This is the first of two posts, mainly because of length. If you've already read any of these, please feel free to comment!
As World War I moves full speed ahead, an American spy climbs aboard the Lusitania in pursuit of a supposed SS agent and becomes entangled with a secretive actress as well as underground politics in Britain and the Middle East. This international espionage thriller is book 2 of the Christopher Marlowe Cobb series, following The Hot Country. Mysterious Press, August 2013.
A father from Nova Scotia travels to London in 1916, hoping to become a cartographer while searching for his wife's brother, but instead gets thrust directly into the fighting; meanwhile, his son attempts to hold down the fort back home in their small fishing village. This literary family saga, a debut novel, juxtaposes life in the trenches with scenes back at home, where pacifist sentiment vies with patriotic fervor. Norton/Liveright, October 2013.
From one of my favorite thriller authors (I read his contemporary novels too!) comes a new tale of historical espionage set in Paris just after the Great War. As the diplomatic community decides how best to keep Germany manageable and powerless, the pilot son of a British diplomat determines to solve his father's murder whatever the cost. I understand this is the first book in a series, so expect some loose threads at the finale. Bantam UK, August 2013.
In 1920, three women of London struggle with their day-to-day lives after enduring considerable wartime loss. As they slowly awaken from their dreary existence, it becomes clear that their stories are twisted together more closely than they know. Hope, an English actress and writer, plays upon the triple meaning of her title ("emerge or cause to emerge from sleep; ritual for the dead; consequence or aftermath") in her involving debut novel, which I've read and can recommend. Random House US / Doubleday UK, February 2014.
British war widow Stella Nolan not only has to face the loss of her husband, who she had married after a brief but exciting romance, but she also must move in with her in-laws, who aren't exactly thrilled about at welcoming her into their home. The latest gentle romance from a prolific author of British sagas. Severn House, August 2013.
Renowned author Keneally presents an Australian viewpoint of the war's front lines in his story of two sisters, both nurses, who travel from their family's dairy farm in Australia to help with the war effort in the Dardanelles and in France. Atria, August 2013; also Sceptre (UK), October 2012, and Vintage Australia, June 2012.
In this adventurous and suspenseful story of love during wartime, a wounded British lieutenant now serving in a dangerous role – a balloon observer high above the Ypres Salient – tumbles down into enemy territory and is rescued by Belgian farmers. With the unique perspective of Long's protagonist, this one would be on my list even if I hadn't previously loved his time-slip novel Ferney. Quercus (UK), March 2014.
In this debut from Australian writer MacColl, which celebrates the courageous roles and actions of women during the war, an aging widow from Brisbane reminisces about her service in France, when she worked in a hospital for wounded soldiers while searching for her younger brother. Penguin, September 2013; also Allison & Busby, March 2013, and Allen & Unwin (Aus), October 2012.