Apologies for my slight delay with this blog post, however I am delighted to share my review of Eliza Graham’s, ‘The Lines We Leave Behind’. Many thanks to EdPr for the blog tour invite and the ARC. Here is my review:
England, 1947: A young woman finds herself under close observation in an insane asylum, charged with a violent crime she has no memory of committing. As she tries to make sense of her recent past, she recalls very little.
But she still remembers wartime in Yugoslavia. There she and her lover risked everything to carry out dangerous work resisting the Germans—a heroic campaign in which many brave comrades were lost. After that, the trail disappears into confusion. How did she come to be trapped in a living nightmare?
As she struggles to piece together the missing years of her life, she will have to confront the harrowing experiences of her special-operations work and peacetime marriage. Only then can she hope to regain the vital memories that will uncover the truth: is she really a violent criminal…or was she betrayed?
What does TWG think?
I am going to put my hands up and say that, at first, I really didn’t think that I would like this book. I know that sounds slightly negative, but hear me out. I am a massive fan of WWII novels, but my experience of reading wartime novels set anywhere other than Britain is very limited. Would I struggle to understand the crimes which happened in other places during the war? Would I be able to keep up with the storyline in a country I have had pretty much nothing to do with in real life, let alone fiction? I couldn’t help but ask myself those questions as I read the first few chapters of ‘The Lines We Leave Behind’. So, going back to my earlier comment, I didn’t think that I would like this book at first because I guess I didn’t feel intelligent enough to read it. Every page of ‘The Lines We Leave Behind’ is full of in-depth situations, detailed discussions, and quite a bit of to-ing and fro-ing between the main character’s past and present.
After attempting to dismiss my earlier thoughts, I got stuck into Maud’s life and the awful predicament she has unfortunately found herself in. How did she end up living in an asylum? Why can she remember some parts of her life, yet draws a blank when she attempts to think of other events?
Once again I am holding my hands up to say that, after several chapters of eye-opening material, I ended up surrounding to the book in its entirety. Wow – yes, this book is very, very deep and often dark, but oh my goodness me, what a brilliant, brilliant novel this is. I cannot believe I even thought that I wouldn’t like it at first! It was certainly hard-hitting to read what Maud’s life was like during the war and the devastating things she came across. I had absolutely no idea that times in Yugoslavia were so devastating, but I am so very glad that Eliza Graham has written the theme into her storyline to educate people on wartime events outside of Britain.
‘The Lines We Leave Behind’ blew me away from the attention to detail whilst Maud was in service, to the psychologically damaging events later on down the line which I couldn’t help but feel emotional about. Poor Maud had lost years and years of her life due to somebody else’s actions, or did she? The text may be black and white (literally), yet the author has given her readers free reign to interpret Maud’s situation in the latter half of the book. Well, at least that’s what I felt that I was able to do!
I am so pleased that I didn’t pay too much attention to my first impression of ‘The Lines We Leave Behind’ as it has turned into one of my all-time favourite books of 2018 due to its incredible level of intensity, magnetic storytelling by Eliza Graham, as well as its poignant and highly emotive attention to detail. I cannot recommend it enough.