The Book of Lost Names
“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 that fighting for what’s right is important, no matter how old you are. 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 into the past. Eva would know the volume shown in the newspaper photo anywhere, because it was hers when she was fighting 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 one of the darkest periods in history—as well as one woman’s seemingly boundless reserve of inner strength. The Book of Lost Names reminds us that sometimes a hero’s journey can span a lifetime.
Harmel (The Winemaker's Wife) brilliantly imagines the life of a young Polish-French Jewish woman during the depths of WWII. In 2005, Eva Traube, 86, lives in Winter Park, Fla., and works at the library, where she reads a newspaper story about a man in Germany returning rare books looted by the Nazis to WWII survivors. The story includes a photo of a book that once belonged to her, prompting her to leave immediately for Berlin. Harmel then transitions back to 1940s France, when 23-year-old Eva and her mother escape the roundups in Paris and end up in the tiny town of Aurignon. Eva meets document forger R my Duchamp, who draws her into the Resistance; Remy trains Eva, and the two inevitably grow closer as they work to provide papers for those fleeing the Nazi regime. Eva and R my devise a method of recording the names of unaccompanied escaping children, coding each name in an old library book, which Eva saw in the newspaper story. Now in Berlin, Eva hopes to recover and decode the names, and learn the fate of R my. Harmel movingly illustrates Eva's courage to risk her own life for others, and all of the characters are portrayed with realistic compassion. This thoughtful work will touch readers with its testament to the endurance of hope.
I could not put this book down, wow!
I could not put this book down. On to the next one. Just
Deeply Satisfying Read
This brings the intensity of love and war together and is a deeply emotionally satisfying
Great book !