BTW, the usual favorites of course, are on here (like that one to the left, and of course The Bronze Horseman and Outlander – and by this point, I’m sure most of us have devoured them). But I promise you there are a TON more recommendations below (many that are new-to-me) and sound AMAZING!!!!!!
Lorna: Do you have any recommendation for a historical fiction?I just finished The Nightingale and it was such a good book. Now I am on a WWII/ historical fiction kick!
Maryse: I do have a category called “war time” and most of it pertains to historical fiction. I need to expand on this section!! 😀 https://www.maryse.net/tag/war-time. We also created this super-short list back in 2015.
But let’s do even better than that!! Your favorite WAR-TIME historical romance (or just war-time historical fiction) books? Let me know.
P.S. Mine is The Nightingale. 🙂
Maryse: YESSSSS!!!! I’ve reviewed the first two (and LOVED!!), but I haven’t read Overseas yet. Thank you!! P.S. Here’s my 5-STAR Book Review of The Bronze Horseman and my 4.5-STAR Book Review of Outlander.
Jessica: The Bronze Horseman is by far my favorite book of all time… and I’ve recommended it to literally all of my past and present co-workers and customers!
MichelleS: I am surprised how many people haven’t read Bronze Horseman. One of my all time favorites. …I know, I know… it feels like it would be crazy heavy (WWII in Leningrad) and long (3 books)… and it is… but it is sooooo worth it. An amazing love story. One of THE best, IMHO. It is so satisfying because the three books span their lifetime, so you get their ENTIRE story. How often do we get that? This is like book one plus the longest epilogue ever!!!
MichelleS: …why I loved it – so well written, and I just connected with these two people. He’s dark and not exactly always nice, but that “protector” you can’t help but fall in love with. She’s such a likable heroine. It spans their lifetime, which I LOVE. And then there’s the angst. …The WWII aspect didn’t bother me at all… just provided a back drop to their suffering in Leningrad.
Lauren: Does Tatiana and the Bronze Horseman count? Favorite book of all time!! Epic!!
Heidi: The Bronze Horseman Loved it!
Mary Ann: yesssss!!!
Nancy: Remember how Outlander started!
Maryse: EXACTLY right!!!!
Michelle F: I completely agree with the recommendation of the Bronze Horseman. That series is EPIC!!! It’s one of my all time favorites, probably a close second behind the Outlander series. I love that the Bronze Horseman trilogy spans so many years so you get such a deep journey through both characters. It’s beautiful and heartbreaking and everything in between. …So well written. No matter what stage of their relationship, where they were at as individuals or as a couple, I always felt connected to them. Their story and love was epic.
Kim: The Bronze Horseman is my absolute favorite read of all times… If you haven’t read Lone Star by the same author you need to ASAP! Please try to avoid any and all spoilers and just trust that it’s a must read if you were a fan of her other stuff. 🙂
Teresa: For American readers, I would recommend Five Quarters of an orange by Johanna Harris, the woman who wrote Chocolat, for the “book set in another country” it’s set in the UK during WWII. It is unforgettable. Also Chocolat will do. I love this author. All 4-5 reads
Jessica: If you haven’t already read the Tea Rose trilogy by Jennifer Donnelly, I highly recommend those!! Another historical romance, but a lot of action and woman power!!
Melinda: I gave it to my sister in law to read and she could stop raving how good it was.
Hock: My all time favs: The Bronze Horseman and The Tea Rose
Sofia: M/M historicals can be soooooo good. Aleksandr Voinov and LA Witt in particular: Broken Blades is WWII, and un-put-downable.
Allison: Amy Harmon- From Sand and Ash.
Jean: Just finished From Sand and Ash! Great book! Definite 5 star read for me!
R. Renee: Amy Harmon finally got the mushy love letter I wrote her after From Sand and Ash 😀 It’s going to get awkward if I have to write her another one for this book… …My bowling captain wants to borrow my signed copy of From Sand and Ash. BAHAHAHAAAA! No.
Megan: I’m currently reading the most wonderful books by Amy Harmon (From Sand and Ashes, What the Wind Knows (a bit of “Outlander-type” time-travel here!) …These last few I’ve read have been easy reading, but deeply thought-provoking. A nice change, and they feed my book-lovin’ soul… 😜
Michele S: I did finish What the Wind Knows by Amy Harmon and LOVED IT. It had that Outlander feel, except only ONE BOOK. Woohoo. …it’s the kind of book you savor…
Mona: I loved What the Wind Knows!! I’d read and think, I’ll just finish this chapter, but then get pulled in and have to read another and then another… well, you get the idea.
