Monday Give Away: THE FIRE BY NIGHT

I tend to be a rather picky reader, but every now and again, a book just grabs me. Teresa Messineo’s The Fire by Night was one of those books.

Here’s the official blurb:

fire by nightA powerful and evocative debut novel about two American military nurses during World War II that illuminates the unsung heroism of women who risked their lives in the fight—a riveting saga of friendship, valor, sacrifice, and survival combining the grit and selflessness of Band of Brothers with the emotional resonance of The Nightingale.

In war-torn France, Jo McMahon, an Italian-Irish girl from the tenements of Brooklyn, tends to six seriously wounded soldiers in a makeshift medical unit. Enemy bombs have destroyed her hospital convoy, and now Jo singlehandedly struggles to keep her patients and herself alive in a cramped and freezing tent close to German troops. There is a growing tenderness between her and one of her patients, a Scottish officer, but Jo’s heart is seared by the pain of all she has lost and seen. Nearing her breaking point, she fights to hold on to joyful memories of the past, to the times she shared with her best friend, Kay, whom she met in nursing school.

Half a world away in the Pacific, Kay is trapped in a squalid Japanese POW camp in Manila, one of thousands of Allied men, women, and children whose fates rest in the hands of a sadistic enemy. Far from the familiar safety of the small Pennsylvania coal town of her childhood, Kay clings to memories of her happy days posted in Hawaii, and the handsome flyer who swept her off her feet in the weeks before Pearl Harbor. Surrounded by cruelty and death, Kay battles to maintain her sanity and save lives as best she can . . . and live to see her beloved friend Jo once more.

When the conflict at last comes to an end, Jo and Kay discover that to achieve their own peace, they must find their place—and the hope of love—in a world that’s forever changed. With rich, superbly researched detail, Teresa Messineo’s thrilling novel brings to life the pain and uncertainty of war and the sustaining power of love and friendship, and illuminates the lives of the women who risked everything to save others during a horrifying time.

World War II seems to be having a fiction renaissance recently. I remember, back in the day, watching the larger than life Winds of War mini-series, going along for the adventure in Shining Through (which, in a roundabout way, provided the inspiration for my own Orchid Affair), sobbing over Mila 18, and, of course, Eva Ibbotson’s The Morning Gift. But then there was rather a gap.

For a chance to win my ARC of Teresa Messineo’s The Fire by Night, here’s your question: what’s your favorite World War II set book or show?

The winner will be announced on Wednesday.


  1. Mary Lou on April 24, 2017 at 8:35 am

    Show: Foyle’s War
    Book: A Town Like Alice

  2. Céline on April 24, 2017 at 9:27 am

    There is this book, Tatiana, by Paulina Simmons, about a young Russian girl named Tatiana, and an officer, Shura (Alexander), set in 1941 Russia, that was my first WWII book ever and I loved it, absolutely. The courage, the intensity of their love story, and the despair brought by the fighting. It was the most instense reading I had done in a long time! I still recommend it to people to this day!!

    • Julie on April 24, 2017 at 11:11 am

      Also one of my favorites!

      • Céline on April 24, 2017 at 11:31 am

        Yay!!!!!! ♥♥♥

  3. Carri Mefford on April 24, 2017 at 11:14 am

    Book: Kristin Hannah’s The Nightingale
    Movie: Tough one – probably The English Patient – and yes, this is one time I prefer the movie over the book!

  4. Daniele K on April 24, 2017 at 11:17 am

    Book – The Book Thief

  5. Julie on April 24, 2017 at 11:17 am

    So many favorites but one that stood out was Suite Francaise by Irene Nemirovsky. I would say Shining Through for movie and I’m currently enjoying Home Fires on pbs!

  6. Lauren D. on April 24, 2017 at 11:24 am

    Book would have to be The Book Thief.

    Show would have to be Bomb Girls, its a WWII set drama about women working in a munitions factory.

  7. Sarah WJ on April 24, 2017 at 11:25 am

    Book: Right now, The Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet. So moving!
    Show: Island at War, a BBC/Masterpiece Theater show about the occupation of the Channel Islands that I adore. It even stars young Joanna Froggatt and Sam Heughan pre-Downton Abbey and Outlander fame.

