5 Must-Read World War II Novels for D-Day

To remember how D-Day impacted the world we live in today, we are giving you five must-read historical fiction books set in during World War II.

Fiction Historical Fiction On This Day

It is D-Day! If you’re a World War II history buff, then you probably already know what D-Day is. If not, D-Day was one of the most important events of World War II. Also known as Operation Overlord, D-Day was when over 150,000 British, American and Canadian troops stormed the beaches of Normandy. This operation was one of the largest amphibious attacks in military history. The Battle of Normandy lasted from June 1944 to August 1944, and was the beginning of the end to Nazi German control of Western Europe. 

 

 

To remember this day in history, we are giving you five historical fiction books set during World War II.

  

All The Light We Cannot See 

 

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All The Light We Cannot See is a gorgeous historical fiction book by Anthony Doerr. This novel is about Marie-Laure, a blind young girl living in Paris with her father while he works at the Museum of Natural History. When the Nazi occupation of France begins, Marie and her father move to Saint-Malo, carrying with him a precious jewel from the museum. Meanwhile in Germany, a boy named Warner is a technologically savvy orphan whose skills earn him a spot for a mission to track the resistance to the Nazi occupation.  Undeceived by the role that the Nazi’s play in the war, Warner takes on a path to see the war for himself, which is also where he crosses paths with Marie. All The Light We Cannot See won a Pulitzer Prize in Fiction and spent more than 100 weeks on the New York Times Bestseller list. 

 

The Nightingale

 

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The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah is another New York Times Bestseller World War II novel. In France near the beginning of World War II, Vianne’s husband, Antoine, leaves for the Western Front. When the Nazis invade France, Vianne goes through extreme lengths to keep her family alive and safe, which becomes especially difficult when Nazi soldiers appropriate her home. The story also follows Vianne’s younger sister, Isabelle, who falls madly in love with Gaëtan, a French partisan. Isabelle joins the French resistance where she becomes a target for Nazi intelligence. The Nightingale is a novel that gives the perspective of the life that women faced on the home front, and how it was truly a war of their own. 

 

 

the Book Thief

 

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The Book Thief is a historical fiction novel by Markus Zusak narrated by Death. The story follows a young girl named Liesel in Nazi Germany. Following the death of her younger brother, Liesel goes to live with a foster family which is where her love for reading (and stealing) banned books begins. As World War II worsens, Liesel starts to understand the terrible actions of the Nazi regime as her foster family hides a Jewish man named Max in their basement. Throughout the entire story, Death weaves its way in and out of Liesel’s life. The Book Thief discusses the horrors of the Nazi regime and the importance of books in understanding the world around us. This book is an international bestseller, selling over 10 million copies around the world. 

 

The City of Thieves 

 

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The City of Thieves by David Benioff is a chilling World War II novel set during the Siege of Leningrad. The story starts in 1942 with Lev, a Jewish 17-year-old from Russia. With his father taken by the NKVD and his mother and sister having fled the city, Lev is left to fend for himself during the brutal siege by Nazi Germany. When Lev is arrested along with Kolya, a soldier who deserted his unit, the two are given an ultimatum by an NKVD colonel. Lev and Kolya must find a dozen eggs for the colonel’s wife in the starving city or they will be executed. The two go on an unpredictable journey to complete this hopeless task for a shot at survival and freedom. The City of Thieves was also cited as major inspiration for The Last of Us video game. 

 

The Most Precious of Cargoes 

 

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The Most Precious of Cargoes by Jean-Claude Grumberg is unlike any story that you’ve read about the Holocaust. This story is about the lengths that parents will go through to protect their children. In The Most Precious of Cargoes, a husband and wife are jammed into a train to a concentration camp with their twin babies. The father makes a final decision to throw one baby out the window of the moving train. A woman foraging for food finds the baby, knowing that caring for it will bring danger, and takes care of it as her own. The story is written as a fable or fairytale which strongly contrasts against the heinous terror of the Holocaust.

Remember this D-Day by reading up on some historical fiction novels from this time period. This portion of world history has completely shaped the world we live in today, so why not get lost in a book to understand what life was like before?

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