“All My Love, Detrick …” by Roberta Kagan

“There comes a time when you have to choose between turning the page and closing the book.” Josh Jameson author of “A Patriot’s Plot.”

Kagan, Roberta, “All My Love, Detrick: A Historical Novel of Love and Survival During the Holocaust,” (first book of a 4 book series); self-published, Amazon Digital Services, LLC; published 1/14/2014; 339 pages, historical fiction.

“Detrick did not feel fortunate. In fact, he felt ashamed, ashamed of his people and the blood that ran in his veins. I should have been born a Jew, he thought as he straightened the collar of his Nazi uniform. Another day he must carefully cover his true feelings, another day he must live a lie” (page 210).

Detrick was born a German and lived as a young man during the reign of Adolf Hitler. Detrick was a perfect Aryan specimen for the new world order. But Detrick had a secret — one that could endanger his life and everyone around him.

Roberta Kagan is an American author who grew up in a home where her father is “Romany” and her mother “Jewish.” As a young child, Kagan learned about the Holocaust but could not understand “how something like this could happen.” As she grew older, Kagan began to research the history of World War II and the Holocaust.

Kagan met with children and grandchildren of survivors and SS officers. Kagan says, “I cannot say I have all the answers to all my questions even now. But what I do know is that soon all of the survivors will be gone. Their message must be remembered, the sacrifices that they have made must not be forgotten” (Amazon biography of Roberta Kagan).

“All My Love, Detrick” has an interesting collection of reviews. Some reviews were one star — no depth, no building of characters, inadequate or faulty facts, etc. — while other reviews were five stars — excellent character development, heart-rending story, could not put the book down, etc.

I personally enjoyed the book. It is an easy read, however, the story jumped from one event to another with little transition causing some confusion to the reader. I have this book on my Kindle, so I am not able to flip back and forth like you can with book-in-hand to check the identity of a forgotten character. Each chapter is two or three pages long causing a staccato pace.

 “All My Love, Detrick” will never be a heavy hitter in the Historic Novel section at Barnes ‘n Noble, but you do get a taste of the horror that was acted upon a people who were truly hated by the Nazis. You will also witness the courage, resiliency and the human spirit of a people who have lived their entire lives with hatred at their front door. I will not put this book on my “Reread Book List,” but I do think there is value in the story that is told and worth reading at least once. I give this book 3 stars.

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