World War II novels 'All the Light We Cannot See' and 'The Nightingale' stay strong on bestseller lists

Both novels were well-reviewed and center on characters in occupied France.

'All the Light We Cannot See' is by Anthony Doerr and 'The Nightingale' is by Kristin Hannah.

Two well-received World War II novels continue to succeed on the bestseller lists.

Anthony Doerr’s “All the Light We Cannot See,” which centers on a French girl who is blind and a German boy with a talent for radios who are brought together by a mysterious jewel, and “The Nightingale” by Kristin Hannah, which follows two French sisters living in occupied France, are both holding steady on bestseller lists. “Light” is ranked at number two on the IndieBound hardcover fiction list for the week of April 2, while “Nightingale” comes in at number eight. Meanwhile, on the New York Times combined print and e-book fiction bestseller list for the week of April 12, “Light” comes in at number five, while “Nightingale” is right below it at number six.

“Light” did come out some time before “Nightingale,” with Doerr’s novel first debuting in 2014. The novel sold particularly well near the end of the year at independent bookstores after debuting the previous May, when both the Monitor and Amazon selected the title as one of the best books to be released that month. “[This] may be Doerr’s best work to date,” Monitor fiction critic Yvonne Zipp wrote of the book.

Meanwhile, “Nightingale” was released this past February and was named by Amazon as one of the best titles to come out in that month. “This is going to be a huge book,” Amazon editorial director Sara Nelson predicted at the time in an interview with the Monitor. 

Of course, in terms of the books’ success, reader interest in World War II never seems to go away, as evidenced by nonfiction bestseller lists as well. Bill O’Reilly’s book with Martin Dugard, “Killing Patton,” is currently at number 11 on the IndieBound hardcover nonfiction list and at number 12 on the NYT print and e-book combined nonfiction list, while another World War II story, Laura Hillenbrand’s “Unbroken,” is still at number five on the NYT list.

of stories this month > Get unlimited stories
You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.

Unlimited digital access $11/month.

Get unlimited Monitor journalism.