Posted in About the Author, Book Reviews

My Bookshelf: War Fiction

2015_0413Appomattox0985I want to share some of my favorite books with you, and I’m hoping you’ll share some of your favorites with me! I looked over my Goodreads shelf and divided up my favorites. Today, I’ll share my favorite war fiction books with you. I’ve reserved the other categories to share at another time.

The first thing you should know about me is that I love historical fiction. I almost only read historical fiction. And of that fiction, war fiction tops the list. Is there any wonder that my debut novel is a Civil War novel? 😉

You’ll only find Christian Fiction on this list. Each link will take you to the Amazon page. I highly recommend anything on this list, but I have to warn you, I’ve only skimmed the barrel of war fiction. There are a TON of other great reads out there that I haven’t gotten my hands on yet.

Civil War Fiction:
Love Finds You In Liberty, Indiana – This book actually takes place before the Civil War, but it shows the Underground Railroad so vividly that it easily makes my list as great Civil War Fiction. This was a wonderful read and, even though I had read it several years ago, it helped shape one of my story lines in “In the Shadow of Thy Wings.”
Heroines Behind Lines Series – is historical fiction on steroids. Lol This series is cram packed with vivid details that help bring this era and its hardships to life. Civil War fiction fans can not go without this series. There are 4 books in this series, and while you can read them out of order, it might make more sense to you to read them in order. *Note: The hardships aren’t veiled as much as we might expect and more sensitive readers should beware. Feel free to ask me privately for more details if you’re on the fence with this series.
A Secret Refuge Series – This three-book series is best read in order. It differs from many war fiction in that we do not follow a young man into battle, but rather two sisters as they struggle through the war. One sister works as a nurse and the other dresses as a man and tries to flee with their family’s remaining thoroughbreds before either army can steal them away. *This series should be read in order. *First book is currently free on Amazon.
Love Finds You in Amana, Iowa – Is a charming read and one that I really enjoyed. The Amana colonies were a sort of communist colonies here in America, so right away the setting was very different. We follow three characters as they struggle to find their place in this big world during an unsettling time in our country.
CamelliaCamellia is one of my favorites and one that I intend to read again very soon. This story contains a love triangle, spies, and the civil war. Need I say more? Lol *Camellia is the last book of the series The Song of the River. The first book of the series is currently free on Amazon. I was able to read and enjoy Camellia without reading Lily first, although it does spoil the ending of Lily for me.
Refiner’s Fire SeriesRefiner’s Fire by Lynn Austin remains my all time favorite Civil War fiction series. I can’t say enough about this series. Not only was I being refined as I read through the pages, I was also being entertained and educated. Austin has a special way of bringing history to life. This series in particular takes a fun approach to the war. Each book focuses on a different personality of the war: Confederate, Union, and Slave. Each book walks with these characters as they share their own experiences during the war while also overlapping each other. The plotting in this series is brilliant! *This series should be read in order. *The first book of the series is free on Amazon.
An Unlikely UnionAn Unlikely Union contains three of my favorite themes: Civil War, a bickering couple, and the life of a war nurse.

A list of favorite Civil War fiction can not be complete without Post Civil War Fiction. The following are the best that I’ve had my hands on…so far. 🙂

All Things New – Another hit by Lynn Austin! All Things New show the hardships of the south as they pick up the pieces after the war. It also shows an up close view of the racial conflict and hatred for the Union. I highly recommend this book, and it’s currently on my reread list.
To Whisper Her Name – Tamera Alexander does a wonderful job showing the animosity between the North and South after the war in this novel set in Nashville on a notable horse farm. I was taken with the Belle Meade Plantation when I visited a few years ago and I was equally taken with her novel. *I found this book at the low price of $2.99 last week on Amazon. This is one of the cheaper books listed by a main stream author.
A Bride’s Dilemma in Friendship, Tennessee – Another favorite currently sitting on my reread list is A Bride’s Dilemma. This book showcases the struggles of the families left behind after the war, but where it really shines is the unusual circumstance the characters find themselves in. *I found this book for $1.99 last week on Amazon. You may want to snatch it up while it’s on sale – IF it’s still on sale!
A Lasting Impression – Tamera Alexander picks another well known mansion in Nashville to base this Post Civil War tale on: Belmont. She shows off the tensions that are running high after the war as well an original story of art, lies, and love.

