This August marks World War One’s Centennial. I’ve always been fascinated by both world wars, and it’s impossible not to see how both events have influenced fiction. I remember reading Richard Adams’ Watership Down as a kid and having my teacher point out to me the comparison to WWII; the same goes for The Hobbit. I’ve always loved making those kind of connections in my reading, and to date, I’ve probably read much more fiction related to the second world war than the first. However, with the centennial year here, there has been explosion of WWI fiction. Today’s top 10 is my Great War reading list. As usual for me, it’s a mix of the serious and lighthearted. I like the books that take a hard look at the war, especially the aftermath, but I also want some that show the happily-ever-after for those affected. Without further ado, here’s my wartime reading list in no particular order:
I read this stunning novel not too long ago and it’s one that resonated and stayed with me ever since. I loved the intertwining tales of three different women and how it contrasted with the journey of the Unknown Warrior as it made it’s way to London. For my full thoughts on this one check out my review.
Somewhere in France by Jennifer Robson
This one takes you right to the front lines of France where a young woman is determined to do her part as an ambulance driver. I loved this one. It was realistic and it had a sweet romance. I also had the chance to meet the author at the Ontario Library Association’s Superconference, so I may be a bit biased! For more gushing on this one, check out my review.
Three Day Road by Joseph Boyden
This was the first book by Boyden that I’ve read and it was a such a great depiction of the war. What I find really appealing about WWI fiction is the exploration of what happens after the war. In this one, Boyden contrasts what happens during the war with the return home. This one is also a bit unusual as it focuses on two Native soldiers.
Silence for the Dead by Simone St. James
So far most of St. James’ books have included some specter of the war; however, this one in particular focused on the soldiers that returned home who have been placed in a home for the damaged. I love how the author has used ghosts as a literal haunting to show the affects of the war for those that came home.
Overseas by Beatriz Williams
This is one of the lighter books on this list and it’s one that involves time travel. It’s a good choice if you don’t want to get too bogged down in war details but still want some wartime atmosphere.
Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld
This is the only alternative history book that I have on my list, and it’s because Westerfeld has done such a great job of bringing the war to life for young adult readers. There’s history and there’s adventure (and girls in disguise!); I highly recommend this one if you’re a fan of steampunk.
Deafening by Frances Itani
I just picked this title up at a used bookstore and I’m quite eager to read it. Not only does it feature the war, but it’s heroine is deaf – I sense a metaphor. It’s a title that’s come up on a number of reading lists about the great war.
1919: After the War by Margeaux Otis
This one came on my radar after hearing about it on Heroes and Heartbreakers as an romance outside of the norm. I haven’t read it yet, but I want to! It’s another one that tackles the adjustment to life after coming home from the war.
Saving the Rifleman by Julie Rowe
This is more of your standard romance fare set in during the Great War. The author has an entire series, but I’d recommend you start with book one. Like Overseas, this is a good read if you’re looking for wartime atmosphere with your romance.
The Walnut Tree by Charles Todd
I’ve been meaning to read a Charles Todd book forever, but I’m especially intrigued by The Walnut Tree since it seems to be quite similar to Somewhere in France. I also chose this one for my list since it can be read as a standalone. Charles Todd has also written two other series featuring characters affected by the war and I think this one is a good choice if you don’t want to become invested in a series.
That’s is from me! What are your WWI reads???