Michael Grant’s ‘Front Lines’ explores a ‘what if?’ of history. What if women could be called up to fight on the ‘front line’ in World War II? To stand shoulder to shoulder with male soldiers, to dig-in and to fire as many rounds as possible at the enemy.
Women ‘could’ be conscripted under certain governement rulings in ‘our’ WWII, but generally their place would be on the ‘Home Front’.
The girls from ‘Front Lines’ are no stay at home sisters. They sign up and are assigned to different roles: Infantry, intelligence, medical.
Let’s meet them! First up is Rio Richlin:
“Rio is sixteen and pretty…tall for a girl, and with strong shoulders and calloused hands of a farmer’s daughter. Rangy.”
...and her best friend, Jenou who has “voluminous blond hair” and “since age twelve…insisted on the French pronunciation of her name. Not a solid American “j” sound like “jump,” but a soft “zh.””
The pair are very much chalk and cheese in looks and in self-confidence at first.
Rio and Jenou end up staring down their sights at the enemy, But in our timeline, women were never allowed to fight beside men, soldier to soldier, rifles up. But they could still man anti-aircraft weapons One of the most common jobs for women in active service was to be a searchlight operator.
In America more than 59,000 women served in the Army Nurse Corps. In ‘Front Lines’ Frangie wants to help people too.
“She’s a tiny thing, Frangie Marr, that’s what people always say about her…she is five foot one- if she cheats a bit”. However, our girl Frangie in ‘Front Lines’ has more than just her gender and size to contend with. Issues of race are also tackled.
Fighters, healers… and finally; intelligence.
Jewish Rainy Schulterman is the perfect fit for an intelligence role. She “is a young woman with black hair, which unbound is so wild that it must be obsessively pinned down…Her face in repose is alert, smart, skeptical, and thoughtful.” She’s also full of fiery revenge.
Image analysis, communications and signals, decoding and encryption; hard working women became privy to a vast amount of classified information.
The girls in ‘Front Lines’ are compelling, engaging characters with a range of talents as well as obstacles to overcome, and it makes one heck of a read.
You can get your copy here!
Have you read ‘Front Lines’ yet? Who is your favourite character? Tweet us @maximumpopbooks
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