The Book of Lost Names (Unabridged)
“A fascinating, heartrending page-turner that, like the real-life forgers who inspired the novel, should never be forgotten.” —Kristina McMorris, New York Times bestselling 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, bestselling author of The Lions of Fifth Avenue) historical novel from the #1 international bestselling 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 sixty 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 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.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
Inspired by an amazing true story, this historical drama reminds us it’s always important to fight for what’s right, no matter your age. Now in her 80s, Eva Abrams is living comfortably as a part-time librarian when a news article about priceless books looted by the Nazis rockets her back to the time when she fought for the French Resistance. Kristin Harmel’s thrilling novel alternates between two incredible storylines: one following Eva during World War II, as she forges papers to smuggle Jewish children to freedom, and one unfolding decades later as she fights to reclaim the book in which she recorded their names in code. Harmel does a great job of capturing the heartbreak of a dark period in history—as well as one woman’s seemingly boundless reserve of inner strength. Madeleine Maby’s narration matches that strength, distinctively capturing Eva’s spirit in the past and present. The Book of Lost Names reminds us that sometimes a hero’s journey can take time to complete.
I shy away from war books or any books that are too intense or too painful. This story was set in the most horrific period, but was evenly balanced for a summer read with a good story and a gentle glimpse at the pain and heroism of the time.
I loved this book so much that I didn’t want to stop listening to it (the audiobook version). The characters and storyline were interesting and captivating. By the end, I had cried tears of sadness and joy. The reader did an excellent job voicing all of the characters. I enjoyed this book and look forward to listening to other books by Kristin Harmel.
Book of Lost Names
Such a wonderful story!!!