Broken lines by Kelsey Gietl is not a book for the faint of heart. It definitely does not fall into the category of rainbows and puppies. This book comes with a sensitivity warning for those readers who are triggered by alcohol-related stories or domestic abuse.
That being said, Gietl’s book Broken Lines is a terrific read with a satisfying ending, one I wasn’t sure would happen.
What if just before you board a ship back home to Germany, your brother informs you that you can’t come with him. Instead, he insists that you don’t. He hands you a ticket to St. Louis, tells you to change your name and to marry an American? That’s what happens to Amara. When she tries to do as her brother requested she is rejected and abandoned on a street in a city she doesn’t know.
The main characters of this book struggle with what side of the war they favor. How do you give up what you know and embrace what is new or has been your life for only a few years? There is an identity struggle that was common before and during the war. Are you German or American? There is not an in-between and if your name sounds German then there will be trouble.
The story begins just before America joins the allies fighting against the Germans. It is set in St. Louis, Missouri during 1916. A familiar city to me as I grew up in a small town close by as did the author. A lot of the landmarks and history in the story were familiar, making the reading the descriptions of back then even more intriguing to me.
Emil works as a morality police officer. He along with his partner frequently breaks the moral laws that he is supposed to be upholding. He wrestles with this throughout the book knowing that what he is doing is not right. He’s not willing to change until he meets Amara a woman he must decide to change his life for, or let go. It is not an easy decision for him.
Amara has her own demons to fight, an abusive ex-fiancé, and a man she thinks she could love but wants nothing to do with her. How will she be able to stay safe if she can’t find an American citizen to marry?
Emil and Amara’s journey is intense with action and filled with secrets. Broken Lines is book 1 in this series but it is a complete story. If you like books where characters have a chance at redemption this one is for you.
Broken Lines is a terrific read and will likely keep you up until you finish it. Geitl knows her history and she weaves it throughout the book with an intricacy that doesn’t shout here’s a historical fact that you need to know. She slips in those details where they make the most sense helping the reader feel the story.