“Embark on a harrowing journey from Norway to Shetland, escaping death and fighting the Nazis at every turn!” ~ Deborah Swift
I couldn’t put The Lifeline down! This riveting portrayal of the Shetland Bus — a small army of fishing boats that would go into Norway from Shetland, Scotland, to retrieve refugees, deploy Resistance members, transport military equipment used to collect information, and be utilized on the frontlines to defeat the Nazis — and the Norwegian Teacher’s Strike — a revolt that led 12,000 teachers to fight against the fascist curriculum the Nazis required to be taught in the schools after their invasion — introduced a new narrative of World War II that I had not heard before. Each chapter took me further into the danger of standing for truth and refusing to back down, despite the threat of losing your life to save countless others!
“We must be willing to let go of the life we have planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us.” E.M Forster
Jørgen Nystrøm has been working with the Resistance as a W/T operator for eighteen months. Hiding in plain sight, he sends transmissions to England so the British army can continue their fight against the Nazis, who have invaded Norway, his homeland. However, when the Nazis get wind of his mission, they pursue Jørgen, forcing him to flee to Shetland and say goodbye to his girlfriend, Astrid, whom he may never see again. No one is to be trusted, but in a war where everyone must fight to survive, Jørgen will learn that sometimes you have to lean on the enemy for life!
“The first law of survival. Keep yourself armed. The second law? Be prepared. But be prepared to change. Being married to any ideology leads to tyranny in the end.” ~ Deborah Swift
Living a quiet life, Astrid Dahl wasn’t planning on joining the Resistance. A teacher at the local school in Oslo, Astrid hoped that things would not change with the Nazi’s invasion, but after Jørgen’s disappearance and the Nazis implementing a fascist curriculum into the schools, Astrid takes action! Recruiting teachers from all over the country, Astrid begins a rebellion against the new school system, refusing to teach Nazi propaganda. Going on strike, she and many other teachers begin to educate their students secretly, creating new material to further the children’s studies; however, as the pressure intensifies and the Nazis begin to watch Astrid’s activities, she has to make a decision. Will she stay in Oslo and take her chances with the Nazis, or will she flee the country to survive?
“Summer would soon be coming and over there, somewhere, lay Shetland; a place of peace, pure air, and wide-open spaces — an island still free.” ~ Deborah Swift
The Lifeline had me gripping the edge of my seat from the first page! I don’t know about you, but I usually start books hoping that there will be a happy ending; however, I wasn’t sure what to expect with this novel and braced myself for either scenario. The characters were so relatable and realistic that each event made it feel like I was the one in the story!
Would you risk your life to save the ones you love? What would you do if your heart told you not to trust someone even though everyone around you disagreed? Are you capable of taking someone’s life if it means saving yourself and others?
There is nothing sweet or lovely about war. It is brutal and will take down anything and anyone that gets in its way, yet, humans continue to fight for what’s right, no matter the cost. In all the grit and blood, a light comes out when we work together to stop the enemy. The Lifeline was another narrative that highlighted the bravery of the many individuals who risked their lives to thwart the Nazis. Living and dying for the freedom of humanity is not something to be taken lightly, and each time the choice was raised in the story, the author did an exceptional job showing the sacrifice and strength that comes when we are forced to fight until our dying breath.
The Lifeline was not only a novel based on true events that took place in 1940-42; it is also a wake-up call for us not to allow what happened back then to occur today! We must continue to fight for what is right and not back down when governments and organizations tell us to teach, act, or respond in ways that come against all we know to be true. Let your voice be heard, and never back down in the face of adversity! Jørgen and Astrid’s stories were an inspiration to me and, I believe, will ignite a fire in anyone who picks up this book!
*Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for providing me with a pre-release copy of this book. My thoughts and opinions are entirely my own!*
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