The books Southern indie booksellers are recommending to readers everywhere!

World War II

The Forest of Vanishing Stars by Kristin Harmel

A young girl is kidnapped from her German parents before the rise of the Nazis and is raised in the forest to protect her from becoming a Nazi. But even an attempt to shield her from her inevitable future is futile and she becomes enmeshed in Jewish refugees’ lives and becomes important to their survival. But interaction with others has its consequences and takes Yona on a complicated journey of finding herself and learning who she really is. The ending was poetic and left me wanting to understand more. As a side note, Kristin did a great job of explaining the historical background that inspired the book. Hands down, a different spin on the human condition and experiences during the Holocaust.

The Forest of Vanishing Stars by Kristin Harmel, (List Price: 28, Gallery Books, 9781982158934, 2021-07-06)

Reviewed by Lauren Zimmerman, Writers Block Bookstore in Winter Park, Florida

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The Forest of Vanishing Stars by Kristin Harmel

The Forest of Vanishing Stars is about a young girl kidnapped from her wealthy German parents and raised in the forests of Eastern Europe. From her earliest years, she is taught to survive in the woods. When her captor dies, she is alone until she comes upon a group of Jewish people fleeing from the Nazis. She decides to do whatever she can to protect them until a family secret threatens everything. Atmospheric with hints of fairy tale, The Forest of Vanishing Stars is a stand out in WWII Historical Fiction 

The Forest of Vanishing Stars by Kristin Harmel, (List Price: 28, Gallery Books, 9781982158934, July 2021)

Reviewed by Jessica Nock, Main Street Books in Davidson, NC

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The Last Bookshop in London by Madeline Martin

Well, this was beyond lovely. I thoroughly enjoyed this story with it’s loveable cast of characters and the SIDE LOVE STORY. How refreshing that the love story, though present and beautiful, was mentioned, I think, about five times? Even so, I’m still swooning over George. SWOONING. Booksellers will adore this novel of a reader discovering her passion for books. Readers will love this novel for the tender descriptions of loving a book. And I love this novel for it’s honest, harsh descriptions of life during war. The losses great and small (which are often the ones that discourage most.) I can’t wait to shove this book into the hands of my customers. I cannot wait!

The Last Bookshop in London by Madeline Martin (List Price: $16.99, Hanover Square Press, 9781335284808, 4/6/2021)

Reviewed by Annie Childress, E. Shaver, bookseller in Savannah, Georgia

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The Rose Code by Kate Quinn

You know those books that you start reading and Cannot. Put. Down?? This is definitely one. With so many WWII books out there, Kate Quinn manages to put a fresh spin on the war with The Rose Code and makes you feel like you’re reading something new. The writing is amazing, the characters relatable, and the story fast-paced, heartbreaking, jubilant, and redemptive all at the same time. This historical fiction about the codebreakers of Bletchley Park will be one of your favorite reads of 2021.

The Rose Code by Kate Quinn (List Price: $17.99, William Morrow Paperbacks, 9780062943477, 3/9/2021)

Reviewed by Mary Patterson, The Little Bookshop in Midlothian, Virginia

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The Paris Library by Janet Skeslien Charles

We have always known that librarians are heroes, and this book is based on the true story of the amazing women working at the American Library in Paris, as they join the Resistance after World War II breaks out. On a different timeline, a teenage girl interviews her older neighbor, who is one of the French librarians, and discovers her bravery… but also her complicated past.

The Paris Library by Janet Skeslien Charles (List Price: $28, Atria Books, 9781982134198, 2/9/2021)

Reviewed by Anne Peck, Righton Books in St. Simons Island, South Carolina

A Place to Hang the Moon by Kate Albus

A deep and delightful story of what it means to be part of a family. William, Edmund, and Anna discover enemies, friends, compassion, and the power of books are all part of their search for a forever home. Like cocoa on a winter day, this book will leave you cozy and smiling.

A Place to Hang the Moon by Kate Albus (List Price: $17.99, Margaret Ferguson Books, 9780823447053, 2/2/2021)

Reviewed by Susan Williams, M Judson, Booksellers and Storytellers in Greenville, South Carolina

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The Good Doctor of Warsaw by Elisabeth Gifford

Janusz Korczak ran an orphanage for Jewish children in Warsaw, where conditions became increasingly harsh during WWII. Gifford tells with great detail of their daily lives–struggling to find food to eat and to not be killed by the Nazis. Over 95% of the 350,000 Jews in Warsaw did not survive the war. A sad story to read but one we must not forget.

The Good Doctor of Warsaw by Elisabeth Gifford (List Price: $25.95, Pegasus Books, 9781643136363, 1/5/2021)

Reviewed by Beth Carpenter, The Country Bookshop in Southern Pines, North Carolina

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The Last Garden in England by Julia Kelly

Inspired by early female garden designers, this is a tale of the gardens in an estate and the three generations of women who live and work in them–from the design of the gardens, to their use during WWII, and to their restoration after years of neglect. An easy read and one that makes you want to visit the gardens of England.

The Last Garden in England by Julia Kelly (List Price: $28, Gallery Books, 9781982107826, 1/12/2021)

Reviewed by Beth Carpenter, The Country Bookshop in Southern Pines, North Carolina

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The War Widow by Tara Moss

The War Widow was an intriguing mystery, an interesting and informative look at post war Australia in 1946 and an overall totally delightful read. Ms. Billie Walker has returned home after being a war correspondent in Europe to take over the Private Inquiry Agency of her late father. She is a fun, elegant, feisty and determined character who investigates the “old-fashioned” way: no internet, no cell phones, no data bases. The book is filled with intrigue, nasty criminals, beautiful fashions and lots of daring moves by Ms. Walker. I cannot wait to see what kind of trouble Ms. Walker finds herself in next.

The War Widow by Tara Moss (List Price: $26, Dutton, 9780593182659, 12/29/2020)

Reviewed by Nancy McFarlane, Fiction Addiction in Greenville, South Carolina

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The Children’s Train by Viola Ardone

Amerigo is a child in southern Italy sent north with other children to escape the deprived conditions after WWII. Choosing to stay with his adoptive family he lives a good life. Going home fifty years later for his mother’s funeral causes him to rethink his life and what a family really means. A great book that will provoke good book club discussions.

The Children’s Train by Viola Ardone, Clarissa Botsford (Trans.) (List Price: $16.99, HarperVia, 9780062940513, January 2021)

Reviewed by Beth Carpenter, The Country Bookshop in Southern Pines, North Carolina

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