World War Two fiction is one of the strongest genres in the CBA market, with 2015 containing some of the market’s brightest authors publishing stories set from 1939-1945. The following novels are ones from our 2015 World War Two to-read list:
Secrets of a Charmed Life by Susan Meissner
Publication Date: February 3, 2015
What it’s about: The author of A Fall of Marigolds journeys from the present day to World War II England, as two sisters are separated by the chaos of wartime …
She stood at a crossroads, half-aware that her choice would send her down a path from which there could be no turning back. But instead of two choices, she saw only one—because it was all she really wanted to see…
Current day, Oxford, England. Young American scholar Kendra Van Zant, eager to pursue her vision of a perfect life, interviews Isabel McFarland just when the elderly woman is ready to give up secrets about the war that she has kept for decades…beginning with who she really is. What Kendra receives from Isabel is both a gift and a burden–one that will test her convictions and her heart.
1940s, England. As Hitler wages an unprecedented war against London’s civilian population, hundreds of thousands of children are evacuated to foster homes in the rural countryside. But even as fifteen-year-old Emmy Downtree and her much younger sister Julia find refuge in a charming Cotswold cottage, Emmy’s burning ambition to return to the city and apprentice with a fashion designer pits her against Julia’s profound need for her sister’s presence. Acting at cross purposes just as the Luftwaffe rains down its terrible destruction, the sisters are cruelly separated, and their lives are transformed…
Why we want to read it: Marisa says, “A dual storyline set between past and present England drive this story of sisters who are separated during the London Blitz. Award-winning author Susan Meissner’s newest release is sure to captive readers with its lessons of family duty and obligation versus following one’s heart.”
A Sparrow in Terezin (Hidden Masterpiece) by Kristy Cambron
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Publication Date: April 7, 2015
What it’s about: Bound together across time, two women will discover a powerful connection through one survivor’s story of hope in the darkest days of a war-torn world.
Present Day–With the grand opening of her new art gallery and a fairy tale wedding just around the corner, Sera James feels she’s stumbled into a charmed life–until a brutal legal battle against fiancé William Hanover threatens to destroy the perfectly planned future she’s planned before it even begins. Now, after an eleventh-hour wedding ceremony and a callous arrest, William faces a decade in prison for a crime he never committed, and Sera must battle the scathing accusations that threaten her family and any hope for a future.
1942–Kája Makovsky narrowly escaped occupied Prague in 1939, and was forced to leave her half-Jewish family behind. Now a reporter for the Daily Telegraph in England, Kája
discovers the terror has followed her across the Channel in the shadowy form of the London Blitz. When she learns Jews are being exterminated by the thousands on the continent, Kája has no choice but to return to her mother city, risking her life to smuggle her family to freedom and peace.
Connecting across a century through one little girl, a Holocaust survivor with a foot in each world, these two women will discover a kinship that springs even in the darkest of times. In this tale of hope and survival, Sera and Kája must cling to the faith that sustains and fight
to protect all they hold dear–even if it means placing their own futures on the line.
Why we want to read it: Marisa and Melissa both looked forward to Kristy Cambron’s latest novel. Marisa says, “The second novel in Cambron’s Hidden Masterpiece series, A Sparrow in Terezin continues the author’s dual storylines of blending past and present with the influence of art and children during the Holocaust. One of the CBA’s breakout authors, Cambron is already a favorite of many readers of Christian historical fiction.” Melissa thinks, “The journey of someone willingly returning to Nazi occupied territory too intriguing to pass up.”
Through Waters Deep by Sarah Sundin
Publication Date: August 4, 2015
What it’s about: It is 1941 and America teeters on the brink of war. Outgoing naval officer Ensign Jim Avery escorts British convoys across the North Atlantic in a brand-new destroyer, the USS Atwood. Back on shore, Boston Navy Yard secretary Mary Stirling does her work quietly and efficiently, happy to be out of the limelight. Yet, despite her reserved nature, she never could back down from a challenge. When evidence of sabotage on the Atwood is found, Jim and Mary must work together to uncover the culprit. A bewildering maze of suspects emerges, and Mary is dismayed to find that even someone close to her is under suspicion. With the increasing pressure, Jim and Mary find that many new challenges–and dangers–await them.
Why we want to read it: It’s the first in a new series! Sara says, “I really liked her previous series, and I like the way she writes about World War II.”
Not by Sight by Kate Breslin
Publisher: Bethany House
Publication Date: August 1, 2015
What’s it about: In the spring of 1917, all of Britain’s attention is on the WWI war front and the thousands of young men serving their country on the front lines. Jack Benningham, dashing heir to the Earl of Stonebrooke, is young and able-bodied but refuses to enlist despite the contempt of his peers.
A wealthy young suffragette, Grace Mabry will do anything to assist her country’s cause. Men like Jack infuriate her when she thinks of her own brother fighting in the trenches of France, so she has no reservations about handing him a white feather of cowardice at a posh masquerade ball.
But Grace could not anticipate the danger and betrayal set into motion by her actions, and soon she and Jack are forced to learn the true meaning of courage when the war raging overseas suddenly strikes much closer to home and their fervent beliefs become a matter of life and death.
Why we want to read it: Rachel says, “Kate Breslin’s debut novel, For Such a Time, was an unputdownable retelling of the story of Esther, casting Esther as a Jew hiding her true identity while working for the SS in a Nazi concentration camp. I’m not sure if anything can top that, but Breslin’s second novel certainly looks intriguing. A conscientious objector secretly hunting down German spies? A suffragette spurred by patriotism to hand out white feathers to cowards? This pairing seems sure to make for an interesting novel. Count me in!” Also, side-note, this novel is actually set in WWI, not WWII as originally stated. But we’re still super excited about it!
Secrets She Kept by Cathy Gohlke
Publication Date: September 1, 2015
What it’s about: All her life, Hannah Sterling longed for a close relationship with her estranged mother. Following Lieselotte’s death, Hannah determines to unlock the secrets of her mother’s mysterious past and is shocked to discover a grandfather living in Germany.
Thirty years earlier, Lieselotte’s father is quickly ascending the ranks of the Nazi party, and a proper marriage for his daughter could help advance his career. Lieselotte is in love—but her beloved Lukas is far from an ideal match, as he secretly works against the Reich. Yet Lieselotte never imagined how far her father would go to ensure her cooperation.
Both Hannah’s and Lieselotte’s stories unfold as Hannah travels to Germany to meet her grandfather, who is hiding wartimes secrets of his own. Longing for connection, yet shaken by all she uncovers, Hannah must decide if she can atone for her family’s tragic past and how their legacy will shape her future.
Why we want to read it: Marisa says, “A novel of wartime secrets, romance, and family challenges, veteran author of historical novels Cathy Gohlke’s upcoming release is another one of dual storylines complimenting each other to teach readers lessons of life and love. Gohlke’s other World War Two novel, Saving Amelie, garnered much praise in 2014, so Secrets She Kept will no doubt be popular among critics and readers.”
These are some of our most anticipated WWII novels. What are some of yours?