Winter calls for a good book, and we've found one to rival 'The Book Thief' — not a sentence we say lightly — by award-winning Australian author James Moloney. A powerful new piece of adult fiction, 'The Love That I Have', will move you beyond words.
Abandoning his usual backdrop of contemporary Australia, Moloney transports you to Nazi Germany in 1944 and the harrowing realities of World War II. The narrative focuses on Margot Baumann, a German teenager who has left school to begin working in the mailroom of what she believes is a prison — it is in fact the Sachsenhausen concentration camp.
When she is ordered to burn the prisoner's mail, Margot finds herself deeply affected by the injustice of the act and keeps a handful of letters to take home and post in secret. After opening the letters in the confines of her bedroom, Margot finds a love letter penned by an inmate named Dieter Kleinschmidt to another Margot — Margot Lipsky — a prisoner within the Auschwitz concentration camp.
Drawn in by the hope, despair and love that she reads, Margot decides to write back as Margot Lipsky and the pair correspond, eventually planning to meet face-to-face. As the clandestine meetings become more frequent, Margot's connection with Dieter deepens, forcing her to fight against everything she has ever known in order to try and save him.
Much like 'The Book Thief', this book consumes you and stays with you long after you've put it down. It's a raw and heartfelt Holocaust story that, while fiction, echoes the difficulties of both those free and imprisoned throughout the war and the pervading force of love. At its core, the novel is a coming-of-age story, conveyed through the lens of an often-naively idealistic teenager longing to make her own meaning of the war's diverging ideologies.
Told with compassion, 'The Love That I Have' is a beautiful, heartbreaking and affecting read. With moments of shock and deep sadness, its intrinsic message of hope manages to triumph, delivering a gripping and emotional read you'll be sad to see end. Definitely one for book club, just don't forget the tissues.
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