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Monday, April 30, 2018

Historical Fiction: World War II

            Although the war ended more than seventy years ago, novels depicting this time are relevant in today’s society.

            The Paris Architect, written by Charles Belfoure, is the story of a Parisian architect who is paid handsomely to devise secret hiding spaces for Jews in his Nazi-occupied country but struggles with risking his life for a cause towards which he is ambivalent. A personal failure brings their suffering home.

            Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet, written by Jamie Ford, finds a present-day Henry Lee looking back at his youth in Seattle during World War II, when artifacts from Japanese families sent to internment camps are uncovered, reminding him of the young girl Keiko he met at that time.

            The Nightingale, written by Kristin Hannah, finds two French sisters reunited when the elder’s husband is sent to fight in World War II. Vianne and Isabelle find their bond and their respective beliefs tested by a world that changes in horrific ways.

            Lilac Girls, written by Martha Hall Kelly, tells the story of three women whose lives converge at the Ravensbreuck concentration camp as one resolves to help from her post at the French consulate, one becomes a courier in the Polish resistance, and one takes a German government medical position.

            A Thread of Grace, written by Mary Doria Russell, is about Claudette Blum, a fourteen-year-old, and her father. They are fleeing across the Alps into Italy with thousands of other Jewish refugees seeking safety, only to find an open battleground among the Nazis, the Allied forces, resistance fighters, Jews in hiding, and ordinary Italians struggling to survive the harsh realities of World War II.


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