World War I -- fiction

Hattie Big Sky

By Kirby Larson

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"Alone in the world, teen-aged Hattie is driven to prove up on her uncle's homesteading claim. For years, sixteen-year-old Hattie's been shuttled between relatives. Tired of being Hattie Here-and-There, she courageously leaves Iowa to prove up on her late uncle's homestead claim near Vida, Montana. With a stubborn stick-to-itiveness, Hattie faces frost, drought and blizzards. Despite many hardships, Hattie forges ahead, sharing her adventures with her friends--especially Charlie, fighting in France--through letters and articles for her hometown paper. Her backbreaking quest for a home is lightened by her neighbors, the Muellers. But she feels threatened by pressure to be a 'Loyal' American, forbidding friendships with folks of German descent. Despite everything, Hattie's determined to stay until a tragedy causes her to discover the true meaning of home."
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The African Queen

By C. S. Forester

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First published in 1935, The African Queen is the story of Charlie Allnut & Rose Sayer, a disheveled trader & an English spinster missionary, who are thrown together when World War I reaches the heart of the African jungle. Fighting time, heat, malaria, & bullets, they escape on a rickety steamboat, where they fall in love & hatch an outrageous military plan of their own. The story was immortalized in the 1951 film starring Katharine Hepburn & Humphrey Bogart.

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A Farewell to Arms

By Ernest Hemingway

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"...the unforgettable story of an American ambulance driver on the Italian front and his passion for a beautiful English nurse. Hemingway's frank portrayal of the love between Lieutenant Henry and Catherine Barkley, caught in the inexorable sweep of war, glows with an intensity unrivaled in modern literature, while his description of the German attack on Caporetto -- of lines of fired men marching in the rain, hungry, weary, and demoralized -- is one of the greatest moments in literary history. A story of love and pain, of loyalty and desertion...".

Also available on audio.

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By a Slow River

By Philippe Claudel

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"As the First World War rages on, the daily life of a small town near the front is hardly disturbed by the report of artillery fire and the parade of wounded in its streets. But within the space of a year, this illusion of ordinary days is shattered by the deaths of three innocents—-a charming schoolmistress from “the north,” who captured every male heart only to take her own life without apparent reason; an angelic eight-year-old girl, who is strangled, her body abandoned by the canal; and the cherished wife of the local policeman, who dies in labor while her husband is hunting the little girl’s murderer.

"Twenty years on, the policeman still struggles to make sense of these mysteries that both torment and sustain him. In the pages of his notebooks he continually—-desperately, obsessively—-summons up the past and its ghosts. But excavating the town’s secret history will bring neither peace to him nor justice to the wicked. And as his solitary detective work continues on these long-closed cases, we come to see that his efforts can lead only to an unimaginable widening of the tragedy. In the policeman’s simple, plangent voice--full of unflinching scrutiny and the compassion of weary experience--Philippe Claudel gives us a tale of galvanizing suspense and an indelible meditation on morality."

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The Master Butcher's Singing Club

By Louise Erdrich

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Having survived the killing fields of World War I, Fidelis Waldvogel returns home to his quiet German village and marries the pregnant widow of his best friend who was killed in action. With a suitcase full of sausages and a master butcher's precious set of knives, Fidelis sets out for America, getting as far as North Dakota, where he builds a business, a home for his family -- which includes Eva and four sons -- and a singing club consisting of the best voices in town. When the Old World meets the New -- in the person of Delphine Watzka -- the great adventure of Fidelis's life begins. Delphine meets Eva and is enchanted; she meets Fidelis, and the ground trembles. These momentous encounters will determine the course of Delphine's life.

Also available on audio and in large print.

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Behind the Scenes at the Museum

By Kate Atkinson

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A family saga chronicles a century of life as four generations of Yorkshire women move through two World Wars, coronations, secrets, heartbreak, and happiness, all seen through the eyes of an inimitable narrator named Ruby Lennox.

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Meindert DeJong: A Gentle, Persistent Spirit

Newbery Medal-winning author Meindert DeJong (pronounced De-Young) immigrated to the United States with his family as a young boy. The family came to America so that his older brothers would not be drafted to fight in World War I. The DeJong family had a difficult time in their new country. The family was poor, and the children were sent to a private, religious school where the children were bullied for being immigrants. Meindert DeJong never forgot the experience of being a lonely child, and he wove that perspective into many of his books.  

Tug of War

By Barbara Cleverly

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"Joe Sandilands is back and headed to France where he's scheduled to stay as the guest of a glamourous French war window on her estate. The widow needs Joe's help to support her claim that a shell-shocked soldier suffering from amnesia is actually her husband. The problem is that four other men have identified this soldier differently. As Joe investigates all the claims, he uncovers a cleverly concealed murder committed during the war years. This discovery presents him with an even grater dilemma — he must not only solve a killing in the past, but avert a tragedy in the future."
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Justice Hall

By Laurie R. King

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"It’s a mystery that begins during the Great War, when Gabriel Hughenfort died amidst scandalous rumors that have haunted the family ever since. But it’s not until Holmes and Russell arrive at Justice Hall, a home of unearthly perfection set in a garden modeled on Paradise, that they fully understand the irony echoed in the family motto, Justicia fortitudo mea est: “Righteousness is my strength.”

"A trail of ominous clues leads Holmes and Russell from an English hamlet to fashionable Paris to the wild prairie of the New World. But as the moment of reckoning approaches, will justice be done…or have they been lured straight into an elusive killer’s perfectly baited trap?"

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Maisie Dobbs

By Jacqueline Winspear

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"Maisie Dobbs isn t just any young housemaid. Through her own natural intelligence and the patronage of her benevolent employers she works her way into college at Cambridge. When World War I breaks out, Maisie goes to the front as a nurse. It is there that she learns that coincidences are meaningful and the truth elusive. After the War, Maisie sets up on her own as a private investigator. But her very first assignment, seemingly an ordinary infidelity case, soon reveals a much deeper, darker web of secrets, which will force Maisie to revisit the horrors of the Great War and the love she left behind."
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