Rosie’s #Bookreview Of #WW2 #HistoricalFiction THE LIFELINE by @swiftstory #TuesdayBookBlog

The Lifeline: A wartime saga set in Nazi-occupied Norway (World War Two Sagas)The Lifeline: A wartime saga set in Nazi-occupied Norway by Deborah Swift

4.5 stars

The Lifeline is a World War Two historical fiction. The story takes place during the 1942 occupation of Norway and follows the lives of two Norwegians: Jørgen Nystrøm a wireless transmitter for the Resistance and Astrid Dahl, a school teacher.

Early in the story Nystrøm becomes wanted by the Nazis and he goes on the run, hoping to get to England via the Shetland Islands. Meanwhile, Astrid turns into an agitator, refusing to follow the new Nazi teaching syllabus while inciting her fellow teachers to protest over the new teaching contracts. Her dissent lands her in trouble with the police and she is forced into hiding.

I liked this story, there was plenty of fear and terror which felt realistic. What went on in the schools and how the teachers tried to resist those changes was particularly interesting, as was the escape route via The Shetland islands, which was followed first by Nystrøm and later by Astrid.  I could easily imagine the horrors of the cross-country journey and the fear of reprisals by the Germans against Norwegians found helping refugees or those seen as criminals. The ‘Shetland Bus’ elements were also a first for me, as I had not heard of this before; the men who put their lives on the line each time they went out in the stormy seas were very brave.

I’m really glad that I read this story; it had all the gritty tension that I enjoy in this genre.

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Book description

From the heart of Norway to Shetland in Scotland, one couple fight to overthrow the Nazis…

1942, Nazi-occupied Norway

Schoolteacher Astrid Dahl has always kept out of trouble. But when she is told to teach the fascist Nazi curriculum, she refuses and starts a teacher’s rebellion, persuading eight thousand teachers to go on strike.

The Germans arrest her, and terrified of what punishment her trial might bring, she is forced to go into hiding.

Astrid’s boyfriend, Jørgen Nystrøm, has joined the Norwegian Resistance. When his cover is blown he escapes to Shetland where he is taken on as crew for the Shetland Bus; a dangerous clandestine operation of small fishing boats that supply arms and intelligence to war-torn Norway.

In Shetland, hearing Astrid is in trouble, Jørgen sets off through enemy waters to meet her.

But the Nazis have a spy on Shetland and have been tipped off about the Shetland Bus.

With the enemy in pursuit from both directions, will Astrid and Jørgen be able to find each other?

Or will they be separated forever by the brutal Nazi regime?

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Rosie’s #Bookreview Of #WW2 #HistoricalFiction BREAKING POINT by John Rhodes #TuesdayBookBlog

Breaking Point by John Rhodes

5 stars

Breaking Point is a World-War-Two historical novel based on actual events during the Battle Of Britain. The story alternates between Johnnie, a spitfire pilot who is in the middle of the conflict, and Eleanor, a talented mathematician. She uses a theorem to help the RAF maintain superiority during the days surrounding the fight, when the odds look as if they are against them.

Johnnie Shaux is a pilot in 339 Squadron; every day that he comes home alive he’s beating the average pilot survival rate, but he’s realistic about his chances of continued existence. When the airfield his team use is bombed, they are moved to a reserve site which was once a village cricket green. The local villagers rally to provide food and shelter while a retired college professor is drafted in to transform the green grass into a working airfield.

Eleanor Rand works at the Air Ministry in London, her job is to put together air battle reports. With the Luftwaffe’s increased bombing raids against the RAF the figures look depressing. But Eleanor believes that she can do something more with the figures and she works out how best to deploy the dwindling numbers RAF pilots and place them where they are most effective against the larger number of German aircraft.

This was a very interesting story, I love well-written war tales, and I felt all the tension and terror as if I was right there with the characters. Taking to the skies with Johnnie was never dull and the air battle scenes were written in such a way that each one was understandable without it feeling like it was dumbed down for the reader. I enjoyed the camaraderie within the squadron too, especially when they weren’t flying, but the horrors of war were never forgotten or overlooked. Eleanor’s mathematical approach was so convincing and it made me believe it was totally plausible; the author did a really good job of making it appealing to this non-mathematician.

At the end of the book the author provides a series of notes, which were just as interesting as his story; I read them all. I’m now looking forward to reading book two of this series as Breaking Point ticked all my boxes for a really good piece of historical fiction from the world war era.

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Book description

It is August, 1940. Hitler’s triumphant Third Reich has crushed all Europe—except Britain. As Hitler launches a massive aerial assault, only the heavily outnumbered British RAF and the iron will of Winston Churchill can stop him. The fate of Western civilization teeters in the balance.

Johnnie Shaux, a Spitfire fighter pilot, knows that the average life expectancy of a pilot is a mere five hours of operational flying time. Sooner or later his luck will run out. Yet he must constantly summon up the fortitude to fly into conditions in which death is all but inevitable and continue to do so until the inevitable occurs…

Meanwhile, Eleanor Rand, a WAAF staff officer in RAF headquarters, is struggling to find her role in a man’s world and to make a contribution to the battle. She studies the control room maps that track the ebb and flow of conflict, the aerial thrust and parry, and begins to see the glimmerings of a radical strategic breakthrough…

Breaking Point is based on the actual events of six days in the historic Battle of Britain. The story alternates between Johnnie, face to face with the implacable enemy; and Eleanor, in 11 Group headquarters, using ‘zero-sum’ game theory to evolve a strategic model of the battle.

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Rosie’s #BookReview of #WW2 #HistoricalFiction MADAM FIOCCA by Suzy Henderson

Madame FioccaMadame Fiocca by Suzy Henderson

3.5 stars

Madame Fiocca is a World War Two historical fiction based on the true story of Nancy Wake.

Nancy was born in New Zealand, but she lived in Australia. She left home at a young age and trained first as a nurse and then as a journalist. During the build up to the second world war, Nancy found work based in Paris. She met and married French industrialist Henri Fiocca and for a short time they lived together in Marseille.

Here Nancy supported the allies where she was part of important escape lines, then later towards the end of the war, in her Special Operations Executive role, she coordinated bands of local resistance fighters. Her bravery was recognised and she was awarded several war medals.

I enjoy reading stories based on the real lives of the brave men and women throughout history and I easily read the first half of this book in one sitting. However, I wasn’t so convinced by the second half of the book. I enjoyed the story of Nancy’s life but I didn’t get as much sense of the atmosphere as I did in the first part. I felt that the real fear and danger was missing from the narrative. So, overall, I liked Nancy’s story but some of its deliverance didn’t quite hit the spot for me.

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Book description

A gripping tale of love and espionage in Occupied France, based on true events.

February 1933: When her aunt gifts her two hundred pounds, twenty-year-old Nancy Wake embarks on a world cruise. Afterwards, she becomes a journalist and finds work in Paris. The city is glamorous, brimming with journalists, artists, and refugees.

While travelling across Europe on assignments, she catches the eye of wealthy industrialist Henri Fiocca, and destiny intervenes.

But as clouds of war swarm over Europe, German troops are on the march. Horrified when she witnesses Nazis whipping Jews on Vienna’s streets, Nancy vows to stop them if she ever has the chance.

When Paris falls, an encounter with a British officer draws her into the heart of an escape network. Soon she is caught in a deadly game of espionage.

As the iron fist of the enemy tightens, Nancy and Henri face a heart-breaking decision.

What happens when doing right is the road to ruin?

A must-read gripping adventure based on the true story of Nancy Wake, Gestapo’s most wanted in World War Two France.

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