girl reading a book with the cat

7 Wartime novels that I’ve read recently

I’ve read the “Tattoist of Auschwit” after seeing it all over the recommendable reads lists. Sometimes it happens to me, when I like a certain title, I look for something similar. That’s how I ended up reaching for the other books from the same genre, connecting the wartime motif with a spark of a romance. I must admit that the wartime novels weren’t really my thing before, but I found a few that I liked. Perhaps they will inspire you too!

a girl sitting on the bed and reading book, while having flying books above her head

The Tattoist of Auschwitz

I’ve started my wartime novel journey with this book. I kept recommending it to my friends multiple times. It’s a story of a man named Lale, who’s been sent to the concentration camp. Thanks to his cleverness, he’s taking the advantage of the possibility survive by becoming the tattooist in Auschwitz. It’s a story explaining the difficulty of a wartime, but also telling a story of an amazing will to survive and the love, which knows no boundaries.

Written by Heather Morris. Goodreads link: click here. My score: 5/5

White Rose, Black Forest

I must say it’s a pretty calm wartime novel. I hoped for a bit more of action, but overall I wasn’t disappointed. The book tells the story of a young German girl (Franka Gerber), living in a hut located deep in the Black Forest. Because of the personal reasons she tries to commit suicide, but she was interrupted by a paratrooper in the Luftwaffe uniform, who got badly injured while landing nearby. Franka, who’s a nurse, decides to take the unconscious man home, against her hate towards the Nazi regime.

Written by Eoin Dempsey. Goodreads link: click here. My score: 3/5


That’s a book for those who like the stories full of castles and knights. Main character, Claire Randall, accidentally travels in time from the contemporary Scotland to the same place, but in a year 1743. I unfortunately didn’t like this novel so much. Mostly because of the language – the author tried to implement some old Scottish, which was tiring in the long run. Secondly, because the story was sometimes too slow. Although I know that it has many fans (soon the saga will get its 9th part), and there’s a Netflix tv show of the same title. It’s mostly a historic novel, but I think it fits to the wartime novel list as well (because of the battles).

Written by Diana Gabaldon. Goodreads link: click here. My score: 2/5

A girl reading a book, drinking coffee with latte art. There's a cat's paw touching the book.

The Kommandant’s Girl

I must admit is some kind of a guilty pleasure, but I got completely hooked to it. The story takes place in Poland in the Jewish family, which faces relocation to the Krakow’s ghetto. Young Emma, to survive, tries to use her ability of speaking German, changes her identity and finds a job in the enemy’s headquarters – and at the same time, becomes a “spy” trying to lead to uprising against the Nazis. The story features the forbidden love motif. It was a great read, but I got annoyed by the Polish words in the text, because they had grammar errors. If you’re looking for a wartime novel with the romance, I recommend.

Author: Pam Jenoff. Goodreads: click here. My score: 5/5

I was doctor Mengele’s assistant

It’s hard to describe this book unequivocally, because in contrary to the other wartime novels, this one contains the memoir of a man (a doctor, pathologist, by profession), who, to survive in the concentration camp, became the head of the necropsy department under the surveillance of doctor Mengele, also known as an Angel of Death… This book describes in detail the horror of living in the concentration camp in Auschwitz. It’s an eye-opening and horrifying read.

As a fun fact I will add, that I’ve tried to gather as much information as possible, regarding the author: Miklos Nyiszli, and I admit that it wasn’t easy. However, I did find an interesting article from the Institute for Historical Review (New light on Dr. Miklos Nyiszyli and his Auschwitz book), which discredits some of the stories written in the book, and points out some major ambiguities.

Author: Miklos Nyiszli. Goodreads: here. My score: 5/5

The Nightingale

Story takes place in the year 1939 in France. Dianne Muriac, living until now in the calm town, experiences the cruelty of war, as her husband is being forced to join the Front. Vianne, barely affording a living, is above all forced to share her home with the enemy. I’ve read many positive reviews about this book, but I somehow wasn’t convinced.

Author: Kristin Hannah. Goodreads: here. My score: 2/5

A beautiful cage

If I could give this book a big, fat 0 on Goodreads, I would certainly do. I think it’s not even worth creating a description of this one. The author’s writing style and the ridiculous stories makes me not only, not recommend this book, but furthermore: I advise not to waste your time to read it.

Author: Alyson Reuben. Goodreads: here. My score: 0/5

And that’s a free bookshelf standing somewhere in Austrian Graz. Nice concept!

So, did you read any of the books above? Did you grade them similar? Which else wartime novels would you recommend me?