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Wartime Novels?

(77 Posts)
tethersend Thu 21-Mar-13 23:49:53

Set in Germany?

Or England?

Or anywhere?

Have just finished the good-in-parts-but-overall-grindingly-disappointing Dominion by C J Sansom and it's left me wanting something better. Have had a bash at Fatherland by Robert Harris, but it's not really doing it for me either.

Has anyone read anything good which would fit my apparently narrow field of interest?

LittleBoxes Fri 22-Mar-13 13:20:03

The Fortunes of War books by Olivia Manning. There's the Balkan Trilogy and the Levant Trilogy. Brilliant books you can immerse yourself in.

Matsikula Fri 22-Mar-13 13:43:34

Tin Drum by Gunter Grass? Pretty divisive book, but it's definitely not fluffy.

Not a novel, but very readable memoirs - My Past Is Myself by Christabel Bielenberg, who was a British woman married to a German anti-Nazi.

Not strictly relevant but I recently saw a film called Lore which was set in the immediate aftermath of the war, based on a book called the Dark
Room by Rachel Seifert. haven't read the book but I really enjoyed the film.

the Reader is also good, but I think it was a bit over-hyped (mind you, I didn't think Birdsong was that great, not a patch on Regeneration).

oh, also, blackly comic rather than fluffy - the Sword of Honour Trilogy by Evelyn Waugh.

GeorginaWorsley Fri 22-Mar-13 21:37:09

John Lawton's Troy series,set before during and after WW2
Alan Furst writes spy thrillers set in 1930's and 1940's
I recently read Kate Morton's The Secret Keeper which was good
The Devil's Handshake by Murray Davies,set in Bavaria
Under an English Heaven by Robert Radcliffe
Tim Binding's An Island Madness and Guy Walter's The Occupation,both about the Channel ISlands

Can you guess I love this era grin

BestIsWest Fri 22-Mar-13 21:54:34

Talking of the Channel Islands, The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Schaffer.

Cremolafoam Fri 22-Mar-13 23:01:42

Oh and Agent Zigzag, Ben macintyres book about spies ( starts off in Jersey)

careergirl Sat 23-Mar-13 15:49:33

Night Sky by Clare Francis. In fact I want to re-read that some time since I did and I was absorbed by it.

Ilovemyteddy Sun 24-Mar-13 13:39:43

Following on from the Channel Islands theme, I really enjoyed The Collaborator by Margaret Leroy. And, not Channel Islands, but The Postmistress by Sarah Blake was also good.

ninjanurse Sun 24-Mar-13 18:17:27

Jackdaws by Ken Follett - female allied spies parachuting into Nazi occupied France

Waswondering Sun 24-Mar-13 18:21:45

A town like Alice by Neville Shute .... Set in Pacific war then Australia. I really, really enjoyed that one.

Second Coming Home ... More airport fiction, that, but very good.

Also I got one about the land girls - that may have been the title - as a bargain on the kindle.


DuchessofMalfi Sun 24-Mar-13 18:53:21

The Book of Ebenezer le Page by G B Edwards. It's mainly about an old man's recollections of life on the island of Guernsey, stretching from the Boer War when he was a child through to his old age, but he lives through the German occupation of Guernsey. It's not wholly about WW2 but is covered.

Also, I can't see whether anyone's already mentioned Fair Stood The Wind For France by H E Bates. As far as I can recall it's about a wounded airman in occupied France, trying to escape back to England and avoids capture by hiding out in a farmhouse, helped by the family who live there.

LadyIsabellaWrotham Sun 24-Mar-13 18:56:53

Black Out and All Clear by Connie Willis - time travel in the Blitz. Divides opinion, but I enjoyed them.

GeorginaWorsley Mon 25-Mar-13 21:42:53

Ooh Duchess I loved the Ebenezer Le Page book.

CaipirinhasAllRound Mon 25-Mar-13 23:14:54

I'm surprised no-one's mentioned The Book Thief - brilliant, especially if you like a book that makes you cry

Cremolafoam Tue 26-Mar-13 14:04:05

Oh of course - somehow thought it had been mentioned alreadyshock

AnonymousBird Tue 26-Mar-13 14:06:50

William Boyd - Restless.

Pollaidh Tue 26-Mar-13 14:23:29

Pat Barker's trilogy
Eveleyn Waugh's Sword of Honour trilogy all excellent.
The Welsh Girl
Making History - Stephen Fry (brilliant, part history and part future)
The Morning Gift - Eva Ibbotson (quite light but a good read)
The Biggles books!
A Little Love Song and Goodnight Mr Tom (Michelle Magorian, children's books but excellent)
John Buchan's Richard Hannay books (39 Step, Greenmantle, Mr Standfast) are great fun, set just pre-1914, and during WWI.
Richard Evan's 3 non-fiction books setting out how the Nazis came to power, and WWII are fascinating and really well written and researched.
Catch 22 - Joseph Heller, funny and bleak, absolute classic.

mimbleandlittlemy Wed 27-Mar-13 17:09:45

As well as all the above, Olivia Manning's two trilogies which form Fortunes of War - The Balkan Trilogy and The Levant Trilogy - are wonderful reads and will keep you going for a day or two. BBC adapted them brilliantly about 25 years ago back in the days when both Emma Thompson and Kenneth Brannagh were young and so was I.

There's also Island Madness by Tim Binding about the German occupation of the Channel Islands which is excellent.

highlandcoo Mon 01-Apr-13 07:02:34

Loads of good suggestions above - I love this period too. Just a couple to add:

I enjoyed 22 Britannia Road by Amanda Hodgkinson. Set in 1946 and deals with a family reunited after being separated for 6 years during the war.

Nourishment by Gerard Woodward has a similar theme but with more black humour - quite a quirky read.

mimbleandlittlemy Wed 03-Apr-13 11:24:37

Just finished the new Kate Atkinson, Life After Life, and that has a great chunk set in WW2, from angles not normally explored too.

mixedmamameansbusiness Wed 10-Apr-13 16:37:28

The English German Girl - words fail me, it is just beautiful.

highlandcoo Wed 10-Apr-13 19:43:24

Just checked out The English German Girl on Amazon, mixedmama and put it on my wish list. Thanks for the recommendation.

If you'd like to read another novel with a similar theme, try Far To Go by Alison Pick, which also deals with the Kindertransport. We read it for our book group and then linked up with the author on Skype for a Q&A session. She had become a mum after completing the book and said she would have found it much harder to write had she already had children. The scenes at the railway station were pretty heart-wrenching I recall.

SnowWoman Wed 10-Apr-13 19:51:28

I loved Stones from the River by Ursula Hegi.

mixedmamameansbusiness Wed 10-Apr-13 21:31:49

Highland coo wil add that right now. I read extensively on the Holocaust in a non FIC capacity so fiction around this theme is terribly hard to read but so interesting.

mayaswell Thu 11-Apr-13 14:58:29

Charlotte Grey by Sebastian Faulks.

marissab Fri 12-Apr-13 15:32:55

Has anyone recommended maus? It's a graphic nobel that is beyond amazing. It's a mouse asking his grandfather about his war experiences and it's accounts of life for jews and life in concentraion camps is amazing couples with the vivid images. Truely excellent.

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