War Novels Viewed Through The Eyes of Women
There has been a number of different novels written about World War I and World War II, many of which tackle the subject from unique angles. This is because writers from all of the nations that were involved in the conflict wrote about it. However, many people still consider military fiction in general and war novels in particular to be a very male targeted genre. This is not necessarily true, though, as there are also quite a few novels that feature women in prominent roles during the conflicts. Just take a look at these war novels that are viewed through the eyes of women.
by Jane Healey
Not everyone on the front lines of World War II were soldiers, as this novel by Jane Healey demonstrates. Some girls, like the protagonists in this tale, volunteered to work for the Red Cross as "Clubmobile Girls." Their task was to give the soldiers some of the comfort of home by providing them with coffee and donuts. The fact that the author researched the real letters, diaries and other records of the actual Clubmobile Service girls to write this novel makes the story even more special.
by Soraya M. Lane
Nurses also played an important part in World War II, but Wives of War is not just a typical war novel. It follows the stories of three young nurses who are sent to France, where they encounter the horrors of war for the first time. However, in addition to sacrifice and survival, it is also a story of friendship and love, which makes it even more compelling.
by Aimie K. Runyan
Girls on the Line is another novel that explores a facet of World War I that doesn't get that much attention, namely the telephone operators. These women served on the front lines in an effort to keep officers connected and often faced shellfire and the same type of risks that soldiers did. This novel focuses on these unsung heroines of the war and features the 24-year old Ruby Wagner as the protagonist. Instead of settling into a comfortable life like her family expects of her, Ruby instead joins the Army Signal Corps after her brother is killed in the war. It is a choice that sees fighting for her country as well as the respect of the Allied soldiers.
by Shirley Dickson
World War II was a dark time in our history that not only influenced the participants on the front lines, but also those back home as well. The Orphan Sister is the tale of two girls who grew up at in orphanage after their mother abandoned them. Unfortunately, when they gain their freedom from the orphanage many years later, it is at a time when World War II is taking place. This means that after all the hardship and heartbreak that the two sisters endured in the orphanage, they must once again rely on each other to get through the war as well.
by Annie Groves
As Time Goes By from Annie Groves shows that World War II was not only about soldiers fighting for survival on the battlefields, but also about people struggling to keep their families safe and together. This novel features the story of two brave women, Sam and Sally, who must navigate their way through the war. Sam tries to do her part by joining the Auxiliary Territorial Service, which was the first women's branch of the British Army, while Sally tries to make ends meet and protect her children after her husband becomes a prisoner of war. Both women endure hardships in their endeavors, but both are determined to remain undefeated.
by Marius Gabriel
Many people, including women, put their lives on the line to serve their countries during World War II, even if it meant that they had to do so at great risk and under secrecy. The Parisians is the tale of one such woman, an American named Olivia Olsen, who works as a chambermaid at a hotel in Paris. To survive in the city, which is under Nazi occupation, Olivia has to deny her nationality. However, she also takes on the huge risk of helping the Resistance when Hitler's right-hand man moves into the hotel. The Parisians is not only the story of Olivia, but also other women, such as Coco Chanel and Arletty, who have their lives touched by the war.
by Kristin Hannah
The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah is not just a novel about wartime France, but also about the relationship between two estranged sisters. They both have different views on the occupation of their country, which leads one to Paris while the other remains in the countryside. However, both sisters end up playing important roles in the French underground as they find themselves become embroiled deeper and deeper in the war. The Nightingale is a great showcase of the courage and determination of women during World War II and the fact that the author based some of the actions of the characters on those of real people makes it even more captivating.
by Anthony Doerr
All the Light We Cannot See is a unique World War II novel as it focuses mostly on the interior lives of its two protagonists and not just on the conflict. One of these protagonists is a 14-year old French girl named Marie-Laure who ends up taking refuge with her father in a coastal town when Germany invades France. This is quite an adjustment for Marie-Laure as she has been blind since the age of 6. It becomes even worse when her father is captured by the Nazis and sent to a prison camp, which leaves Marie-Laure with her great-uncle and his housekeeper. Despite all these setbacks Marie-Laure still ends up helping with the war effort. There is a lot more intrigue to this book, but it is the courage and determination of Marie-Laure that really stands out.