WWI Fiction:
Wings of a DreamWings of a Dream was a quick favorite for me. It’s hard to say exactly why this one drew me as much as it did, but I’ve read it twice in a year. 🙂 The reason why war fiction is such a hit for me, is that drama of war is real and unavoidable for the characters. Anything goes and you never know what will happen next. Wings of a Dream stays on the home front, but shows the hardships of the families face, not to mention 3 likely suitors to keep the reader off balanced. 🙂
Letters from the Enemy – Ahhh a good classic love triangle with the back drop of war. I shouldn’t have to say anything else. Lol Letters from the Enemy also shines in showing the depression many of the soldiers struggled with after they returned home. Susan May Warren also does a marvelous job incorporating the gospel into her story line. I was very impressed! You don’t get such pointed messages very often in Christian Fiction. This was, easily, one of my favorite reads so far this year. *I found this book for .99 cents last week. You may want to snatch it up while you can get it at a super low price.
Playing by Heart – Another hit from Anne Mateer. Playing by Heart shows the struggles from home during WWI. It also brings to life other aspects of history such as women teachers and lady basketball.

WWII Fiction:
With Every LetterWith Every Letter is the first book of the Wings of the Nightingale Series. This story had my heart from page one. Not only are we being educated on various aspects of WWII, particularly the life of a flight nurse, but we’re also being entertained with this couple that falls in love through letters. If you haven’t noticed this about me yet, I LOVE letters. 🙂 This was a You’ve Got Mail sort of story in that the couple exchanged letters anonymously. *This series is best read in order. *This book is currently free on Amazon.
While We’re Far Apart – Ahh another Lynn Austin favorite! While We’re Far Apart hits my favorites list for several reasons. The history on the home front comes to life as we follow the lives of a young woman who takes charge of two children while their father is away, a young girl, and a bitter Jewish man. Austin is gifted at story telling and historic detail. In this particular story, she takes her time to show the animosity toward Jews in America as well as women in the work force.
A Woman’s Place – You shouldn’t be surprised at this point to read the name Lynn Austin, but this is a must read. A Woman’s Place follows the lives of four very different women as they purpose to make a difference here at home while the men are away at war. Having left the Civil War era behind, I hadn’t expected to find so much racial tension and yet that’s exactly what she showcased. While the war was being fought in Europe, a separate war was being fought here at home as people struggled for equal rights for both women and black people.

Sitting on my “To Read” list are the following:

Books 2 and 3 of the Wings of Nightingale
Book 4 of Heroine Behind Lines Series
A Beauty So Rare, Book 2 of the Belmont Mansion Series
As well as a few rereads: A Bride’s Dilemma in Friendship, Tennessee, All Things New, and Camellia

Do you have a favorite war fiction novel that you think I should read? I’d love to hear about it!

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13 thoughts on “My Bookshelf: War Fiction

  1. I loved War Horse! I had actually never read the book, even though it was an old one, until the movie came out. I wanted to see it, but I held off and read the book first, and both book and movie were amazing!

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      1. I added every single one to my “to-read list.” The Secret Refuge series sounds especially good. I’m a horse nut, in addition to being a Civil war nut! LOL

        Liked by 1 person

  2. One of my favorite books is From a Distance by Tamera Alexander (never can go wrong with her books). It isn’t Civil War, but set a few years after, and the hero was a sharpshooter who used a Whitworth Rifle. It stuck out to me because I did some research on the rifle for a (as yet) unpublished novel.

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    1. That is a really good one! I struggled with whether to put that series in here under Post C.W. or not. I finally decided not to simply because the setting didn’t wasn’t focused much on it. That’s one of my favorite books from her though.
      It’s nice to know we have similar tastes. 🙂 Did you have any other favorites that were already on my list? Or any that you might want to pick up now?

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      1. I’ve read everything by Tamera Alexander, except Beauty So Rare–but I’ll get to it. 🙂 I’ve heard so much about Jocelyn Green’s books that I want to read them. I think I have one on my Kindle. Again, I haven’t gotten to it. So many books! I have read and enjoyed A Bride’s Dilemma and With Every Letter. You might want to add Myra Johnson’s series Till We Meet Again. It starts at the end of WWI, but the first two books deal with the effects of the war on veterans.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I haven’t read all of Tamera’s books yet but I’ve loved the ones that I have read. Lol And I haven’t read Beauty So Rare yet either. A good friend of mine has raved about it so it’s on my list.
        Thanks so much for the suggestion! I don’t think I’ve heard of Myra Johnson’s series at all and I’ll gladly add that one to my list!

        Liked by 1 person

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