    • Tara on April 25, 2017 at 6:12 am

      I am so excited to start watching this show, especially knowing those two are in it.

  8. Kierstin on April 24, 2017 at 11:26 am

    Kristin Hannah’s The Nightingale was hauntingly good. I remember finishing it with tears streaming down my face.

  9. Randy Riddle on April 24, 2017 at 11:39 am

    Tatiana de Rosnay’s “Sarah’s Key”. Soo sooo good but so sad. I read it in high school and it has been a favorite since then.

  10. Chelsea cross on April 24, 2017 at 11:40 am

    Book would have to be Kristin Hannah’s the nightingale!! Its so good. But i also really loved number the stars (since childhood) and the book thief !! Tough choice!
    Movie would have to be the dirty dozen! My dad got me watching that as a little girl and even though it’s a “guy flick” I love it still today!!

  11. KarenR on April 24, 2017 at 11:41 am

    The Nightingale for sure!!!

  12. Jessica Waytenick on April 24, 2017 at 11:56 am

    Book – All the Light We Cannot See
    Movie – The Imitation Game

  13. LynnS on April 24, 2017 at 12:01 pm

    Book: The Diary of Anne Frank
    Movie: Night and Fog. It’s not a typical “favorite” and I certainly don’t like to watch it, but this French documentary is probably even more important now than when it was made in 1956.

  14. Debbie Mitchell on April 24, 2017 at 12:11 pm

    My favorite W W II book is Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand.

  15. Erin Gehringer on April 24, 2017 at 12:11 pm

    TV Show: I just finished binge watching bomb girls on Netflix. Very inserting. It follows a group of women who work in a munitions factory in Canada during WWII.

  16. Sheila on April 24, 2017 at 12:15 pm

    The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, about the rarely written about occupation of the Channel Islands by the Nazis. The title sounds like a cozy, but this is far from it, gripping in fact.

  17. Karen Townsend on April 24, 2017 at 12:16 pm

    It’s so hard to choose! I’m going with some that haven’t been mentioned yet. “Code Name Verity” and the followup book “Rose Under Fire” are both very moving books.
    There’s a BBC/Masterpiece Theater version of “A Town Like Alice” that has been one of my favorites since I first saw it years ago.

  18. Christine on April 24, 2017 at 12:20 pm

    Band of Brothers and The Pacific were so different from each other and fantastic in completely different ways. Also love Saving Private Ryan, and the new Upstairs Downstairs was set in the few years leading up to the war.

  19. Momma Sue on April 24, 2017 at 12:28 pm

    I love a whole shelf of WWII books–the Elswyth Thanes, the Delderfield books about The Avenue, The Maggie Hart books, but my favorites at the moment are Blackout and All Clear by Connie Willis. WWII meets time travel! An extraordinary and educational good time.

  20. Anna D. on April 24, 2017 at 12:49 pm

    Love and War in Apennines is a memoir by Eric Newby, a British officer who was hidden from the Germans by Italian locals. There is also a Hallmark movie based on the book, which is very good.

  21. Laura M on April 24, 2017 at 1:05 pm

    Hands down the best WW2 book I’ve ever read is Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein. The follow up (and sort of sequel) Rose Under Fire is also good but doesn’t hold a candle to Verity. Technically they are considered YA books but don’t let that stop you. My only caveat is DO NOT listen to the audio book while driving. (It is a very emotional book)

  22. Kylene on April 24, 2017 at 1:27 pm

    Code Name Verity is my favorite WWII book. A close second is Salt to the Sea.

  23. maria on April 24, 2017 at 1:51 pm

    I’m really enjoying Home Fires on PBS.

  24. Dianne on April 24, 2017 at 2:27 pm

    Gone to Soldiers by Marge Piercy I don’t know if it resonated with me because I was so young when I read it, but of all the WWII books I have read I have never forgotten this one.

  25. Laura on April 24, 2017 at 3:26 pm

    The Zion Chronicles, a book series by Bodie & Brock Thoene!

  26. Cecile on April 24, 2017 at 4:34 pm

    A Time To Live and A Time to Die by Erich Maria Remarque. It opened my eyes to the fact that there are at least 2 sides to any war.

