety of themes! I’m going with “books that every WW2 history buff needs to read” because a) it’s one of my favorite times in history to read about – there really was HOPE in spite of the darkness … and b) I could recommend books in this category all day long and never run out. So many fantastic novels and memoirs and nonfiction accounts out there to choose from! 🙂
I’ve divided the list into two categories (and then further within each category). Mainly because no matter how many fantastic books I’ve found, there are still so many others that people have recommended to me. People I trust.
Let’s start out with the ones I’ve read and loved and will force you to read if you give me the opportunity 😉
Note: These are not all Christian fiction, but most are. Several are nonfiction, and a couple are general market novels.
1. Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford
Set during one of the most conflicted and volatile times in American history, Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet is an extraordinary story of commitment and enduring hope. In Henry and Keiko, Jamie Ford has created an unforgettable duo whose story teaches us of the power of forgiveness and the human heart. (Goodreads)
2.Flame of Resistance by Tracy Groot
(2013 Christy Award Winner!)
Years of Nazi occupation have stolen much from Brigitte Durand. Family. Freedom. Hope for a future, especially for a woman with a past like hers. But that changes the day American fighter pilot Tom Jaeger is shot down over occupied France. Picked up by the Resistance, Tom becomes the linchpin in their plan to infiltrate a Germans-only brothel and get critical intel out through Brigitte, a prostitute rumored to be sympathetic to the Allied cause. (Goodreads)
3.The Girl From The Train by Irma Joubert
Rich with history and humanity, The Girl From The Train will replace dates and facts with faces and heartbeats to make the events come alive in your spirit. I learned much I did not know about Poland in the years during and after WW2, as well as about South Africa and the German orphan initiative there. But woven vividly through all the information were the people – the reason I could not put down the book, the reason my heart became so involved in the reading and in the outcome. Read more of my review.
4.The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom
At one time Corrie ten Boom would have laughed at the Idea that there would ever be a story to tell. For the first fifty years of her life nothing at all out of the ordinary had ever happened to her. She was an old-maid watchmaker living contentedly with her spinster sister and their elderly father in the tiny Dutch house over their shop. Their uneventful days, as regulated as their own watches, revolved around their abiding love for one another. However, with the Nazi invasion and occupation of Holland, a story did ensue. (Goodreads)
This memoir is hands-down one of my all-time favorite books.
5.The Girls of Atomic City by Denise Kiernan
The incredible story of the young women of Oak Ridge, Tennessee, who unwittingly played a crucial role in one of the most significant moments in U.S. history. The Tennessee town of Oak Ridge was created from scratch in 1942. One of the Manhattan Project’s secret cities, it didn’t appear on any maps until 1949, and yet at the height of World War II it was using more electricity than New York City and was home to more than 75,000 people, many of them young women recruited from small towns across the South. Their jobs were shrouded in mystery, but they were buoyed by a sense of shared purpose, close friendships—and a surplus of handsome scientists and Army men! (Goodreads)
As a personal bonus… my grandparents both lived and worked in Oak Ridge during the time of – and related to – the events discussed in this book. I grew up hearing these stories and they have always fascinated me! As an even bonusier bonus, my grandmother is on the cover. Can you spot her? 🙂
In 1942, with Nazis occupying Holland, a thirteen-year-old Jewish girl and her family fled their home in Amsterdam and went into hiding. For the next two years, until their whereabouts were betrayed to the Gestapo, they and another family lived cloistered in the “Secret Annex” of an old office building. In her diary Anne Frank recorded vivid impressions of her experiences during this period. By turns thoughtful, moving, and amusing, her account offers a fascinating commentary on human courage and frailty and a compelling self-portrait of a sensitive and spirited young woman whose promise was tragically cut short. (Goodreads)
Note: Can I just put my teacher hat on for a moment and emphasize that The Diary of Anne Frank is NOT historical fiction?!? It is real. It happened. It is her actual diary of her actual experiences while she was actually hiding for her life. I saw a couple of blog posts about this book lately that seemed to lump it in with historical fiction and I just…. I can’t even. I couldn’t post it here without making sure we all understand that it is indeed NONFICTION. (Whew. I feel better now lol)
7.For Such a Time by Kate Breslin
One of the best fiction books I have read about the Holocaust – its horrors and its humanity. The parallels between this novel & the biblical story of Esther are so beautifully done that it has earned a spot on my favorites list!!!
For Such A Time will paint a stark picture of the atrocities and impossible choices faced by the Jewish people during the Holocaust. The biblical book of Esther has always been one of my favorites and it is also one I have studied in great depth; Kate Breslin did an exquisite job of adding a more modern twist to its retelling. (Read more)
8.The Butterfly and the Violin by Kristy Cambron
A Mysterious painting breathes hope and beauty into the darkest corners of Auschwitz–and the loneliest hearts of Manhattan. Manhattan art dealer Sera James watched her world crumble at the altar two years ago, and her heart is still fragile. Her desire for distraction reignites a passion for a mysterious portrait she first saw as a young girl–a painting of a young violinist with piercing blue eyes. (Goodreads)
The second book is a must-read too – A Sparrow in Terezin
9.Promise to Return by Elizabeth Byler Younts
It’s 1943 and Miriam Coblentz and Henry Mast are nearing their wedding day when the unthinkable happens—Henry is drafted. However, since he is a part of the pacifist Amish tradition, Henry is sent to a conscientious objector Civilian Public Service camp. When he leaves for the work camp, his gaping absence turns Miriam’s life upside down. Little does she know that it’s only the beginning… Two worlds collide in this unforgettable debut novel, providing a fascinating and rare look into Amish culture during World War II. (Goodreads)
The rest of the series are must-reads as well!
10. Sarah Sundin
No discussion of WW2 must-reads would be complete without mentioning Sarah Sundin! I’ve included the covers for the first books in each of her series – clicking on these covers will take you to Amazon. I’ve also listed the series below with a link to their Goodreads pages.
Believe it or not, I have NOT in fact read every book yet. 😉 Here are some of the WW2-related books most recommended to me by people I trust! (Specifically Marisa Deshaies lol)
I would also love it if you followed my #WeRead…WW2 board on Pinterest 🙂
Ok… I know I forgot some. What are YOUR favorite WW2-related books? Or … make your case for why I should give The Book Thief (noticeably absent from this list) another try.