Cover Image: The Lines We Leave Behind

The Lines We Leave Behind

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Member Reviews

3.5 stars overall.
There are a number of things to know about The Lines We Leave Behind in advance of reading it that might help you determine if it's for you: 
1) Flashbacks.
Most of the book is told in a series of flashbacks. Our narrator can only tell the parts of the story she knows (and so it may not be fulsome at times)
2) Action then Nothing.
The first 60% of this book is very quick, action-packed excitement. The last 40% is poignant, about relationships and our characters. It mellows right out. If you want a fast paced book for the whole time this is likely not for you.
3) Historical Context Lacking.
I was really hoping for some good insight into WWII and how it played out in the complex and politically unstable country of Yugoslavia at the time. Unfortunately Eliza Graham barely scratches the surface of what could have been a very informative book. While we learn about some of the rival groups and how many families were divided on either side of the conflict; the reality is that reading a Wiki page would give you more context and facts than we receive here. I was very disappointed by the lack of depth to this part of the story (and that in the afterward Graham even admits to the story being almost 100% fictional). 

Still Pretty Good
Now all that to say this is actually a well written book. It wasn't necessarily what I was hoping for; but that didn't stop me from loving our characters and feeling for them by the bittersweet ending. I was very invested with our leading lady, her combat friends and spy handler (for lack of a better description). 
Graham handles the idea of going from a covert high-adrenaline mission to average everyday life where no one knows how amazing you might have been at one moment in your life. This is a common experience for military, police, firefighters and EMS. Plus you also add in the PTSD aspects that invade at random times and it makes "normal" life feel very unsatisfying. 

Publication
The biggest disappointment I have with The Lines We Leave Behind has nothing to do with writing, characters, plot, etc. I hate that publishers today (ahem, Amazon) have 'exclusive' agreements to only have some books on their devices. I know many indie authors say that Amazon makes them the most money; but for those outside of the USA (the only country where Kindle is the top e-reader) it limits our options. I read this entirely on my iPhone because I have a Kobo, not a Kindle. But I did want to read it badly enough to suck it up. I do however worry that this limits the audience significantly. 
If I can give one piece of advice to indie authors; if you must start with Amazon for your first 6 months or a year do so. But then open up your book to all platforms and stores! There's (literally) hundreds of millions of people who may want to read your book but don't have Kindle capability. 

Please note: I received an eARC of this book from the publisher via NetGalley. This is an honest and unbiased review.
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There have been lots of WW2 books lately but this one was a unique plot and I found the Yugoslavia angle fascinating. I'll admit it's not an area of history I know tons about so I enjoyed it. Very well researched and hugely thought provoking.
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I liked this book, but had to push through a lot of the stuff in the middle about the war. Historical fiction is not my jam, but this has a little bit of a thriller aspect to it which is different. It wasn't bad, it just wasn't the book for me,  but if you enjoy WWII fiction this is worth a read.
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Thankyou to NetGalley, Amazon Publishing UK, Lake Union Publishing and the author, Eliza Graham, for the opportunity to read a digital copy of The Lines We Leave Behind in exchange for an honest and unbiased opinion.
What an incredibly powerful and compelling read. The storyline was well thought out and written with well developed characters. 
I was up into the early hours to finish reading this book. Definitely worth the sleep deprivation.
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An original, suspenseful story based on WW2 secret agent and partisan activity from London to Yugoslavia and all the drama and trauma suffered therein, as a woman struggles to recall her past from an asylum with the aid of a psychiatrist. This story just got better and better the more I read, it held my attention and expanded my typical France/Germany/UK WW2 reads because this one was based on war in Serb/Croat/Yugoslav territory which I knew very little about. The characters were well written, though I disliked Robert immensely (credit to the author for evoking such strong emotion in me!) as was the plot. Lastly, what a beautiful book cover too! With thanks to Netgalley and Lake Union Publishing for the digital copy to review.
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This is a story that keeps you wondering. It is about a girl in an insane asylum after WWII and her involvement in it. I would recommend this book to fans of historical fiction. 

I would like to thank Netgalley and the publisher for providing me with a copy of this book free of charge. This is my honest and unbiased opinion of it.
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The story starts in 1947 with Maud in an asylum accused of a violent crime...... but did she do it, she has no memory if doing so.   Through sessions with her therapist we start to learn her story as she has flashbacks and recovers her memory.  She had an a alter ego, Amber, as she was recruited in the war to go undercover in Yugoslavia.......... but who could she trust.... and what about Robert the man she fell in love with?

