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Topic: holocaust/WW2 Historical Fiction

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Subject: holocaust/WW2 Historical Fiction
Date Posted: 11/13/2009 10:08 AM ET
Member Since: 9/15/2005
Posts: 174
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 I    just read   Those Who Save Us   by Jenna Blum and Sarah's Key  by Tatiana De Rosnay and really enjoyed them.   Any suggestions on other similar books in this genre?       Thanks


~~~~~  Jeannie

Last Edited on: 11/13/09 10:13 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 11/13/2009 10:41 AM ET
Member Since: 8/31/2007
Posts: 482
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*flexing knuckles* This just happens to be my specialty.  My favorite HF is WWII fiction, and especially Holocaust.

Set in Russia (during the Siege of Leningrad) I highly recommend City of Thieves and The Madonnas of Leningrad.

I just finished reading A Thread of Grace, which was also excellent.  Set in WWII Italy dealing largely with Jews running from the Nazis as they start to invade Italy.

My Enemy's Cradle was interesting.  Personally, I didn't think it was amazing, but others have.  That one's set in the Netherlands and involves the Lebensborn.

Of course, if you have never read Night by Elie Wiesel, I highly suggest you do so.  Horrifyingly, it is non-fiction.

That should get you started!  I have several on my WL that you may also be interested in checking out...

Broken Jewel

Day After Night

Every Man Dies Alone

Night of Flames

Streets of Warsaw

And on my TBR...

The Kommandant's Girl


Skeletons at the Feast

The Spies of Warsaw

Suite Francaise

Date Posted: 11/13/2009 12:19 PM ET
Member Since: 7/22/2009
Posts: 2,617
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I strongly endorse Erika's recommendation of City of Thieves -- one of my favorite books!  I also enjoyed Madonnas of Leningrad.

A couple other books to consider (if you haven't already read them):

Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Shaffer and Barrows: I loved it! Written in epistolary style, it tells the story of the impact of the German occupation on a number of Guernsey inhabitants.  It's just a delightful, charming novel with interesting characters, some of whom have tragic stories and some of whom have humorous stories.

The Book Thief by Zusak: Narrated by Death, this book is a unique, powerful, and poignant look at the Holocaust. It is well worth reading.

Another book about WWII that's quite different is The Zookeeper's Wife by Ackerman. It's actually the true story of the efforts of the Warsaw Zoo director and his wife to shelter Jews and Polish resisters in their villa and zoo during the war. It wasn't one of my favorite books, but it is a fascinating story and has been rated highly by many readers.

Erika -- I'll be interested to hear what you think of Suite Francais.

Last Edited on: 11/13/09 12:20 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 11/13/2009 12:22 PM ET
Member Since: 5/27/2005
Posts: 2,438
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A top favorite for both Kelly and for me - The Book Thief by Markus Zusak. 

And another of my all-time favorites, set during WWII, but totally different from most other war novels is The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows. 



Date Posted: 11/13/2009 12:35 PM ET
Member Since: 6/1/2007
Posts: 1,899
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The Boy in the Striped Pajamas by John Boyne

Date Posted: 11/13/2009 12:40 PM ET
Member Since: 10/29/2005
Posts: 3,823
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Erika gave you a bunch of good ones! A few I've read and enjoyed:

The Siege by Helen Dunmore - Excellent novel about the Siege of Leningrad. - http://http://www.paperbackswap.com/book/details/9780802139580-The+Siege

Anya by Susan Fromberg Schaeffer -  http://www.paperbackswap.com/book/details/9780380005734-Anya

The Children's War by Monique Charlesworth - http://www.paperbackswap.com/book/details/9781400040094-The+Childrens+War

This one is N/F, but is excellent - I Remember Nothing More by Adina Blady Szwajger. It's about the Warsaw Children's Hospital and the Jewish Resistance. Adina was Jewish, but looked "Aryan" enough to pass, so she became a member of the Jewish Resistance and helped many other Jews. She's a hero! http://http://www.paperbackswap.com/book/details/9780679400349-I+REMEMBER+NOTHING+MORE

And, if after reading all of these, you find yourself needing something a bit lighter, try this one - The Wedding Officer by Anthong Capella. It's a touching story about finding love during horrible times. - http://www.paperbackswap.com/book/details/9780553591453-The+Wedding+Officer+A+Novel

I think there might still be a copy of "My Enemy's Cradle" on my shelf. I enjoyed it, but there were parts that were not very realistic for me. It was still a good, solid story though. I've been meaning to find a non-fiction book about the Lebensborn since reading this.


