Europe Day is celebrated annually in May as a recognition of peace and unity in Europe following the second World War. It specifically memorializes the signing of the Schuman Declaration, which was the first of a series of institutions that would lead to the creation of the European Union. In honor of this day, here are 7 books set in Europe to give you a greater appreciation for this part of the world and its storied past.
The Maggie Bright by Tracy Groot
England, 1940. Clare Childs knew life would change when she unexpectedly inherited the Maggie Bright—a noble fifty-two-foot yacht. In fact, she’s counting on it. But the boat harbors secrets. When a stranger arrives, searching for documents hidden onboard, Clare is pulled into a Scotland Yard investigation that could shed light on Hitler’s darkest schemes and prompt America to action. Across the Channel, Hitler’s Blitzkrieg has the entire British army in retreat with little hope for rescue at the shallow beaches of Dunkirk. With time running out, Churchill recruits civilian watercraft to help. Hitler is attacking from land, air, and sea, and any boat that goes might not return. Yet Clare knows Maggie Bright must answer the call—piloted by an American who has refused to join the war effort until now and a detective with a very personal motive for exposing the truth.
Catching the Wind by Melanie Dobson
What happened to Brigitte Berthold?
That question has haunted Daniel Knight since he was thirteen, when he and ten-year-old Brigitte escaped the Gestapo agents who arrested both their parents. They survived a harrowing journey from Germany to England, only to be separated upon their arrival. Daniel vowed to find Brigitte after the war, a promise he has fought to fulfill for more than seventy years. Now a wealthy old man, Daniel’s final hope in finding Brigitte rests with Quenby Vaughn, an American journalist working in London. Though Quenby is wrestling her own demons—and wary at the idea of teaming up with Daniel’s lawyer, Lucas Hough—the lure of Brigitte’s story is too much to resist.
Where Treasure Hides by Johnnie Alexander
Artist Alison Schuyler spends her time working in her family’s renowned art gallery, determined to avoid the curse that has followed the Schuyler clan from the Netherlands to America and back again. She’s certain that true love will only lead to tragedy—that is, until a chance meeting at Waterloo station brings Ian Devlin into her life. Drawn to the bold and compassionate British Army captain, Alison begins to question her fear of love as World War II breaks out, separating the two and drawing each into their own battles. While Ian fights for freedom on the battlefield, Alison works with the Dutch Underground to find a safe haven for Jewish children and priceless pieces of art alike. As time, war, and human will struggle to keep them apart, will Alison and Ian have the faith to fight for their love, or is it their fate to be separated forever?
Secrets She Kept by Cathy Gohlke
All her life, Hannah Sterling longed for a close relationship with her estranged mother. Following Lieselotte’s death, Hannah determines to unlock the secrets of her mother’s mysterious past and is shocked to discover a grandfather living in Germany.
Thirty years earlier, Lieselotte’s father is quickly ascending the ranks of the Nazi party, and a proper marriage for his daughter could help advance his career. Lieselotte is in love—but her beloved Lukas is far from an ideal match, as he secretly works against the Reich. Yet Lieselotte never imagined how far her father would go to ensure her cooperation.
Saving Amelie by Cathy Gohlke
Increasingly wary of her father’s genetic research, Rachel Kramer has determined that this trip with him to Germany—in the summer of 1939—will be her last. But a cryptic letter from her estranged friend, begging Rachel for help, changes everything. Married to SS officer Gerhardt Schlick, Kristine sees the dark tides turning and fears her husband views their daughter, Amelie, deaf since birth, as a blight on his Aryan bloodline. Now hunted by the SS, Rachel turns to Jason Young—a driven, disarming American journalist and unlikely ally—who connects her to the resistance and to controversial theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer. Forced into hiding, Rachel’s every ideal is challenged as she and Jason walk a knife’s edge, risking their lives—and asking others to do the same—for those they barely know but come to love.
Tangled Ashes by Michèle Phoenix
When Marshall Becker arrives in Lamorlaye, France, to begin the massive renovation of a Renaissance-era castle, he unearths a dark World War II history few in the village remember. The project that was meant to provide an escape for Becker instead becomes a gripping glimpse into the human drama that unfolded during the Nazi occupation and seems to live on in midnight disturbances and bizarre acts of vandalism.
The Auschwitz Escape by Joel C. Rosenberg
As the Nazi war machine rolls across Europe, young Jacob Weisz is forced to flee his beloved Germany and join an underground resistance group in Belgium. But when a rescue operation goes horribly wrong, Jacob finds himself trapped in a crowded cattle car headed to southern Poland. Sentenced to hard labor in the Auschwitz labor camp, Jacob forms an unlikely alliance with Jean-Luc Leclerc, a former assistant pastor who was imprisoned for helping Jews. They’ve been chosen for one of the most daring and dangerous feats imaginable—escape from Auschwitz. With no regard for their own safety, they must make it to the West and alert the Allies to the awful truth of what is happening in Poland before Fascism overtakes all of Europe. The fate of millions hangs in the balance.