The Resistance Girl by Mandy Robotham


  I heard a lot about the “Shetland Bus”, the Special Operations Group forming a link between the Shetland Islands and the Resistance movement in Nazi-occupied Norway, when visiting Bergen, where this book’s set, some years ago.   Books about Resistance and SOE operations very much tend to focus on France, so a book focusing on operations in Norway is very welcome … even if it *is* written in the present tense.  We’re reminded every Christmas of the importance of the wartime link between us and our Norwegian friends, but the work of the brave British and Norwegian individuals involved still doesn’t get as much recognition as it deserves.

That’s one of the major themes of this book.  The other, very difficult, theme is the Lebensborn programme, with which I think most people are familiar because of Frida Lyngstad from Abba.   The Norwegian women involved voluntarily or forcibly became partners of German men, and their “racially pure” babies, born in special maternity homes, were sent to Germany to be adopted by Nazi couples.  It’s a horrible part of history.  Due to the post-war reprisals against those seen as collaborators, many of the women concerned, if they’d been able to keep or recover their babies, moved to Sweden, as Frida’s mother did.

Our heroine, a member of the Norwegian Resistance, is Rumi, who’s just lost her fiance in a Shetland Bus run.  New love is on the cards in the shape of Jens, her neighbour’s half-British nephew, who’s with the SOE.   The horror of the Lebensborn programme is told at one degree removed, when Rumi’s best friend Anya falls victim to it.  The book does a good job of getting across what’s happening without it being too difficult to read, but the romance doesn’t detract from the seriousness of what’s going on – life in a country occupied by the Nazis, the missions being carried out by both the Norwegian Resistance and the British authorities, and the Lebensborn programme.   The Raid on Telemark, which is probably the best-known Allied/Norwegian act of anti-Nazi sabotage, doesn’t feature in the story, but it does get a mention.

There should be more novels like this, and about the SOE and Resistance work in other countries too.  There were no landmark events marking this particular element of the war effort, so there are no special dates on which to remember it – and it’s so important that it not be forgotten.   This book is well worth reading.


One thought on “The Resistance Girl by Mandy Robotham

Hello! Please let me know what you think.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.