A novel about the strength and compassion of women during World War II, The Nightingale celebrates an otherwise untalked about story: the women’s war. For fans of Kristin Hannah, these brilliant books will fulfill your need for brave characters in perilous times of war and tragedy. Keep reading for more novels like The Nightingale.
Looking for more Historical Fiction? Check out our favorite historical fiction books of 2022>>>
Lilac Girls by Martha Hall Kelly
In the years of World War II, three women from different worlds—a New York socialite, a German doctor, and a young Polish rebel—work to change the course of history within the male-dominated arenas they find themselves in. When Katia, the young Polish girl, is captured by the Germans and taken to a notorious concentration camp for women, their lives intersect in a cross-continental fight for justice.
The Alice Network by Kate Quinn
In this story of astonishing courage and redemption, the lives of two women are woven together. In 1947, a brave young women, Charlie St. Clare, pregnant and disowned by her family, sets off on a journey to find her cousin who disappeared in France during the Nazi occupation. The woman Charlie is staying with in France, Eve Gardiner, was once part of the Alice Network where she worked as a spy in World War I. She is haunted by her past and spends her days drinking. Slowly, it becomes clear that the questions the haunt Charlie and Eve are somehow connected, and the two must team up to uncover the truth.
White Chrysanthemum by Mary Lynn Bracht
During World War II, Hana and her sister Emi enjoy freedom under the Japanese occupation as part of a long ling of female divers of the sea in Korea. But when Emi is captured by Japanese soldiers, Hana makes the ultimate sacrifice when she saves Emi and is herself captures. Hana is then taken to Manchuria and forced to become a “comfort woman.” In 2011, Emi is still haunted by the sacrifice her sister made and questions about what happened to her.
The Forest of Vanishing Stars by Kristin Hamel
A young woman was kidnapped at a young age and raised in the German wilderness. When her kidnapper dies, she suddenly finds herself alone in 1941 and makes her first connection with the outside world. She is astonished to learn about the events of World War I and the genocide of Jewish people. When she comes across a group of Jewish survivors fleeing Nazi territory in the wild, she decides to teach them how to survive in the wilderness After a shocking betrayal, she must come to terms with both her past and the present horrors of war.
The Only Woman in the Room by Marie Benedict
Based on the life of Hedy Lamarr, Marie Benedict tells a breathtaking story in which Lamarr escapes from a Europe on the brink of war. A woman of incredible beauty, she quickly builds a new life for herself in Hollywood where she becomes a star. Yet, unknown to everyone else, Lamarr is also working on a new technology that could help defeat the Nazis and change the course of history.
Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
The pain, hope and sacrifice inherent in war is beautifully depicted in Adichie’s story that takes places during the Biafran War in the 1960s. In a struggle for independence, the future of five characters hangs in the balance as they also try to navigate living everyday lives.
Island of Sweet Pies and Soldiers by Sara Ackerman
A year after her husband went missing, Violet Iverson is still dealing with unanswered questions about his disappearance. Suspicious that her daughter may know more than she’s letting onto, Violet can’t shake the feeling something bad has happened. Through the opening of a pie stand near the military base and a new interest in a bold marine, Violet will do everything in her power to keep her life from falling to pieces yet again in this alluring World War II novel.
White Houses by Amy Bloom
In Amy Bloom’s new historical read, she tells the fascinating story of Eleanor Roosevelt and Lorena Hickok. Lorena and Eleanor met during Franklin Roosevelt’s first presidential campaign and unbeknownst to them, this meeting would spur the love of a lifetime. As the two women grow closer, Lorena moves into the White House and works alongside the married couple, giving her the status of “first friend.” Detailing the lifelong friendship and romantic relationship between these two women, White Houses is the touching story of the Roosevelts that many people don’t know—the perfect book for fans of The Paris Wife.
All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
At the height of World War II, two young children are trapped in a world full of war and evil. One is an exceptionally smart boy who escapes the dangerous future of coal mining by attending Hitler’s Youth Academy and the other a brave blind girl who must flee Paris with her father. At a time when children should be carefree, this novel tells two complex coming-of-age stories during a dark point in history.
The Sympathizer by Viet Thanh Nguyen
Stuck somewhere between wanting to be a part of America and its culture and feeling the need to stay true to his Vietnamese roots, one communist double agent must field the worlds of love, loyalty and war in this novel of self-exploration and belonging. Set during the Vietnam war in Los Angeles, Nguyen’s novel relays what it is really like to be Vietnamese-American.
Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate
Based on a real-life scandal, this New York Times bestseller opens on five children forced out of their home and into an adoption center where they’re later put up for sale. Almost a century later, Avery Stafford, a wealthy young woman in Aiken, South Carolina is about to uncover her family’s darkest secrets. Faced with nightmares of the past, she must find a way to redeem the family name.
