September 2, 2020, marks the 75th Commemoration of the End of World War II. As we remember those who gave their lives, many authors have chosen to retell World War II stories. Reference and Adult Services Librarian, Sue Hansen, has found newly published books and debut authors to curate a collection at Northern Onondaga Public Library’s Cicero Branch; books are available to all through the Catalog.
Sue enjoys books about Europe during the First and Second World Wars. After reading The Taster by V.S. Alexander and Somewhere in France by Jennifer Robson, she has some suggestions for what to read next in recently published titles. This historical genre is characterized by the devastation in towns and cities, battle scenes, and surreal country estates where families carry on and women affect change. These titles contain personal stories and well-researched facts that will take readers back to a time of simplicity and complex social change.
A Billy Boyle WWII mystery. It is days after the Liberation of Paris, US Army Detective Billy Boyle, and Lt. Kazimierz are brought to St. Albans Convalescent hospital in the English countryside. Kaz is diagnosed with a heart condition and Billy with emotional exhaustion after his methamphetamine abuse. Billy’s love is learned to be at Ravensbruck, a Nazi concentration camp for women, by British Major Cosgrove who also brings his suspicions of a British agent murdered inside the hospital. Billy covertly investigates.
The Vanishing Sky by L. Annette Binder
A German mother, Etta, tries to hold your family together and out from Nazi rule. Her eldest son Max has returned from the Eastern front while her other son, Georg, is in the Nazi youth. Max has changed for the worse with no help from his father, but Etta’s voice has strengthened. Meanwhile, her younger son resolves to leave for home on his own. The experiences of PTSD in this book are realistic, with violent episodes. The story is told through a German lens and draws inspiration from the author’s own father’s time in the Hitler Youth.
Hannah’s War by Jan Eliasberg
The atomic bomb is close at hand and Hannah Weiss, an exiled physicist, is facing impossible odds as her Jewish background and gender put her front and center inside a spy scandal. A standout for leaking encoded equations to Hitler’s Scientists, she is made out as a traitor. In 1945, Major, Jack Delany is in New Mexico, his mission is to find a spy deep inside the New Mexican desert, and into Hannah’s story. Only she believes the weapon’s creation will secure an end to future wars.
Daughter of the Reich by Louise Fein
Based on her family history, the author tells the love story of a daughter of a high-ranking Nazi officer and a Jewish man in the face of anti-Semitism. Bold yet, dutiful to her father, Hetty Heinrich is torn with conflicting emotions on the treatment of Jewish people and her ties to Walter. But as the rising tide of anti-Semitism threatens to engulf them, Hetty and Walter will be forced to take extreme measures.
The World That We Knew by Alice Hoffman
Hanni Kohn sends her daughter, Lea, to a safe house away from the Nazi regime. Lea meets Ettie, who has a mythical golem, Ava, waiting to protect Lea. The three, Ava, Ettie, and Lea are forever connected with the mystical powers, their fates are crossed forever. As Lea and Ava travel from Paris, Ettie is with a demolition team in France, lying about her identity among the small group of fighters, she is determined to seek vengeance on the Germans.
An extraordinary, propulsive novel based on the true story of a family of Polish Jews who scatters at the start of the Second World War, determined to survive and to reunite. It is the spring of 1939, and three generations of the Kurc family are doing their best to live normal lives, even as the shadow of war grows ever closer. The talk around the family Seder table is of new babies and budding romance, not of the increasing hardships facing Jews in their hometown of Radom, Poland. But soon the horrors overtaking Europe will become inescapable and the Kurc family will be flung to the far corners of the earth, each desperately trying to chart his or her own path toward safety.
Universe of Two by Stephen P. Kiernan
Recently graduated Charlie Fish is a brilliant mathematician and has been assigned to building the detonator for the atomic bomb. The dark side of this work takes a toll on his marriage and his career. Once completed he and his wife Brenda make a fresh start to make amends for evil brought upon those innocently taken by this weapon of mass destruction. This is based on the life of Charles B. Fisk, an account the author has turned into a post-war record of love story and conscientious objection to the atomic bomb.
The Secret Daughter of the Tsar by Jennifer Laam
In present-day Los Angeles, Veronica is a Historian who meets an heir to the Russian throne. She sets about investigating the legitimacy of his claim through historical connections to Lena and Charlotte. Lena, a servant in the imperial Russian court of 1902, is approached by the desperate Empress Alexandra to help her sire a son. Charlotte, a former ballerina living in World War II occupied Paris, receives a surprise visit from a German officer with a longstanding obsession with the fate of the Russian monarchy.
Code Name Madeleine: A Sufi Spy in Nazi-Occupied Paris by Arthur J. Magida
Noor Inayat Khan was the only wireless operator transmitting secret messages from Nazi-occupied France to the Special Operations Executive in England. As the daughter of an Indian mystic, raised in a household devoted to peaceful reflection on the outskirts of Paris, Khan did not seem destined for wartime heroism. She was trained in espionage, sabotage, and reconnaissance and returned to France under code name Madeleine. She attempted two daring escapes before being sent to prison in Germany.