The Book of Lost Names by Kristin Harmel
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
A well-researched, well-written story about how Nazi Germany tried to exterminate every Jew they could find. Lots of action and intrigue in this one, and you’ll have to read it yourself for the fairy tale ending. Eva and Remy, a Jewish girl and a Christian boy. Her mother does not approve of her or what she is doing but defends her daughter to her death anyway.
“A fascinating, heartrending page-turner that, like the real-life forgers who inspired the novel, should never be forgotten.” (Kristina McMorris, New York Times best-selling author of Sold on a Monday)
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 “sweeping and magnificent” (Fiona Davis, best-selling author of The Lions of Fifth Avenue) historical novel from the number one international best-selling author of The Winemaker’s Wife.
Eva Traube Abrams, a semi-retired librarian in Florida, is shelving books when her eyes lock on a photograph in the New York Times. She freezes; it’s an image of a book she hasn’t seen in more than 60 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 18th-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 does she have the strength to revisit old memories?
As a graduate student in 1942, Eva was forced to flee Paris and find refuge in a small mountain town in the Free Zone, where she began 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.
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