All the Light We Cannot See Read-Alikes

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Article in Adult Fiction, Historical, and Read-Alikes

This is a list of read-alikes for All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr.

In this beautifully written novel, the paths of a blind French girl and a German boy collide amidst the landscape of World War II Europe. Marie-Laure, evacuates Nazi-occupied Paris with her father who was a locksmith for the Museum of Natural History. Meanwhile, a young German orphan Werner becomes skilled in building and fixing radios, earning him an honored place in the Hitler Youth. Marie's courage and Werner's skills converge in St. Malo, France, on the day that it will be destroyed by American bombers. Short chapters, descriptive language, and unforgettable characters encapsulate this historical fiction which touches on several subjects which might be of further interest.


  • F Atkinson, Kate
Life After Life
A beautiful story exploring the alternate paths that one woman's life can take, and the impact that it could have in history, set against the backdrop of the early 20th century, leading up to and throughout World War II; Similarities: Setting, character driven novels, shifting narratives.
  • F Belfoure, Charles
The Paris Architect
Although architect Lucien Bernard has little empathy for the Jews in Nazi-occupied Paris, he can’t resist the challenge of devising secret hiding places for them, especially when a large sum of money is presented to him. When one of his hiding places fails, and the suffering of the Jews becomes personal, he can no longer ignore what’s really at stake. Similarities: Realities of war-time morals and obligations; the test of characters’ strengths; and interesting characters who find puzzles in everyday objects.
  • F Elkins, Kimberly
What is Visible
A well-researched historical fiction about Laura Bridgman, was the first deaf-blind American to be taught to communicate through the manual alphabet in mid-nineteenth century America. Similarities: a blind character who must navigate her inner world and find a way to work in the world outside of her own head, and the amazing life she was able to lead despite extreme difficulties.
  • F Hannah, Kristin
The Nightingale
In this book set in Nazi-occupied France, two sisters take different paths in their struggle against the occupation. Similarities: Setting, and the courage to forge a dangerous path, the resilience of the human spirit.
  • F Hegi, Ursula
Children and Fire
A passionate teacher, drawn in by nationalist leanings and Nazi propaganda, convinces her 10 year old students to join the Hitler Youth, which she believes will give them a better chance at succeeding later in school. As the war progresses, she must make choices when her morals are telling her she can no longer keep silent. Told through individual characters, Hegi shows readers how a society that is educated, cultural, and compassionate, can be manipulated by propaganda. Similarities: Seduction of Nazi propaganda, moral courage, and multiple viewpoints which highlight various impacts of the war.
  • M Krueger, Kent
Ordinary Grace
A mystery narrated from the protagonist, now grown, who was forced to grow up too fast.
  • F Mandel, Emily St. John
Station Eleven
In the days after civilization’s collapse, a small troupe of actors and musicians called the Traveling Symphony will find themselves tied together through a strange twist of fate. Similarities: Character-driven plot, shifting narratives that move back and forth in time to reveal major plot points.
  • F Marra, Anthony
A Constellation of Vital Phenomena
“On the morning after the Feds burned down her house and took her father, Havaa woke from dreams of sea anemones.” When eight-year-old newly-orphaned orphan Havaa is found in the woods, she’s cared for by her father’s best friend, Akhmed. With Havaa, he seeks refuge at an abandoned hospital where the remaining doctor, Sonja, treats the wounded in Volchansk, Chechnya. Over the course of their days there, an unlikely connection will seal their fates together. Similarities: Shifting narratives which jump through time, ultimately revealing how these characters’ lives intersect in astounding ways.
  • F Moore, Susanna
The Life of Objects
In 1938, a young woman is enamored when she comes to live in Berlin with the Metzenburgs, who are art collectors with high profile friends. Their world is changed irrevocably when the Nazis come to their doorstep.
  • F Morgenstern, Erin
The Night Circus
The competition between dueling magicians Celia and Margo intensifies as their attraction for one another grows. The elegant setting of the mysterious circus in Victorian London enhances this story, which is also a standout audiobook read by Jim Dale. Similarities: Morgenstern’s ability to transport readers into the story through her deft use descriptive language and settings; seemingly star-crossed prodigies are drawn together despite their backgrounds.
  • F Morton, Kate
The Secret Keeper
Sixteen-year-old Laurel Nicolson witnesses a murder that haunts her for the next fifty years, shaping her beliefs, her career, and her relationship with her mother. She uncovers her mother’s history piece by piece, which is interwoven with two strangers from vastly different worlds she met by chance in wartime London. Similarities: Interconnected lives, unfolding secrets, shifting narratives, and descriptive language.
  • F Orringer, Julie
The Invisible Bridge
Andras Levi is a Hungarian-Jewish architecture student in Paris, 1937. After promising to deliver a mysterious letter, he falls into a relationship with the letter’s recipient, learning secrets that will alter the course of his family’s history. Similarities: a similar setting and overarching tone that touch on the large scale impact of WWII; family dynamics.
  • F Rosnay, Tatiana de
Sarah's Key
A novel of the French occupation by the Nazis, following the dual stories of Sarah, a ten-year-old girl in 1942 Paris, and journalist Julia in 2002 Paris. Sarah is arrested with her family, but not before locking her younger brother in a cupboard thinking that she will be back soon. Julia reevaluates her own life after uncovering Sarah's. Similarities: Intersecting lives and stories, France during occupation, and compelling historical fiction writing.
  • F Stedman, M.L.
The Light Between Oceans
In a remote island off of Australia, a lighthouse keeper and his wife make a difficult decision when a baby washes ashore in a small boat. Similarities: Exquisite language that illuminates the setting, making you feel like you are right there with the characters.
  • F Winterson, Jeanette
A young orphan girl is taken in by a blind lighthousekeeper on the Scottish coast, who tells her stories of a clergyman, Babel Dark, who lives two lives - one of darkness and deception, and one of love. Similarities: the transformative powers of storytelling, interconnected stories, and descriptive language.
  • YA Zusak, Marcus
The Book Thief
In this compelling tale, Death narrates the story of Liesel Meminger, who becomes enraptured by books that have been banned in WWII Germany. Also great as an audiobook. Similarities: the tenderness and innocence of childhood against the hideous backdrop of WWII; amazing imagery.


  • 940.531 Edsel
The Monument's Men
  • 940.5472 Hillenbrand, Laura