Book Review The Love That I Have by James Moloney
This story is set during WWII in Germany, and the main character is sixteen year old Margot Baumann.
She has recently left school to take her older sister Renate's job in the mailing room of Sachsenhausen, a concentration camp near Berlin.
Margot is grateful that she has no contact with the prisoners in the camp, especially as her favourite brother Walther has been taken prisoner at Stalingrad, and she doesn't want to imagine the suffering he is going through, like the brutality that is forced upon those at Sachsenhausen.
In the mail room, she is kept busy on her feet, and is shocked when one day she is ordered to burn the prisoners' mail.
She can't bear knowing that the letters written by the prisoners will go unread.
And so, in a daring act of bravery, she secretly goes against the rules and steals a few of the letters and takes them home. She sends a few of them on to the recipients, but quickly finds herself drawn into their letters of desperation, sadness, love, and hope.
One particular prisoner, Dieter Kleinschmidt, writes with such passion and honesty that Margot finds that she must know more about this man.
And when she discovers that his girlfriend's name is also Margot, she feels as though the letters of love are being written just for her.
She makes it her duty to meet Dieter, and to help him in any way she can, but what will happen if anyone finds out about her plan?
This is a very touching story that focuses on the power of love in the direst of circumstances.
Like many other wartime novels, it is steeped in sadness, but there is also the beauty of hope threaded through it.
The Love That I Have is available this June through Harper Collins, and has an RRP of AU$27.99