Bjorn Dansgaard is a soldier fighting for the German side in World War I. He is of Danish descent; however, the territory he inhabited was claimed by Germany and thus his loyalty leans toward the German empire. The war has taken a toll on the young man, two years of brushes with death concluded with a wound that sidelines him in November 1917. After the war’s conclusion, Bjorn is at an emotional ebb. He reaches out to an old girlfriend named Karla who informs him of a child they had previously conceived. Bjorn seeks a life with Karla and their daughter, Inga. However, Karla doesn’t feel the same enthusiasm for this living arrangement.
Bjorn gets a job in order to help provide for his family and to placate the increasingly ill-tempered Karla. Bjorn becomes a workhorse at his job and soon decides to go into business for himself after sensing an opportunity to thrive as an entrepreneur. Despite the eventual dissolution of his and Karla’s relationship under a heavy weight of acrimony, the pair has three children: Inga, Willi, and Tor. By the end of the 1920s, all three children will be living with Bjorn.
The war affected Bjorn in a deep and lasting way, with nightmares and occasional depression appearing frequently. As the Great Depression struck and the 1930s began, the direction of Germany and the leaders who galvanized the citizenry appalled Bjorn. Despite success in his business and meeting his true love, the rise of the Third Reich cast a pall over his existence. His son Tor would be mesmerized by Nazi ideology and would join the Hitler Youth.
Soon, Tor would be fighting on the Eastern Front. As Bjorn is concerned about his son, he is also consumed with worry over his girlfriend Frieda, who was of mixed heritage and would face persecution if identified. In the wake of the War, Bjorn’s family is shattered and Bjorn needs a fresh start. A trip to the United States offers renewal.
The Danish Connection is an epic historical narrative that encompasses three generations of a family through life, love, and war. Author Keith Thye has written an ambitious but satisfying novel that tackles life in an often battle-scarred Europe and progresses to the seemingly stable arms of the Cold War-era United States.
The Dansgaards are an eclectic bunch with the primary focus falling on resolute patriarch, Bjorn. Bjorn yearns for the good things in this world, but he will earn it with every ounce of blood, sweat, and tears. Inga is the apple of Bjorn’s eye but possesses a rebellious soul. Willi is smart and bound for greater things, even if it means moving to the US. Tor wants to serve the Fatherland and do so with distinction, and he will not be deterred.
The Danish Connection is a splendid and affecting work of historical fiction spanning nearly a century.
|Classic Day Publishing
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