Link to our Facebook Page
Link to our Instagram Page
Link to our X Page
Link to our Youtube Page

World War II Era (Mostly) Fiction


World War II Era (Mostly) Fiction
Gere Branch, February 25, 2013
Fay M.

Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet [2009] by Jamie Ford [Ford]

Ford’s debut concerns Henry Lee, a Chinese-American in Seattle who, in 1986, has just lost his wife to cancer. After Henry hears that the belongings of Japanese immigrants interned during WWII have been found in the basement of the Panama Hotel, the narrative shuttles between 1986 and the 1940s in a story that chronicles the losses of old age and the bewilderment of youth. Henry recalls the difficulties of life in America during WWII, when he and his Japanese-American school friend, Keiko, wandered through wartime Seattle. Keiko and her family are later interned in a camp, and Henry, horrified by America’s anti-Japanese hysteria…

Sarah’s Key [2007] by Tatiana de Rosnay [Rosnay]

Paris, July 1942: Sarah, a ten-year-old girl, is taken with her parents by the French police as they go door to door arresting Jewish families in the middle of the night. Desperate to protect her younger brother, Sarah locks him in a bedroom cupboard-their secret hiding place-and promises to come back for him as soon as they are released. Sixty Years Later: Sarah’s story intertwines with that of Julia Jarmond, an American journalist investigating the roundup. In her research, Julia stumbles onto a trail of secrets that link her to Sarah, and to questions about her own future.

Number the Stars [1989] by Lois Lowry [j Lowry]

A ten-year-old Danish girl’s bravery is tested when her best friend is threatened by Nazis in 1943. “The whole work is seamless, compelling, and memorable — impossible to put down; difficult to forget.” — Horn Book. In 1943, during the German occupation of Denmark, ten-year-old Annemarie learns how to be brave and courageous when she helps shelter her Jewish friends from the Nazis.

The Book Thief [2006] by Markus Zusak [Zusak or YA Zusak]

It’s just a small story really, about among other things: a girl, some words, an accordionist, some fanatical Germans, a Jewish fist-fighter, and quite a lot of thievery… Set during World War II in Germany, Markus Zusak’s groundbreaking new novel is the story of Liesel Meminger, a foster girl living outside of Munich. Liesel scratches out a meager existence for herself by stealing when she encounters something she can’t resist-books. With the help of her accordion-playing foster father, she learns to read and shares her stolen books with her neighbors during bombing raids as well as with the Jewish man hidden in her basement before he is marched to Dachau.

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society [2008] by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows [Shaffer]

From Bookmarks Magazine: “Traditional without seeming stale, and romantic without being naïve” (San Francisco Chronicle), this epistolary novel, based on Mary Ann Shaffer’s painstaking, lifelong research, is a homage to booklovers and a nostalgic portrayal of an era. As her quirky, loveable characters cite the works of Shakespeare, Austen, and the Brontës, Shaffer subtly weaves those writers’ themes into her own narrative. However, it is the tragic stories of life under Nazi occupation that animate the novel and give it its urgency; furthermore, the novel explores the darker side of human nature without becoming maudlin. The Rocky Mountain News criticized the novel’s lighthearted tone and characterizations, but most critics agreed that, with its humor and optimism, Guernsey “affirms the power of books to nourish people during hard times” (Washington Post). Copyright 2008 Bookmarks Publishing LLC

Seven Men at Daybreak [1960] by Alan Burgess [ non-fiction — not currently owned by the Lincoln City Libraries ]

In December 1941 the British Air Force dropped Czech parachutists so they could provide communication with London and resist Nazi rule by sabotage and working with the resistance. Most of the chapters tell of their events in Bohemia-Moravia, and the plans to strike at Heydrich, the top Nazi leader. Heydrich used the carrot-and-stick approach to increase war production. The arrests and executions put fear and hatred into the minds of the Czechs. Some sympathized and collaborated with the Nazis. Two of the parachutists turned traitor, and this led to the successful attempt to capture the hidden parachutists. The assassination of Heydrich was rare good news in the summer of 1942. The resulting retribution and reprisals were horrible: mass executions of people for vengeance.

Prague Fatale [2011] by Philip Kerr [Kerr]

September 1941: Reinhard Heydrich is hosting a gathering to celebrate his appointment as Reichsprotector of Czechoslovakia. He has chosen his guests with care. All are high-ranking Party members and each is a suspect in a crime as yet to be committed: the murder of Heydrich himself. Indeed, a murder does occur, but the victim is a young adjutant on Heydrich’s staff, found dead in his room, the door and windows bolted from the inside. Anticipating foul play, Heydrich had already ordered Bernie Gunther to Prague. After more than a decade in Berlin’s Kripo, Bernie had jumped ship as the Nazis came to power, setting himself up as a private detective. But Heydrich, who managed to subsume Kripo into his own SS operations, has forced Bernie back to police work. Now, searching for the killer, Gunther must pick through the lives of some of the Reich’s most odious officials. A perfect locked-room mystery. But because Philip Kerr is a master of the sleight of hand, Prague Fatale is also a tense political thriller: a complex tale of spies, partisan terrorists, vicious infighting, and a turncoat traitor situated in the upper reaches of the Third Reich.

Mr. Rosenblum Dreams in English [2011] by Natasha Solomons [Solomons]

At the outset of World War II, Jack Rosenblum and his family escape Berlin for London. Jack embraces the welcome pamphlet instructing immigrants how to act like “the English.” He acquires Saville Row suits and a Jaguar. He never speaks German, apart from the occasional curse. But one key item-membership in a golf club-remains elusive. So Jack hatches a wild idea: he’ll build his own. Jack’s wife, Sadie, does not share this obsession. She wants to cook her mother’s recipes and…

Other Possibilities…

Cornhusker Dreams [2007-08] by Cara Putman [Putman]

Louise’s War [2011] by Sara R. Shaber [Shaber]

Fire When Ready [2004] by Kate Kingsbury [Kingsbury]