A review of The Love That I Have by James Molony

Reviewed by Carl Delprat

The Love That I Have
by James Moloney
HarperCollins
ISBN 978 1 4607 5463 4, May 2018, 290pgs

I just love the way this book commences…. For as long as I can remember, I’ve loved three things: the long summer holidays, my brother Walther and Adolf Hitler. How can ever you top that? James Moloney has a very convincing style, suitable for a wide age group. As a famous and prolific Australian writer and children’s author, Moloney has chosen a sixteen-year-old girl as his central character.  In no time at all I’m right in beside his central character Margot Baumann and even though she is just an innocent, naive, and young teenager, it’s very easy to like her.

The book is set in the grim and sometimes frightening world of 1944 Germany, the infamous place in modern history now entering into its final death-throws. The first couple of pages inform me schoolgirl Margot has two brothers, Walther and Franz who both are in the army. Her elder sister Renate works in a mailroom at Sachsenhausen konzentrationslager (concentration camp) just outside of Berlin. As there are huge labour shortages throughout Germany, sixteen-year-old Margot replaces her older sister Renate in the mailroom who then in turn steps up the ladder a rung or two.

This is where the story blossoms. Moloney remoulds his central character from an ignorant and ideological child into a deeply concerned and independently minded young woman. I thoroughly enjoyed The Love That I Have. Moloney’s impeccable research places the reader right into the centre of an alien and frightening world that most people have little idea about. Today’s generations may have to examine North Korea to find any type of recognisable analogies.

Margot Baumann lives within a state of total-war where total-commitment must be obeyed and no quarter is ever given to any individual foolish enough to step over the line. However a spark of defiance strikes a fire within her psyche resulting in a determined attempt to do her small bit for universal justice and reconciliation. I commend Moloney for selecting this category. He shows himself as an educator of humanity and I’m sure his previous profession as a Teacher Librarian is leaking through the paragraphs.

The Love That I Have should be an educational experience for many entertained and amazed readers. We take our freedoms for granted and the stark comparisons between our own carefree lives and the inhabitants of Nazi Germany are a chilling reminder of how important it is to maintain these privileged liberties. This is a book that belongs within a bookcase, the one you can reach for, then show your houseguest and say…”Now, this is a great story I’m sure you would like…”

About the reviewer: Carl Delprat is a prolific storyteller. His home is the Australian coastal city of Newcastle, New South Wales. Find his books at: https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/CarlDelprat

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