A great book that, although fairly slow burning to start of with, I couldn't put it down until I had uncovered all of the secrets and one of those books that stays with you after you have finished it
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The story opens in England, the year is 1947. Maud is in Woodlands Asylum, charged with a violent crime that she doesn't remember. 
Going back and forth from 1943, to the present, she writes down events as she recalls them and reviews them with her therapist, Dr. Rosenstein. As Maude slowly starts to recover her memories, she tells the doctor of meeting Robert Havers, an Intelligence agent during the war. He begins recruiting her for a special operation. They need a woman fluent in Serbo-Croat to parachute into an active war zone in northern Yugoslavia. Working with the Partisans, her main role is to pass information about parachute drops and landings, picking up downed Allied airmen and escaped POWs for rescue.
She changes her identity to Amber and begins training in Cairo, along with Naomi, a Jewish agent being sent in to set up resistance groups. While training, Amber has an affair with Robert, and begins to fall in love with him.
Once Amber and Naomi parachute into Yugoslavia, things immediately start to go wrong. It seems like the enemy  is one step ahead of them. Have they been infiltrated by a spy?
Tension mounts as Maude gets closer to finding out why she is locked up, and we finally learn the truth of the betrayals she has suffered.
A powerfully moving and intriguing story. One you won't soon forget. I thoroughly recommend reading this engrossing historical fiction novel.
Thank you to Lake Union Publishing and NetGalley for the free ebook in exchange for an honest review.
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Well researched and absorbing. A masterfully written historical storyline. Heartily recommend it to readers who, like myself, enjoy this genre.
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The Lines We Leave Behind is historical fiction about WWII and a woman in an asylum who cannot remember what she may have done. It's a frightening premise although engaging. Slowly paced, the heroine reveals things about events she experienced. I won't spoil anything. I will say this story is darker than I expected and disturbing at times. I recommend. It's very good overall.
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Not my favorite style of writing, the back and forth in time can be more than a bit confusing, particularly until the middle of the book where it all starts to come together. All in all, a compelling tale, that I would only like to have seen tied together better earlier. Overall, I loved it, and will be recommending this to everyone!
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I received an advanced digital copy of this novel in exchange for my honest review. Thanks to Netgalley.com and Amazon Publishing UK for the opportunity.

The book opens in an unexpected setting for a WWII story. An asylum. We learn about the main character through memories and conversations with her therapist. Is she as insane as she thinks she is? Was she betrayed?

An engrossing story of female operatives behind enemy lines. Well researched and written.
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The Lines We Leave Behind follows the story of Maud during the 1940's. Maud is a woman in her twenties who is in a mental asylum for a crime she does not remember committing. Through therapy she begins to remember the last few years of her life. The story is told in flashback format as she is remembering what happened. 

The story is very interesting but the problem I have with it is how I felt towards her husband. While he is a character in the book he seems to almost not be present. Some times you have a character who never appears in the book but feels so present to you as the reader and this is almost the opposite. You don't know him enough as a character to have a strong reaction to the things he does to Maud. I think that is the main reason my rating is so low for this one (especially since this is a perfect genre for me).  

I also had issues with the ending. Maybe because the horrible thing did not create strong emotions in me, the slightly happy ending does feel right. 

I would be interested to know how others felt about this book.
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I love World War 2 Historical Fiction and I really enjoyed this novel and it was also a thriller which is a plus!  It had an interesting plot of a young woman in an insane asylum a few years after the war without a clue to as why she is there.  The story unfolds between her time before and during the war and her time in the present, in the asylum.  I found the Maud/Amber character easy to connect with and personable.  I thought the book somewhat glossed over the training and some parts of the war but it kept me intrigued with the action and plot twists.  I will be adding Eliza Graham to my lists of authors to read.

Thank you Lake Union Publishing and NetGalley for the Advanced Reader Copy in exchange for my honest review.
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BLURB~
“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?”
Review~
The basis of this story was so intriguing. The blurb captured me and I just had to read the book. The writing was fluent and pictorial. You could imagine yourself there. The story is told in first person, passing back and forth between the main character’s (MC) present day and through flashbacks. The dialogue and self-talk felt authentic and surpassed my expectation. In fact, I was a bit caught off guard at the verity with which the author presented the feelings of the MC, Maud/Amber. You could actually visualize and feel the things Maud saw and felt herself; the surrender of her sanity and memory to the trauma she’d experienced. All the characters were believable, even if not likeable. Graham is an excellent author with a clear expertise of the written word. She narrates in such a way that you get a feel for what it may have truly been like for the people of the time and setting.
Though engaging, the story moved forward at a slow pace in the beginning, but I attribute this to the fact that the story is being ‘told’ by the MC, who is, herself, very slowly remembering the fragments of her life that she has forgotten. This novel resonated with me profoundly. I was mortified, outraged, and even became viscerally incensed as Maud came to the realization of all that occurred that took her to the point of withering sanity. As she comes to grips with the trials she faced-how she was manipulated, exploited, betrayed, and unscrupulously robbed of her identity and life, I openly wept with sympathy for her.
Oh my word! The plot development was very taut and engrossing. As Maud’s story unfolds against the background of WWII Yugoslavia, Graham easily maneuvers between ‘present’ and ‘past’ during moments of memory, thoughts, and through sessions with her therapist. As Maud struggles to recall the events of her former life, from which she feels so detached; she is unsure what is real and what she may have imagined. Was she really a secret operative for the Allies in the Balkans during war? Or is this some trick of imagination conjured up in her addled brain? It is more towards the second half of the book, that we come to know the truth and can catch glimpses of a future, possibly happier life for our heroine. No spoilers, so I will not go further into the storyline.
I found this book immensely enjoyable. I loved the arc of the story. I also liked the bits of history I learned while reading it. In fact, I plan to read and learn more on the subject. It was easy and pleasant to read. I feel it is historical fiction, mixed with suspense, drama, and mystery. A sensational novel that is both compelling and inspiring. 5/5
This book was given to me by the publisher via Netgalley. all thoughts and opinions are my own.
This review, or portions thereof, with be posted (when able) to Amazon, Goodreads, B&N, IG, Pinterest, FB, Litsy, Kobo, BAM, and my own blog.
Unfortunately I am unable to provide all links at this time as I am using my phone.
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Loved the book!!! After I read the description of the book, I knew I had to read it and it definitely didn't disappoint. From the moment I started reading the first chapter about Maud being in an asylum, I was hooked and didn't want to put the book down. I needed to find out why she was there. Woodlands Asylum actually seemed like a nice place, not the usual scary asylums you might see on American Horror Story. I loved Maud. She was so strong and brave. She endured a lot in such a short time, especially with regards to Robert. 

