World War II Fiction: For Fans of The Nightingale, All the Light We Cannot See, and Lilac Girls

Books like The Nightingale All the Light We Cannot See, and Lilac Girls have taken the literary world by storm. If you’ve already made your way through these instant classics and are looking for similar heartfelt, character-driven books that take place during World War II, look no further. We’ve created this list of read-alikes just for you.

Cover ImageWe Were the Lucky Ones by Georgia Hunter
Based on an inspiring true story, this novel tells the story of the Kurc family as they are separated during World War II. Though they have lived in the town of Radom, Poland their whole lives, the three generations of the Kurc family are each torn away from their home in the wake of the Nazi invasion. Despite the overwhelming odds, the Kurc family is determined to survive their many hardships, and will stop at nothing to be reunited once again.

Cover ImageThe Huntress by Kate Quinn
In this exciting story, a brave Russian bomber pilot and an emotionally scarred British journalist team up after the war to track down one of the most vicious murderers in the Nazi party: a woman known only as the Huntress. As the only person to ever escape the Huntress alive, Nina Markova knows exactly how dangerous Ian Graham’s mission to catch the murderess is. But danger has never stopped Nina before, and she isn’t about to let it start now.

Cover ImageThe Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris
Based on the true story of an Auschwitz-Birkenau survivor, this novel traces the experiences of a Jewish Slovakian named Lale Sokolov. When the Nazis at Auschwitz discover Lale can speak several languages, they make him the camp tattooist, a position he uses to secure food for his fellow prisoners. Against all odds, Lale finds love among the horrific atrocities with his fellow prisoner, Gita, and vows to make sure they both survive the camp and marry.

Cover ImageThe Lost Girls of Paris by Pam Jenoff
When the recently widowed Grace Healey finds an abandoned suitcase in Grand Central Station in 1946, she can’t help but quench her curiosity and open it. Inside, she finds pictures of twelve different women, and soon discovers that the suitcase belonged to Eleanor Trigg, the leader of of a female group of secret agents based in London during the war. None of these agents ever returned home, and Grace becomes obsessed with learning what happened to these brave women.

Cover ImageThe Things We Cannot Say by Kelly Rimmer
Told through two narratives, this book tells the story of fifteen-year-old Alina Dziak, who is separated from her beloved fiancé, Tomasz, as the Nazis invade Poland and she struggles to survive. In present day, Alice, the mother of a son living with autism, tries to help her Polish grandmother, who has just suffered a stroke, to fulfill a final wish before she passes away. Using her nonverbal son’s communication software, she is able to speak with her grandmother, who has forgotten how to speak English.

Cover ImageBeneath a Scarlet Sky by Mark Sullivan
Italian teenager Pino Lella never wanted to be involved in the war, but when his home in Milan is destroyed, he finds himself part of the conflict regardless. He first gets involved by helping Jewish refugees escape through the Alps, and later is forced to enlist in the German army by his parents. As the driver for Hitler’s right hand man, Pino takes on the dangerous task of smuggling information to the Allied forces, doing whatever he can to undermine the Nazi forces from the inside.

Cover ImageThe Ragged Edge of Night by Olivia Hawker
In Nazi Germany, former friar Anton Starzmann is forced to relocate to a small German hamlet when his school is seized and he is stripped of his title. While there, he meets and marries Elisabeth Herter, a widow desperate for a partner to help raise her three children. But just as Anton begins to settle into the role of husband and father, war creeps closer and closer. Now, Anton must decide whether he will once again sit idly by as the Nazis sweep in, or stand up and fight for the people he loves.

Cover ImageThe Only Woman in the Room by Marie Benedict
Marie Benedict’s new novel tells the incredible true story of actress and inventor Hedy Lamarr, who was born in Austria as Hedwig Keisler. Known universally as a great beauty, Lamarr fled her abusive husband, an Austrian arms dealer with ties to Nazi Germany, in 1937. She moved to the United States, where she became an acclaimed film actress and invented a revolutionary system for radio guidance, elements of which are still used in modern Wi-Fi and bluetooth technology.

Cover ImageEveryone Brave is Forgiven by Chris Cleave
This war drama loosely based on Cleave’s grandparents tells the story of three friends living in London during World War II. Mary and Tom work together at a school, and are also romantically involved. When Mary’s class is evacuated, she stays behind to teach the underprivileged students who were not granted that safety. Meanwhile, Tom’s roommate Alistair joins the army, and he and Mary begin to fall deeply in love, despite both of their loyalties to Tom.

Cover ImageThe Invisible Bridge by Julie Orringer
In this novel, Julie Orringer tells the touching story of a Jewish architect from Hungary whose life, along with those of his family, are forever changed by the upcoming war. Andras is the middle brother, and the lack of architectural opportunity in Hungary sends him to Paris to study before the war starts. There, as the world inches closer to catastrophe, Andras falls in love, and must fight against the rising violence and anti-Semitism around him.

Cover ImageResistance Women by Jennifer Chiaverini
Resistance Women tells the real story of Mildred Fish-Harnack, who moved to Germany in 1929 after marrying the charming German economist Arvid Harnack. Though she and her husband made many great friends, the situation in Germany grew increasingly dire, with the nearly unstoppable rise of the Third Reich. Not willing to be a bystander to the Nazi party, Mildred and her husband created the Red Orchestra, a group determined to bring down Hitler’s regime from within Germany.