The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt
Caught in the middle of a terrorist attack in a museum that only Theo escapes, he can’t go on without feeling the constant grief of his mother’s death. Having taken a painting his mother loved from the museum after the attack, Theo, now an adult, must decide the fate of the painting and the trouble he will be up against if he returns it to its rightful owner.
Everyone Brave is Forgiven by Chris Cleave
Based on true events that aren’t often talked about, this instant New York Times bestseller follows three young adults at the beginning of World War II. Mary, Alistair and Tom have all signed up to serve on the island of Malta. What awaits them is more than they ever expected in this story of love, loss and the impact of daily triumphs that keep people hopeful, perfect for fans of The Nightingale.
As Bright As Heaven by Susan Meissner
A captivating story about a mother, her daughters and the hardships they endure, As Bright As Heaven captures life in Philadelphia when the Spanish Flu plagued the nation. Just when the family thinks their grief has taken over everything, they take in a miracle child who will teach them just how great life can still be amidst catastrophic loss and disappointment.
The Baker’s Secret by Stephen P. Kiernan
In a small town in Normandy, Emma no longer believes that the allied forces will come to save her and the people in her struggling village. Knowing she has to do something, Emma makes it her duty to keep her neighbors from starving to death. Leading up to the invasion of Normandy The Baker’s Secret keeps hope alive in the form of one brave and kind girl.
The Girl Who Smiled Beads by Clemantine Wamariya and Elizabeth Weil
Clemantine was just six years old when she and her 15-year-old sister fled the Rwandan massacre. Fleeing through seven African countries over six years, the two sisters saw and endured unspeakable tragedy and cruelty before being granted refugee status in America. Clemantine ended up living a seemingly normal American life and even graduated from Yale. Clemantine wants to set her own fate and live by her own rules not be defined as a victim.
Next Year in Havana by Chanel Cleeton
A story told both in the past and present, Marisol Ferrera will travel to Havana to spread the ashes of her beloved grandmother and learn a thing or two along the way. While in Havana, Marisol will uncover secrets from her family’s past and when she meets a mysterious man who seems to be harboring his own secrets, she’ll use her knowledge of her grandmother’s past to handle the tricky love connection.
Winter Sisters by Robin Oliveira
This historical fiction read from Robin Oliveira takes place after a terrible storm in New York as two sisters have gone missing. Dr. Mary Sutter is picking up the pieces of her life when the two children of her deceased family friends go missing. Determined to find the girls, she enlists the help of her mother and niece who have come to New York for their own mysterious reasons. But when Mary digs up the truth about the girls’ whereabouts, it’ll affect the entire town in ways she never thought possible.
The Things We Cannot Say by Kelly Rimmer
Alina Dziak has always known that she would marry her childhood sweetheart, Tomasz. At fifteen, she is engaged and naive to the threats at the Polish border by Nazi soldiers. Her dreams of being married when Tomasz returns from college deteriorate little by little as the Nazi’s take hold of her village. Jumping from Nazi occupied Poland to current day, this unforgettable narrative shows the devastation that can happen when truth is silenced.
A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini
From the same author as The Kite Runner, this haunting book is about two women with different ideas about love and family, brought together by fate and war. Born a generation apart, Mariam and Laila endure the escalating dangers of Kabul, forming a kinship like mother and daughter, like sisters. Through power and suspense we see how their bond alters the course of their lives, and the next generation, ultimately showing us the power of love when it comes to survival.
Beneath a Scarlet Sky by Mark Sullivan
Pino Lella is a normal Italian teenager who wants nothing to do with the war. But when his family home in Milan is bombed, Pino joins an underground railroad to help Jews escape over the Alps, and finds himself falling for an older woman, Anna. In an attempt to protect him, his family urges him to enlist as a German soldier, where he does in fact get injured, and ends up being the driver for Hitler’s left hand, a powerful commander named General Hans Leyers. As Pino sees an opportunity to help the allied forces through spying, his love for Anna and hope for the future brings him the courage to continue his secret fight.
The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah
From the same author as The Nightingale, this book will seep into your bones and solidify like an Alaskan winter. It’s 1974 and Ernt Allbright is not the man he used to be before the Vietnam war. After making the decision to move his teenage daughter Leni and wife, Cora, to a remote corner of Alaska, they quickly find themselves unprepared for the struggles the wilderness and the cold offer. As winter approaches and Ernt’s mental state deteriorates, Cora and Leni discover the struggles outside are only part of the dangers they will face.
The Sweetness of Water by Nathan Harris
Prentiss and Landry are two brothers who have been freed due to the Emancipation Proclamation. The Walkers are husband and wife, Isabelle and George, devastated by the loss of their son during the war. Seeking relief from their ongoing grief, the couple provides refuge and work for the brothers, who plan to save up in hopes of being reunited with their mother. At the same time, two Confederate soldiers foster a forbidden love after returning home from the war. When their secret is revealed and chaos ensues on the entire community, Isabelle appears as an unexpected leader with a vision of hope.
(Feature image courtesy of @enw_reads)
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