I don’t know about you, but I can’t think of anything more enjoyable than snuggling up with an epic novel or an inspiring self-help book to get me all warm and cozy and loving life. Toss a cup of coffee or some ginger-turmeric tea into that equation and I have just reached my hygge climax. If you are into historical fiction, specifically, WWII then you are going to love my book list. Perhaps you are in a rut and need a hand digging yourself out of it. I have got you covered. I enjoyed all of these reads immensely and promise you will not be disappointed with any of the choices.
All The Light We Can Not See – This story takes place in occupied France during WWII. It is about a young, blind French girl and a German boy whose paths cross as their one true similarity is that they are trying to survive the devastation of the war against all odds. The young girl, Marie-Laure lives in Paris, near the Museum of Natural History where her father works. The young orphan boy, Werner, lives in a mining town in Germany in an orphanage with his sister. Marie-Laure flees Paris with her father to her reclusive Uncle’s home with what is believed to be the most valuable jewels in her possession. Werner is obsessed with an old radio that brings he and his sister stories from far-off lands. His expertise with radios lands him a job with the Nazis where he becomes part of the effort in snuffing out the resistance. Their lives become intermingled and what unfolds is a story of hope, kindness, and compassion in one of the most horrific times in history. A must read.
Salt To The Sea – Another WWII novel and a story about one of the great maritime tragedies in history, yet one you have likely never heard. This one takes place as the war is ending in East Prussia and tens of thousands of refugees and displaced people make their way to the Wilhelm Gustoff in hopes to have another chance at life. The story is told through three peoples’ experiences–all from different walks of life. They have different stories but the same goal: survival. Each chapter is told from the perspective of and narrated by one of the characters. It does not matter where they were from or in which country they were born, there was one striking commonality. They were simply trying to survive. Just when freedom is in their reach, tragedy ensues. The author reminds us that, even in the harshest of times, humanity and trust in good people can still exist.
UnF*ck Yourself – A self-helper with the greatest title in all the land. Everyone else is selling their advice on the keys to the best life, but Gary John Bishop talks directly to you on HOW to live your best life and achieve greatness. His secret. It is up to you. He offers seven personal assertions and his straight-shooting, no-bullshit approach will have you reciting his nuggets of wisdom regularly. His book is also available on Audible–I encourage you to listen to this book as Gary John Bishop is a Scot and his accent adds an extra bit of pizazz you most certainly won’t get from reading.
Girl, Wash Your Face – Another self-help book. This one focuses on the lies you keep telling yourself and how they are holding you back. Rachel Hollis is a witty lady and a true wordsmith with a wicked sense of humor. She is honest and self-deprecating and she delivers one-liners that stick with you. One of my favorites, “Noone has a right to tell you if your dreams are too big.” This is a quick and easy read. Light and inspiring.
The Nightengale – A WWII novel about two sisters and a quiet French village. One sister, Vianne, is left back while her husband joins the front lines. To her surprise, their town is taken over by Nazis and her life becomes one of survival as she is dealt unimaginable hardships. Vianne’s younger and rebellious sister falls hard in love and gets her heart broken. She later joins the resistance and becomes a war hero in her own right. This story is about, you guessed it, survival, deep family love and the desire to fight for what is right no matter what cost. This book is an absolute must-read. Favorite book of 2018.