One of the most devastating impacts of war involves the separation of lovers and loved ones. These 5 must-read love stories document the lives and loves of those separated by war.
1. The End of the Affair by Graham Greene
“Set in London during and just after the Second World War, the novel examines the obsessions, jealousy and discernments within the relationships between three central characters: writer Maurice Bendrix; Sarah Miles; and her husband, civil servant Henry Miles.”
2. The Bronze Horseman by Paullina Simons
“The golden skies, the translucent twilight, the white nights, all hold the promise of youth, of love, of eternal renewal. The war has not yet touched this city of fallen grandeur, or the lives of two sisters, Tatiana and Dasha Metanova, who share a single room in a cramped apartment with their brother and parents. Their world is turned upside down when Hitler’s armies attack Russia and begin their unstoppable blitz to Leningrad.”
3. Rosemary in Bloom by Khristy Reibel
“When Rosemary meets Albert it is instant chemistry. But it is also the summer of 1942, and scores of young men—Albert included—feel compelled to enlist to fight the war against Hitler. Albert wants to marry Rosemary before he leaves for Europe, but she just can’t commit. Like so many young women of her time, Rosemary finds herself left behind to work and worry, desperate for love but frightened of abandonment.
“Three years later, and with Albert’s fate still unknown, Rosemary meets Harry, a charming and handsome man. Rosemary feels guilty for spending so much time with Harry, but she has all but lost faith that Albert will make it safely back home, especially when she receives news of her brother’s serious combat injury. Should she wait for Albert, or settle for second best?
“Inspired by a true story, Rosemary in Bloom explores faith, forgiveness, enduring love against all odds, and the difficult decisions that strong, smart women on the home front had to make during World War II.”
4. Corelli’s Mandolin by Louis de Bernieres
“Extravagant, inventive, emotionally sweeping, Corelli’s Mandolin is the story of a timeless place that one day wakes up to find itself in the jaws of history. The place is the Greek island of Cephallonia, where gods once dabbled in the affairs of men and the local saint periodically rises from his sarcophagus to cure the mad. Then the tide of World War II rolls onto the island’s shores in the form of the conquering Italian army.
“Caught in the occupation are Pelagia, a willful, beautiful young woman, and the two suitors vying for her love: Mandras, a gentle fisherman turned ruthless guerilla, and the charming, mandolin-playing Captain Corelli, a reluctant officer of the Italian garrison on the island. Rich with loyalties and betrayals, and set against a landscape where the factual blends seamlessly with the fantastic, Corelli’s Mandolin is a passionate novel as rich in ideas as it is genuinely moving.”
5. Losing Julia by Jonathan Hull
“An epic story of love found and lost, Losing Julia begins in 1928 at the dedication of a memorial to the great War in France. American Patrick Delaney has come to mourn his fallen comrades, especially his best friend, Daniel. When he sees a woman standing alone in the crowd, he realizes she must be Julia, Daniel’s lover. Though Patrick is married, he and Julia fall desperately in love during the brief but unforgettable time they spend exploring the still haunted and battle-scarred countryside. Struggling to reconcile their love with the legacy of war and life’s obligations, Julia and Patrick cling to each other until one fateful step, when Patrick loses Julia, perhaps never to find her again.
“From the vicious savagery of trench warfare to the sometimes comic and often tragic indignities of life in a nursing home, Jonathan Hull tells a remarkable story of memory and desire, history and destiny–and of the people who slip from our grasp, only to hold us forever.”
Receive top book recommendations directly in your inbox.