Date Posted: 11/13/2009 12:54 PM ET
Member Since: 7/15/2008
Posts: 4,035
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You might want to look at Rosalind Laker's This Shining Land. It's about the Nazi occupation of Norway and the resistance movement. Laker's husband was involved in the movement and my understanding is that some of the story is based on his experiences. There is a romance (it is Laker) but it's quite different from her other novels.

Date Posted: 11/13/2009 1:01 PM ET
Member Since: 12/10/2005
Posts: 2,851
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Nice list, Erika. Thank you!

I second the recommendation of Night by Elie Wiesel. I was quite pleasantly surprised one day when my daughter was about 14 or 15 to catch her reading it. I was also quite nervous as she likes to read books with difficult themes - mostly non-fiction about teenagers in trouble. Suffice it to say that I was glad I studied European history, and in particular, the Holocaust, because she had some good and difficult questions.

I didn't see Sopie's Choice on anyone's list. I think the author's name is William Styron. To the extent one can actually "like" such stories, this one is one of my favorites. But I think Jeanne has already read it.

Date Posted: 11/13/2009 2:13 PM ET
Member Since: 8/31/2007
Posts: 482
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Deb, Suite Francaise has been on my bookshelf *forever* but I haven't gotten around to reading it yet.

Cathy, Night is one of those books that I had to read in high school and have never forgotten.

Valli, My Enemy's Cradle I also think was not very realistic, and that's why I said I didn't think it was amazing.  But it was a pretty good read, so I didn't want to rule it out completely.

And actually I have The Book Thief and Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society on my WL and/or TBR.  Forgot those were WWII!

Date Posted: 11/13/2009 2:29 PM ET
Member Since: 9/19/2006
Posts: 2,940
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Guernsey is wonderful!  And if you like audio books, this is one of the best ones I've ever listened to.  There are multiple narrators and they do an absolutely fabulous job.  I can still hear the voices of the characters months after I finished the book...that sounds a little scary.  I don't usually hear voices in my head, but these have stuck with me.

Date Posted: 11/13/2009 4:37 PM ET
Member Since: 8/17/2009
Posts: 1,588
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If you have any interest in Christian fiction, you might try Brock and Bodie Thoene's Zion Covenant series.  It's starts in Germany, 1936 and moves on to other nations as the Nazis take over.  I think it ends with ... the invasion of Poland, I think?  I'm not sure.  But you watch the Holocaust build through the eyes of a handful of characters, some Jewish, others not.  Like many prolific authors, their quality has taken a big drop in the past decade or so but this was their second series, and I liked it.

Date Posted: 11/13/2009 5:20 PM ET
Member Since: 5/27/2005
Posts: 2,438
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Good remember on Boy in Striped Pajamas, Holly - an excellent book. And, I think Linda read Suite Francaise. Mom? Also, I'm not a WW II aficionado, but I'm a little surprised not to see any of the WW II books by Leon Uris listed or recommended. Any particular reason? I really enjoyed Armageddon, Mila 18, & Exodus.


P.S. - My word, Genie ... Don't know if you have finalized the choices for next year's challenge, but this sure seems to have some possibilities ...

Last Edited on: 11/13/09 10:19 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 11/15/2009 1:46 AM ET
Member Since: 11/16/2008
Posts: 3,529
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The Nazi Officer's Wife: How One Jewish Woman Survived the Holocaust :: Edith H. Beer

This is one of the best books I have ever read.  I have also read The Boy in the Striped Pajamas and it was good.  The Nai Officer's Wife, however, was awsome.  Just my opinion.

Date Posted: 11/15/2009 10:32 AM ET
Member Since: 5/3/2008
Posts: 10,824
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I have read extensively on this subject almost all of my life and the one book that really grabbed me was"Behind Enemy Lines: The True Story of a French Jewish Spy in Nazi Germany" by Marthe Cohn. Excellent book. She wrote this book at about the age of 80 and her own children didn't know what she had endured until this book came out!

Date Posted: 11/15/2009 4:17 PM ET
Member Since: 12/10/2005
Posts: 2,851
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Kelly, Nothing's ever final until the fat lady sings. LOL! We'll see. We'll see.

Date Posted: 11/17/2009 4:58 PM ET
Member Since: 8/20/2006
Posts: 1,930
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Some great recs so far. A couple of others I don't believe I saw mentioned:

The Seamstress - Sara Bernstein

In My Hands, Memories of a Holocaust Rescuer - Opdyke

All But My Life - Weissmann

Date Posted: 11/22/2009 2:21 PM ET
Member Since: 12/31/2008
Posts: 225
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My Darling Elia by Eugenie Melnyk is also very good. It is brutal and horrific as are most holocaust books but I still could not put it down.