NB! No spoilers!
One of my favourite genres to read in is historical fiction, and the last few years I have found world war 2 as a theme very interesting.
As heartbreaking and disgusting it is to read about these things – even though they are fictional – they are also fascinating because they are inspired by true events…
Therefore, I wanted to share three books about that. All though the last one isn’t actually set in world war two, but it does have a connection.
1. Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys
“Lina is just like any other fifteen-year-old Lithuanian girl in 1941. She paints, she draws, she gets crushes on boys. Until one night when Soviet officers barge into her home, tearing her family from the comfortable life they’ve known. Separated from her father, forced onto a crowded and dirty train car, Lina, her mother, and her young brother slowly make their way north, crossing the Arctic Circle, to a work camp in the coldest reaches of Siberia. Here they are forced, under Stalin’s orders, to dig for beets and fight for their lives under the cruelest of conditions.
Lina finds solace in her art, meticulously–and at great risk–documenting events by drawing, hoping these messages will make their way to her father’s prison camp to let him know they are still alive. It is a long and harrowing journey, spanning years and covering 6,500 miles, but it is through incredible strength, love, and hope that Lina ultimately survives.”
This, as the other two on this list, is on my top 10 favourite books of all time. (Series like Harry Potter is counted as one!) I read this sometime last year and I still think about it! Between Shades of Gray was so interesting to read because the story was set somewhere I hadn’t, and still haven’t, read much about. The writing was wonderful, and I feel like the characters were amazingly written. I also liked how there were flashbacks so you could see the contrast between her new and old life.
2. The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah
“Despite their differences, sisters Vianne and Isabelle have always been close. Younger, bolder Isabelle lives in Paris while Vianne is content with life in the French countryside with her husband Antoine and their daughter. But when the Second World War strikes, Antoine is sent off to fight and Vianne finds herself isolated so Isabelle is sent by their father to help her.
As the war progresses, the sisters’ relationship and strength are tested. With life changing in unbelievably horrific ways, Vianne and Isabelle will find themselves facing frightening situations and responding in ways they never thought possible as bravery and resistance take different forms in each of their actions.”
I read this one in the beginning of March this year. I wasn’t really sure what to except but I figured I would give it a try. And I was not disappointed. Same as the first book, I thought the writing and the progress of the story and the characters were amazing. It just makes me think about how well I have it. I have no idea how I would have handled a war, and I have NO wish to find out either.
3. Wolf By Wolf by Ryan Graudin
“The year is 1956, and the Axis powers of the Third Reich and Imperial Japan rule. To commemorate their Great Victory, Hitler and Emperor Hirohito host the Axis Tour: an annual motorcycle race across their conjoined continents. The victor is awarded an audience with the highly reclusive Adolf Hitler at the Victor’s Ball in Tokyo.
Yael, a former death camp prisoner, has witnessed too much suffering, and the five wolves tattooed on her arm are a constant reminder of the loved ones she lost. The resistance has given Yael one goal: Win the race and kill Hitler. A survivor of painful human experimentation, Yael has the power to skinshift and must complete her mission by impersonating last year’s only female racer, Adele Wolfe. This deception becomes more difficult when Felix, Adele twin’s brother, and Luka, her former love interest, enter the race and watch Yael’s every move.
But as Yael grows closer to the other competitors, can she bring herself to be as ruthless as she needs to be to avoid discovery and complete her mission?”
As I wrote in the beginning of the post; one of the books aren’t actually set during the second world war, BUT I decided to add it onto this list because I think it deserves a spot.
When I first started reading this I wasn’t really loving it, but I forced myself to continue and I am so happy I did. The story was so interesting and fun. And it made me very happy about how the war ended…! Anyway, the characters were interesting to figure out and I liked the writing.
Have you read any of these books? What did you think? And do you have any other world war two books you think I should read?
I am planning on reading The Bookthief and All The Light We Cannot See!
If you for some reason want to pin this post, then go ahead and pin the picture beneath :))
Edit: this list could be updated. I just read a new world war two book. And this would have a different book than Wolf By Wolf if it was written today.