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WW2 Historical Fiction – The Resistance & Other Helpers

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In our 1930s and 1940s months for the Decades Challenge, and on the Book Voyage Challenge reading lists for every region of the world, you’ll find books covering many unique, and often unknown, aspects of World War II.  We try to balance out each of those lists with a variety of other topics as well, which means there are many important WW2 historical fiction books that don’t make the reading challenge lists.

We spent many hours this week researching WW2 novels and came up with more than 100 highly-rated options. That’s way too many for one post, so we grouped them into themes, and one quickly emerged as the topic we wanted to share with you first.

Our favorite Mr. Rogers quote is based on advice from his own mom. When news is bad, “​​Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.”

During WWII, that statement rang true throughout the world in the most incredible ways, large and small. Whether hiding or feeding a single person or working as part of a large-scale resistance mission, the characters in these WW2 books had a courageous resolve to choose good in the face of evil.

While the books on this particular list are all historical fiction set in WW2, many are based on real stories and real heroes who risked everything for the greater good. In a time when it’s easy to see the worse in humanity, we love the reminder that good is also all around. And perhaps even more important, we can choose to be the good in a wide variety of ways. 

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The Best WW2 Books: The Resistance & Other Helpers

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Books Like The Nightingale

Monday 13th of March 2023

[…] When looking for books similar to The Nightingale, we were most drawn to the different stories of women’s vital roles and experiences during this tragic time. If you like these stories, you may also like the books on our list of historical fiction featuring WW2 resistance workers. […]

Books Set in Western Europe

Friday 10th of March 2023

[…] WWI or WWII, you’ll find additional books on these lists: Best WW1 Historical Fiction Novels, WW2 Novels Featuring Resistance Workers & Other Helpers, Books Set in the 1910s, Books Set in the 1940s, and Books Like the […]


Monday 17th of October 2022

Kate Quinn is the Queen of this genre in my opinion. Check her out

Valerie Carney

Monday 28th of February 2022

The Book Thief is one of my all time favorites and I really liked The Nightengale. Great list - many are on my TBR list.


Friday 25th of February 2022

What a great list! The Book Thief is one of my, all time, favorites and I've already read 3 other books from this list. For readers who have seen the 60 Minutes special segment on the Ritchie Boys and any others who'd like to know more about these secret heroes of WWII, I'd like to suggest my award winning novel, Immigrant Soldier, the Story of a Ritchie Boy, by K. Lang-Slattery. This historical novel follows a German-Jewish young man as he evolves from a frightened and frustrated teenager looking for a place to belong into a confident and caring U.S. Army intelligence officer working under General Patton.