As commemorations for the WWI centenary kicked off earlier this month, I thought it was time for a list. This list covers books about WWI and WWII. Obviously, there is a wealth of fiction and non-fiction based around the subject and these aren’t necessarily the best examples out there, they’re just a few that caught my eye.
This novel has been around for a few years, but the film release earlier this year was what finally spurred me into reading it. If you haven’t read it yet, the centenary should be your catalyst. Narrated by death, this inspirational tale of a young girl, with a penchant for books, growing up in Nazi Germany is truly original. It won’t be one you forget in a hurry.
2) My Dear, I Wanted To Tell You by Louisa Young
My Dear, I Wanted To tell you is in essence a war romance, a genre I‘m generally not that keen on but when done well can be a treat. And this novel is done well. It follows Riley Purefoy and Nadine Waveny, a couple who meet young but are quickly torn apart by the outbreak of WWI. Spanning London, Paris and more this touching story focuses on how the war affected real lives and relationships.
This book isn’t really about war, it’s about one woman’s life – one that happens to take place during WWII. Through the clever use of multiple alternative lives, we see many sides of the war as we follow the protagonist, from rescuing war victims in London, to fraternising with Hitler in Germany. But it’s much more than just a war novel and well worth a read.
4) The Lives Of Stella Bain by Anita Shreve
Released this year to coincide with the centenary, this novel follows Stella Bain, a woman who is found unconcious on a French battlefield, with almost no memory; knowing only that she can drive an ambulance, she can draw, and her name is Stella Bain. It’s not one I haven’t personally read, but it’s certainly caught my eye.
As I said in my review earlier this year, Jodi Picoult has a knack for tackling big, controversial issues and winding them into compelling, emotional stories. In this novel, she takes on the Holocaust, and she does it well. A shocking, heart-wrenching and well-researched novel from one of my favourite authors, this had to make the list.