Michele G: I clicked What the Wind Knows so fast! I’ve been dying to read it – – the cover alone is simply amazing! So excited!
Tasha J: So I finally decided what to read and went ahead and finished Salt to the Sea. Highly, highly recommend! I had gotten this as an audio book with the free trial, it was the best book out of samples I had tried to really ‘catch my ear’, lol.
…So though I really liked the first quarter, I walked away as it turned out to be too difficult to really listen. Well I was in an indecisive slump and committed to finishing, and so through a couple naps and bedtime, I finished. And I’m so glad I went back, it was a great book and once I got in the rythm of it, I was enthralled. It’s told from 4 different narratives, Florian, Emilia, Joana, and Alfred. And in the audio book, 4 different voices, which I thought was cool. Set in the WWII era, there’s heartbreak, tragedy, a bit of romance, secrets, and friendships. My only complaint was it was a bit of an abrupt ending. Though you get closure, I would have liked to see a little more of how they got there.
Tasha J: I finished my first book of the year, The Circus Train. I’d probably give it 4 stars. Historical fiction, especially WWII era, always has me tense reading it. This one was a little easier on me. A new to me setting on a luxurious traveling circus train.
Jennifer: It crosses present and past but I’m including it. The Things We Leave Unfinished by Rebecca Yarros
Kolleen: The things we leave unfinished
Joanne: The Alice Network by Kate Quinn
Harper: Some of my favorites authors are … Kate Quinn (The Alice Network), Kristin Hannah (The Nightingale- it will be a movie very soon with Dakota and Elle Fanning)…
Bernadette: The Mistress of the Ritz
Nadine: North and South by John Jakes
Michelle: North and South is one of my favorites of all time in that genre.
Kim: Favorite book in my collection… Crap it’s hard to pick just one… Might have to be my very well worn, taped back together paperback of North and South..
Melissa: I’ve read a few of Shari J. Ryan’s books and loved them
Lena: The Nightingale!
Maryse: Agreed! This one had me on the edge of my seat, at times!! Here’s my 5-star book review. So much emotion and so amazing.
Linda: What took me so long to read The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah??!! Oh my heart!!!
I’ve got to choose a lighter read next!! Such a book hangover!!! She is a wonderful storyteller!! Yes I’m ALL over the place all up in my feelings right now.
Kim: I am not the biggest fan of historical fiction because they are sometimes very long winded but The Nightingale was compelling from page 1.
Harper: The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah? Is one of my top 5 books about the WWII.
Nay: I finished the audio book of The Nightingale and it was FABULOUS! I was trying to tell hubs about the book when I finished it, and I couldn’t even talk because I was crying so hard!
Patricia: The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah. I couldn’t put the book down and was teary-eyed in the end.
R. Renee: The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah… READ THIS BOOK!! The Nightingale is the only WWII fiction I’ve read and I loved it.
Anna: Nightingale Kristin Hannah- Historical fiction WWII. This was an ugly cry book.
Michelle F: I also listened to the Nightingale audio book a few months ago. It’s beautifully written and quite moving. The story really demonstrates how crucial women were during WWII and showcases their enduring strength and bravery.
MichelleS: All I read was 5 stars.. blah blah blah….. WWII…. blah blah blah …. sisters….. and…. SOLD….
Michelle: Morning Glory! One of my favorite historical romances as well 😀 It’s a very ‘real’ story that doesn’t shy from the hard edges and of course a 1940s wartime America sets a daunting backdrop. I remember reading it when I was into the more swoony historicals with the dominant heroes and it just was a breathe of fresh air. It was all about the characters – Will and Elly with their shared vulnerability, loneliness, and simple, humbling passion…
Mony: Thanks for the Spencer titles – read Morning Glory and loved it.
Linda: …read Morning Glory by same author and it was an amazing read. Loved it.
Skye: Morning Glory by Spencer is my favorite book ever. Ex-con, reclusive woman, marriage of convenience, so epic!! …Will is my ultimate book boyfriend, forever and ever ❤️
Yash: Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell is the truly a masterpiece. It primarily focus on a character Scarlett O’Hara, a southern belle who starts her life on a sprawling plantation and as the story goes, we see her hardships, her survival through the tragic history of the South during the Civil War and Reconstruction.
