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Hey all! I've come to pick your mind! Prompted by a class I took this past semester on 20th Century Europe, I've found myself more interested than ever in Europe from about 1914-1950 ish. Consequently, I've been grabbing pretty much every interesting looking novel based on the period that I can find. As far as Sebastian Faulkes goes, I read (and loved) Birdsong, just finished Charlotte Gray, and have The Girl at the Lion D'Or lying around here somewhere. I was wondering if any of you knowledgeable historical fiction readers out there knew of any other books and/or authors along the same lines as him? By along those lines, I mean war stories/stories based in the conflicts of this time period-preferably in Europe but I'll consider anything based in the United States too-with interesting characters and relationships, but exciting at the same time. Books with a strong love story (but NOT romance novels) are an extreme plus. I guess like war romances, like Casablanca or something. I love the atmosphere of this era and how it altered the world.
Just so there are minimum repeats, here are the books I've either read, found or have wish listed that vaguely fit what I'm talking about:
A Thread of Grace, by Mary Doria Russell
The Winds of War, by Herman Wouk
The Madonnas of Leningrad, by Debra Dean
Suite Francaise, by Irene Nemirovsky
Atonement, by Ian McEwan
Skeletons at the Feast, by Chris Bohjalian
Winter in Madrid, by C.J. Sansom
Books that take place in other European time periods but sound like they might interest me are also welcome.
Thank you so much!
It sounds like a wonderfully interesting class.
One series I like is Anne Perry's WWI. It starts one month before the war begins. Book 1 is No Graves yet. Robert K. Massie has some good books on the fall of Russian empire. Nichals and Alexandra is very good. Movie is good too.
Another book I like is All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque.
If you want something lighter but fun Elliot Roosevelt (FDR's son) wrote a series of mysteries with his mother, Elanor has the main sleuth. They are quite good. There is always one piece of history he is trying to tell about, plus some lovely background information on his parents. They are set in the 1930s. Very enjoyable but then again Elanor Roosevelt is one of my all time favorite people. I believe she would have made an awesome president..
-- prize-winning novel set in France in WWI in which woman tries to find out what happened to her fiance, officially "killed in line of duty"; a mystery, a war story, and a love story
-- English soldier returns home in 1946 after fighting in Burma and has to readjust to family and small town (first in a trilogy, followed by A Son of War and Crossing the Lines)
The English Patient by
Corelli's Mandolin by de Bernieres -- love story set on Nazi-occupied Greek island during WWII
Resistance by Shreve -- American fighter pilot shot down and sheltered by Belgian Resistance members, one of with whom he has affair
Five Quarters of the Orange by Harris - French woman moves back to village in which she grew up and which was occupied by Nazis; story moves back and forth between present time and war time in which secret of shameful war incident is eventually revealed
I second the suggestion for All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque.
If you like detective fiction, Charles Todd's character, Ian Rutledge, is an intriguing study. He was an officer in WWI. The first book, A Test of Wills, opens with him having to shoot a sargeant/corporal (I can't remember the rank.) because he wouldn't follow orders on the battlefield. This single dramatic incidence shapes the rest of his life. The first several books in the series are excellent.
Sophie's Choice remains one of my favorite books about the Holocaust. Night by Elie Wiesel is absolutely devastating. Though it's fiction, it's very much autobiographical.
Wow, thanks a bunch, you guys! Although I have read both Night and All Quiet on the Western Front, I forgot about those two. But thanks so much! Credits are slipping through my fingers...
And yes, the class was extremely interesting. I think I actually might miss it next semester!
Last Edited on: 12/28/09 8:09 PM ET - Total times edited: 1