  27. Noelle M on April 24, 2017 at 5:49 pm

    Book:And If I Perish by Evelyn Monohan and Rosemary Neidel-Greenlee

  28. Maria on April 24, 2017 at 6:48 pm

    Favorite book about WWII… Nonfiction would be The Diary of Anne Frank. Fiction The Book Thief the way its narrated just pulled me in. As for a TV/Movie Shindler’s List

  29. Rachel Adrianna on April 24, 2017 at 6:56 pm

    Oh dear, I thought it would be tough to choose and then these comments reminded me of even more well-loved books/mini-series/films set in WWII! I’m glad to see the variety of settings, too: Europe, Japan, Russia, America (and what it was like for various racial groups at the time), Africa… So I’ll mention my first favorite WWII book that I discovered in 4th grade, “Katarina” by Kathryn Winter. I think I read it 5 or 6 times that year!

  30. Laurie Blum on April 24, 2017 at 8:37 pm

    Fictional history, especially WWII, is my favorite genre .. would love to win a copy of this book to read & review .. thx for the chance to win ??

  31. Amanda on April 24, 2017 at 9:00 pm

    I read “Number the Stars” as a young girl and it has stuck with me throughout the years. It was beautiful. “Sarah’s Key” is another beautifully heart wrenching book as well.

  32. Dianne Casey on April 24, 2017 at 9:12 pm

    Movie – Unbroken
    Book – The Book Thief
    Would like to read “The Fire by Night”.

  33. Amy m on April 24, 2017 at 10:13 pm

    My favorite WWII book would probably be The Book Thief. Secrets She Kept by Cathy Gohlke was a surprisingly good read, too.

  34. Paulette Bosch on April 24, 2017 at 10:15 pm

    Clara’s War

  35. Carla on April 24, 2017 at 10:24 pm

    Boy, choosing one book as a wwII favorite might be the hardest question yet… So so many! I guess I’ll have to go with the one I re read almost every year, Guernsey literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. But I can’t not mention a book of WWII as seen by the Japanese, since they are my favorites too… The street of a thousand Blossoms.

  36. Erin on April 24, 2017 at 10:36 pm

    I know it’s terribly sad, but Schindler’s List is such a powerful (albeit heart-wrenching) movie. And The Book Thief or The Diary of Anne Frank would be at the top of my WWII-era book list.

  37. Jenny Collins Belk on April 25, 2017 at 2:01 am

    I’ve had my eye on this book. Would love to read it. Thanks for the chance. I’m a huge fan of WWII books.

  38. Jessica C on April 25, 2017 at 2:07 am

    In Australia a lot of the focus is on WW1, built upon the Gallipoli landing at ANZAC Cove and moving on to the charge of the Light Horse Brigade and then through the rest of the war. As I type this it is strongly on my mind as it is actually ANZAC Day, a public holiday of great importance (think Veteran’s Day/Remembrance Day with (for Americans) Independence Day thrown in). I always go to the Dawn Service on ANZAC Day, and it is always a day of mingling sadness and reflection for me (as well as many others).

    SO – WWII, while of course much mentioned (especially on ANZAC Day, when we remember all the fallen, especially the many ANZACS who fought and died in WWII particularly in PNG) doesn’t hold quite the same emotional resonance in literature and tv/movies here as it does in other countries. One of the best I’ve read is Kodoka by Peter FitzSimons, which is engrossing in its detail and captures the Australian spirit so well.

  39. Bekah on April 25, 2017 at 10:23 am

    All the Light We Cannot See was really good. And Corrie Ten Boom’s The Hiding Place is a favorite as well.

  40. Eve on April 25, 2017 at 8:34 pm

    WWII Show: Band of Brothers

  41. Betty Strohecker on April 29, 2017 at 3:18 pm

    I know the giveaway is over, but I enjoyed hearing about so many good books.

    Just read The Nightingale about a month ago – so powerful. The first Hannah book I read was The Winter Garden, which h is also good.

    Glad to see Number the Stars mentioned by several people. I read that book to my fifth graders every year for 15 years, and still got emotional when I read the final chapter.

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