1. Small Island by Andrea Levy
Jamaican airmen stationed in England during the Second World War find that the ‘Mother Country’ is less welcoming than they’d expected.
2. The Charioteer by Mary Renault
A soldier wounded at Dunkirk and recovering in an English hospital falls in love with a conscientious objector working as a hospital wardsman.
3. Marking Time and Confusion from the Cazalet Chronicles by Elizabeth Jane Howard
The Cazalet family’s privileged lives are changed forever when England goes to war.
4. Westwood by Stella Gibbons
Plain, bookish Margaret and her beautiful friend Hilda are drawn into the orbit of a pompous playwright in Blitz-battered London – but who is exploiting whom?
5. The Night Watch by Sarah Waters
Four Londoners – all on the outskirts of society because they’ve fallen in love with the wrong people, all terribly damaged by the war – have their interlinking stories gradually revealed in a clever narrative that travels backwards through the 1940s.