Top 5 novels set in WW2

Rabbit Girls author Anna Ellory's tips for the best stories of humanity during one of the world's darkest periods

Fugitive Pieces by Anne Michaels 

We follow the life of orphaned Jewish boy, Jakob, living in the shadow of the Holocaust. Stunningly written, it’s about love and loss, the power of memory and the overwhelming responsibility of survival.

Between Shades of Gray (Ashes in the Snow) by Ruta Sepetys

An unknown story of Lithuanian prisoners of Stalin’s Gulag. Told with pace, horror, truth and extraordinary hope, through the eyes of 15-year-old artist Lina, we see what it takes to survive.

Half Blood Blues by Esi Edugyan

This book tells the untold story of the black population under Nazi rule. At its heart, it is the story of friendship, love, jazz and about what it takes to forgive another, but – and inevitably harder – what it takes to forgive oneself.


In total, more than 92,000 people have sold The Big Issue since 1991 to help themselves work their way out of poverty – more than could fit into Wembley Stadium.

All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

Focusing on Marie-Laure, a blind girl living in war-torn Paris, and Werner, a German orphan, the book is masterfully told, beautifully written and stuns in its capacity to capture both the frailty and resilience of the human heart.

The Complete Maus by Art Spiegelman

This graphic novel is powerfully human, brutal, honest, complex and beautiful. How one man’s strength is also his weakness. How you can leave the past, but it cannot leave you. Deeply affecting. If you only pick up one book on my list make it this one.

The Rabbit Girls by Anna Ellory is published on September 1 (Lake Union, £20)

The Rabbit Girls by Anna Ellory