It is July 1944 and 16 year old Margot Baumann is leaving school to take over her sister’s job working in the mail room for the Reich. Margot is initially unaware that the mail room where she is sorting and delivering mail is actually a German concentration camp. She is blissfully ignorant of the tragedies occurring behind the walls. Part of Margot’s job is to burn prisoner letters, as they don’t have the capacity to deal with them all. This breaks Margot’s heart knowing that many families would be waiting to hear from their loved ones just like she eagerly awaits to hear from her brothers who are also out fighting the war. Margot defiantly saves a few letters each time, with the intention of posting them herself. But one letter captures her heart. Prisoner Dieter Klienschmidt wrote heartfelt, loving letters to his sweetheart, also named Margot. Soon Margot is responding to Dieter’s letters on behalf of Margot. As Margot falls in love with Dieter’s letters she is determined to help him survive.
This is a wonderful and powerful story set during World War 2 about love and hope. It provides a striking insight and perspective into the lives of people who lived through the war as seen from the viewpoint of prisoners, guards and also the innocent swept up in Hitler’s propaganda. The characters show such courage and bravery and that despite the hardships they have endured, love can transcend evil.
Moloney expertly uses language to depict the human war experience and simply explains how humans are able to treat each other in deplorable ways, ‘Once you no longer see man as a human, you can do what you like with him.’ He also succinctly depicts the suffering of prisoners and explains how something as simple as ‘boots can mean the difference between life and death’. Readers of all ages will find much to gain and enjoy from this novel.