Book Review of
The Book of Lost Names
Inspired by an astonishing true story from World War II, a young woman with a talent for forgery helps hundreds of Jewish children flee the Nazis in this unforgettable historical novel from the New York Times bestselling author of the “epic and heart-wrenching World War II tale” (Alyson Noel, #1 New York Times bestselling author) The Winemaker’s Wife.
Eva Traube Abrams, a semi-retired librarian in Florida, is shelving books one morning when her eyes lock on a photograph in a magazine lying open nearby. She freezes; it’s an image of a book she hasn’t seen in sixty-five years—a book she recognizes as The Book of Lost Names.
The accompanying article discusses the looting of libraries by the Nazis across Europe during World War II—an experience Eva remembers well—and the search to reunite people with the texts taken from them so long ago. The book in the photograph, an eighteenth-century religious text thought to have been taken from France in the waning days of the war, is one of the most fascinating cases. Now housed in Berlin’s Zentral- und Landesbibliothek library, it appears to contain some sort of code, but researchers don’t know where it came from—or what the code means. Only Eva holds the answer—but will she have the strength to revisit old memories and help reunite those lost during the war?
As a graduate student in 1942, Eva was forced to flee Paris after the arrest of her father, a Polish Jew. Finding refuge in a small mountain town in the Free Zone, she begins forging identity documents for Jewish children fleeing to neutral Switzerland. But erasing people comes with a price, and along with a mysterious, handsome forger named Rémy, Eva decides she must find a way to preserve the real names of the children who are too young to remember who they really are. The records they keep in The Book of Lost Names will become even more vital when the resistance cell they work for is betrayed and Rémy disappears.
An engaging and evocative novel reminiscent of The Lost Girls of Paris and The Alice Network, The Book of Lost Names is a testament to the resilience of the human spirit and the power of bravery and love in the face of evil.
The Book of Lost Names is the first book by Kristin Harmel that I have read and I can’t wait to read more by her. I loved this book. I am picky when it comes to historical fiction. I want the story to seem like it really could have happened. This book does just that because it is based on a real story.
This is a story about WWII that I had no idea about. The characters and story drew me in. I finished this book in just a couple of days because I could not put it down. If I would have had a bigger block of time I would have finished it in one sitting.
This is one of those books that stayed with me long after I read it. I have already recommended it to friends. This book would make a great book club book because there is so much in this book.
It is also a book about books. So if you love books about libraries and books this is a great one.
If you love WWII historical fiction I think you will love this one.
I do have two complaints about the book. One is that the ending seemed hurried. I wish the author had taken a little more time to wrap up the story. The other is a PG-13 scene that was not necessary to the book. The book would have been perfectly fine without it.