“A gorgeous and thrilling novel… Perfect for book clubs and fans of The Nightingale.” –PopSugar
A historical novel of love and survival inspired by real resistance workers during World War II Austria, and the mysterious love letter that connects generations of Jewish families. A heart-breaking, heart-warming read for fans of The Women in the Castle, Lilac Girls, and Sarah's Key.
Author of the forthcoming In Another Time.
Austria, 1938. Kristoff is a young apprentice to a master Jewish stamp engraver. When his teacher disappears during Kristallnacht, Kristoff is forced to engrave stamps for the Germans, and simultaneously works alongside Elena, his beloved teacher's fiery daughter, and with the Austrian resistance to send underground messages and forge papers. As he falls for Elena amidst the brutal chaos of war, Kristoff must find a way to save her, and himself.
Los Angeles, 1989. Katie Nelson is going through a divorce and while cleaning out her house and life in the aftermath, she comes across the stamp collection of her father, who recently went into a nursing home. When an appraiser, Benjamin, discovers an unusual World War II-era Austrian stamp placed on an old love letter as he goes through her dad's collection, Katie and Benjamin are sent on a journey together that will uncover a story of passion and tragedy spanning decades and continents, behind the just fallen Berlin Wall.
A romantic, poignant and addictive novel, The Lost Letter shows the lasting power of love.
Cantor uses a mysterious Austrian stamp of an edelweiss hidden within a church steeple as the subject of her affecting new novel, which unfolds in dual story lines. For what reason was the flower added, after Hitler annexed Austria, to a stamp already in circulation? Why, as Katie Nelson discovers decades later, did her increasingly senile father seek out the stamp, still affixed to an unopened letter? Furthermore, what explains his outburst upon learning that Katie took his collection to appraiser Benjamin Grossman? It's all about the symbolism of the edelweiss, "an expression of love proof of unusual daring," and a gentile artist named Kristoff, who lived with his mentor, renowned Jewish engraver Frederick Faber. The Faber family's Judaism, like the intense faith of Katie's father, stands in stark contrast to her secular lifestyle in 1989 Los Angeles. As Katie and Benjamin methodically trace the stamp's history and the letter's intended recipient, the Berlin Wall is being pulled down. Its destruction is a metaphor for the barriers that fall in the story, walls erected within families and built on secrets, barriers created for emotional self-preservation. Cantor (The Hours Count) integrates her historical research well and effectively harnesses the story's emotional resonance, slowly building tension before resolving the mystery and converging the two story lines.
I couldn’t put this book down! I haven’t felt so immersed into a story and its characters such as this in years.
I love books from this era. It transports you to what was and in certain places still is a true hardship. Originally from former Czechoslovakia, my own grandparents had many similar stories and it has a very sentimental value to me. This book is beautiful and touching and makes you appreciate all we have available to us living free in America. Thanks Jillian.