Maud finds herself in Woodlands Asylum. She has two identities- Maud and Amber. Amber was who she was during her war service. She is working with her doctor to recover her memories. Pretty much everything that happened to Maud revolves around Robert. Robert is the reason Maud ended up doing service in Yugoslavia during World War. Robert was was a dangerous, manipulative man with many secrets. Eventually Maud's memories come back. She remembers her training, Yugoslavia and how she ended up in the asylum. Finally all the secrets are revealed and Maud learns the truth about what happened.

I loved the story, characters and writing style. I loved that it centered around Yugoslavia during WWII. I also loved Maud's interaction with Naida and Esma. For the way Maud risked her life and saved so many other people, it was sad to see where she ended up and how she was ultimately treated. She missed out on so many things. 

I definitely recommend this book, especially if you enjoy historical fiction with a bit of a mystery. I look forward to reading more books by the author. 

Thanks to NetGalley, Amazon Publishing UK and the author, Eliza Graham, for a free electronic ARC of this novel.
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Unfortunately, I don't think I"m quite the audience for this book.  While I love historical fiction, especially that which focuses on women, I'm not into the whole spy thing.  I've never enjoyed spy novels, nor have I been interested in spy movies, but I wanted to give this book a try because it didn't seem like it was going to be that big into The Spy Thing.

I didn't feel particularly pulled in by either the plot or the characters, and I found Maud/Amber's whole story confusing and unsatisfying even in the end.  Is she Maud?  Is she Amber?  Is she mentally ill?  Is Amber born of Maud?  Who is Maud without Amber?  These questions should be ones to drive the reader and the plot, but I found myself unattached to the point where I couldn't find any interest in what happened to the characters.

Goodreads has given this novel all kinds of high ratings and reviews, so I'm glad that there are those out there who enjoy it.  Again, though, I don't think this was the book for me.  Trigger warnings for sexual assault apply.
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I'm sure this book would be popular in our library, even though it's not a style of book I enjoy. Suspense and mystery are really popular with our readers.
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This book took me in from page one. I,could not put it down, my kindle came everywhere with me. A women of two sides who is in a mental hospital because of things that happen in the war and after. It is also a love story. There is no happy ending to the love, and a child she has never seen believes she is dead. A very good book about the 2nd world war.
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Last week I was hit with a one-two punch of historical fiction. First, it was Kristin Hannah’s brilliant The Great Alone, set mostly in 1970s and 1980s Alaska. Then it was Eliza Graham’s tautly paced The Lines We Leave Behind, a suspenseful story of an amnesia-afflicted woman who is in an asylum post-WWII that played havoc with my nerves.
 
When the book opens, we’re in 1947 England, and Maud’s psychiatrist Dr. Rosenstein encourages her to write down her memories.
 
This is what Maud initially remembers: in 1943 Maud Knight was a well-off young woman living in Blitz-era London, seemingly without purpose. She had affairs, she had an unimportant job, but no higher calling. She was approached by a magnetic man, Robert Havers, who expressed admiration for her special talents—including her ability to speak Serbo-Croat, to observe details keenly, to memorize them—and he offered her a position as a British secret agent aiding Partisan (communist) forces fight other fringe groups (and ultimately the Germans) in Yugoslavia and rescuing downed Allies and returning them back home.
 
Maud accepts the position, and she’s given the name Amber. In Yugoslavia, she learns real danger, real pain, for the first time, and she becomes aware of the complicated lines wartime can drive between family members and neighbors, and how it can test the physical self and the spirit.
 
That was Maud then.
 
But something’s happened in the years since, to turn someone who served her country so admirably into a mental asylum resident, and that’s the gripping story that unfolds for Maud, Dr. Rosenstein, and the reader, page by page.
 
The Lines We Leave Behind tells a story that I haven’t quite heard before, in a place that I haven’t a read a story set in. Graham deftly portrays the toll of war, illuminating how it changes people, and how it makes heroism and depravity possible—sometimes within the same person. This is a heavy story (seriously), but it is also one that is not without redemption, and those slices of light are what I like best about it. 

This well-written book is by turns exhilarating and disturbing, and entirely haunting. 

**I received a copy of this book from Netgalley, but all opinions provided are my own.
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