Harper: Based on a true story. Another brave lady that fought during WWII.
Ellen: I have gotten into a very unlikely romance novel. Based in WWII, and on a true story. 2 Families fleeing the war and finding love in the process against all the tragedy that was WWII. It’s very good. Thrown Upon The World by George Kolber, thrownupontheworld.com for the book site. I didn’t think it was going to be as good as it is, well worth it.
Tasha J: Mischling by Affinity Konar… I had been on my library waiting list for this one for a loooong time and when it finally came in, I didn’t think I was in the mood for a World War II book. I figured it would be really good and of course heartbreaking but I didn’t think I was ready to endure that emotionally and honestly didn’t remember what exactly it was about.
So I decided to just try it out and take the plunge since, after all, I had really wanted to read it for a while. Well I am so glad I did! I was sucked in from the beginning and the writing was so beautiful and different I think from any WWII book that I have read.
I have no idea how to describe it really, I believe I read 1 review that had used the word “lyrical” and that was pretty on point for me. And yes, it was heartbreaking but also full of so much hope.
And quite a bit of fantasy maybe as it’s told from the point of view of 2 young twin girls brought to Auschwitz where Mengele was known to have done unspeakable crimes and experiments on twins. Stasha and Pearl made such a huge impression on me and I’ll truly miss reading their story, even though they’re fictional. 😉 I finished this book probably about a week ago and haven’t been able to get into anything since.
Marina: Ahhhh, great category, war romance. …I recently read All the Light We Cannot See which has some romance. Maybe not as swoony as the others but it’s really unique and beautiful.
Another I absolutely LOVED but can’t remember if there is romance but it’s just so, SO good is City of Thieves by David Benioff (creator/producer of Game of Thrones). Oh to read The Bronze Horseman and Vanguard for the first time again… I’ll definitely come back to this list for recs. Thanks for posting!!
Teri: I just finished Anthony Doerr’s “All The Light We Cannot See”. A brilliant novel but it’s a war story and we all know how war stories go. Which is why I normally avoid them.! So now to have some fun and release the melancholy that book left me with.
bev: Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein. YA WWII. Supposedly rips your heart out (gulp) but lots love it.
Jackie: code Name verity- … excellent.
Jennifer: Reading Unbroken now…the stuff those soldiers went through in WWII…unbelievable!
bev: Jennifer, Unbroken is AMAZING. Great book.& writing, (loved Seabiscuit) unbelievable story. There are parts of that story I’ll not forget. Have you read Flags of our Fathers? That was a good read too.
bev: Sawbones by Melissa Lenhardt …I’m reading Sawbones next–supposed to be pretty gritty.
Jan: Sawbones, huh? ‘Outlander meets post-Civil War unrest’ claims the blurb. I’m officially intrigued.
bev: I’m enjoying this one. The historical details are interesting, but can be hard to read the historical attitudes towards certain segments of the population. I do think her for shadowing can be too heavy, though in one instance it tipped me off I was still shocked at the magnitude of the incident.
Lauren: What about The Tattooist of Auschwitz?
Janie: Please keep adding to this list!!!! It’s my favorite genre! Here are some of the ones I’ve read the last couple weeks:
- The Huntress by Kate Quinn (5 stars)
- The Diamond Eye by Kate Quinn (5 stars)
- The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah (4.5 stars)
Janie: The ones by Kate Quinn and Kristin Hannah are my favorites.
Janie: The Pam Jeanoff ones are decent; just easy to read, fun entertainment.
- The Paris Library by Janet Skeslien Charles (3 stars)
- The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris (2.5 stars)
- Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys (3 stars)
- Our Woman in Moscow by Beartriz Williams (2.5 stars)
- Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys (3.5 stars)
I have a ton more historical fiction on my radar that I want to read, though I’m not sure all of them are primarily romance. Let me know if you want to know what’s on my list!
Anne: Beneath a Scarlet Sky by Mark Sullivan is an amazing read that fits this category!! You won’t be able to put it down. There is definitely romance. One of the best that I have read.
Tasha J: Lilac Girls
➔➔➔ Looking for more of our favorite recommendations? Browse our “Ultimate Favorites Lists” here. Are you in the mood for a certain kind of story? Browse our favorite “genre/trope categories” here and our reader favorites lists too.