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My Progress:

12 / 30 books. 40% done!

2024 Literary Escapes Challenge

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My Progress:

28 / 51 states. 55% done!

2024 Historical Fiction Reading Challenge

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23 / 50 books. 46% done!

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23 / 50 books. 46% done!

Booklist Queen's 2024 Reading Challenge

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40 / 52 books. 77% done!

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27 / 40 books. 68% done!

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10 / 25 books. 40% done!

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12 / 26.2 miles. 46% done!

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26 / 100 books. 26% done!

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64 / 104 books. 62% done!

Around the Year in 52 Books Reading Challenge

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43 / 52 books. 83% done!

Disney Animated Movies Reading Challenge

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69 / 165 books. 42% done!
Friday, December 03, 2021

World War II Homefront Mystery a Compelling, Thought-Provoking Read

(Image from Barnes & Noble)

When Gordon Hooper meets Dorie Armitage—the sister of his college buddy, Jack—he's instantly smitten. She's got a zest for life that is hugely appealing to his more sedate self. Before their romance makes it farther than a few flirty letters, Pearl Harbor is bombed, pulling the U.S. into war. As a Quaker, Gordon refuses to fight. Dorie is outraged at his cowardice and even more enraged that Gordon has convinced Jack to be a conscientious objector as well. She refuses to speak to either one of them ever again.

Three years later, Gordon and Jack have been assigned by the Civil Public Service (CPS) to work as smokejumpers in an Oregon forest. Although not everyone is happy about their presence, mostly the pacifists are left alone to do their jobs. As a member of the Women's Army Corps (WAC), Dorie also faces her share of prejudice. Still, she loves doing her part for the war effort by working as a mechanic at Fort Lawton, volunteering at a nearby hospital, and being a charming date for lonely, homesick soldiers-in-training. 

When Jack is badly burned in a suspicious wildfire, Gordon is devastated. And angry. He knows there's more to the story than his superiors are letting on. When he shares the awful news in a letter to Dorie, he never expects her to reply let alone show up at his strike camp on a phony Army assignment. Together, the two form a tense, secret partnership to find out what really happened to Jack. What they uncover shocks them both. With the fate of the nation hanging in the balance, they must examine the deepest parts of their hearts and souls as they decide what to do with a very dangerous secret.

I've been seeing nothing but rave reviews for The Lines Between Us by Amy Lynn Green, so I was thrilled when Bethany House sent me a copy of the book for review. I've read a lot of World War II novels, but only a few that take place entirely within the U.S. The Lines Between Us offers up a new perspective on what it was like for American soldiers who were given non-combatant assignments, whether by choice or not. Through Gordon, Jack, and Dorie, Green examines the roles and ideals of conscientious objectors versus those of a gung-ho soldier who's proud to fight for her country, even though her gender prevents her from serving on the front lines. This contrast provides plenty of tension and conflict to keep the story interesting, while also giving the reader some intriguing food for thought. Beyond that, The Lines Between Us is also a compelling mystery that brings to light a piece of WWII history I knew nothing about. The novel's characters are a likable bunch, whose flaws make them relatable, while allowing all to grow throughout the tale. Surprisingly, given that the book starts with a budding romance, the love stories here are subtle and not a major part of the tale. This is a Christian novel, so faith plays a central role. Still, the book never gets overly preachy or cheesy. In fact, characters are shown wrestling with the tenants of their various religions, struggling to understand what is right when their convictions are being challenged on every side. This questioning makes the characters both believable and relatable, while also prompting readers to ask themselves what they would do in a similar situation. For all these reasons and more, I very much enjoyed The Lines Between Us. I'm going to recommend it to my book club because it's a clean, interesting, well-written novel that is brimming with discussion-worthy material. You better believe I'm also going to be checking out the author's previous book as well as everything she writes in future.

(Readalikes:  Reminds me of Promise to Return by Elizabeth Byler Younts)


If this were a movie, it would be rated:

for violence and scenes of peril

To the FTC, with love: I received a print copy of The Lines Between Us from the generous folks at Bethany House in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!

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