Here author, Melanie Martin who has lived in Teddington for 28 years explains how she came to write her first book, War and Love.
I read about what happened to Dutch Jews in occupied Amsterdam during WW2 and was enthralled, particularly by The Diary of Anne Frank but then realised that my own family’s stories were equally fascinating.
In May 1940 my family tried and failed to flee from Holland. Some went into hiding, others worked with the Resistance, and others were transported to Westerbork transit camp. My Aunts, Kitty and Liesje, both in the prime of their lives, were compromised by the Nazi laws on intermarriage. War and Love is testimony of their will to survive against the odds.
The story told in War and Love is an interweaving of first-hand accounts of what happened in Amsterdam and the concentration camps. It is a fascinating and detailed memoir of everyday life at a time of war. The storytelling reflects a period of history with which everyone is familiar, but is told with honesty and sensitivity in contrast to the horrors of the events which took place.
Sometimes such accounts do not survive the story-telling process intact, but through my detailed research I was able to explain the historical context and allow the individual characters to flow through the book. I was careful not to sensationalise what happened and despite the content, the book is remarkably uplifting. My family members are all positive and there’s a genuine lack of bitterness.
An interview which explores more fully why and how I came to write the book can be found at: http://www.thebookbag.co.uk/reviews/The_Interview:_Bookbag_Talks_To_Melanie_Martin
The book is fully illustrated and is on Amazon https://www.amazon.co.uk/War-Love-testament-endurance-Amsterdam/dp/1789016304 where you will find many positive reviews. It is also available at Waterstones and all good bookshops.
Melanie can be contacted via Facebook