The Book of Lost Names by Kristin Harmel



Set in France in 1942, The Book of Lost Names is the story of a young Jewish woman struggle to stay alive, and her desire to make the necessary choices to save many others. The book was inspired by a true story, and is told in two time-frames - during the war, and in 2005.

Eva Traube Abrams is an semi-retired octogenarian who works as a librarian in Florida. One day she spots a magazine article with photos about a German librarian who is trying to return books stolen by the Germans during World War II to their rightful owners. Eva immediately recognizes a book that she hasn’t seen in 65 years - a book she has called The Book of Lost Names.

The story then takes us back to that war, and the atrocities of this time in history. Eva’s story of trying to stay alive, and her work of intricate document forgery is discussed at length. She falls in love with a Remy who is assisting Eva in her work . Remy shares her desire to remember the birth names that needed to be changed in order to hide their Jewish identity. He formulates a way to secretly code these names into an old book - a secret only shared by the two of them.

The impact of the war at this point changes and there is a sensitive discussion of how Eva’s life changes as a result. The book concludes with Eva’s life after the war and her findings upon her trip to Germany in 2005. So as not to spoil anything for the reader, I will leave Eva’s story here.

The story of Eva not only flowed well, but was beautifully told in this book. It is respectful, emotional and thought-provoking. Eva’s character is well-developed, likeable and provides the reader with insight into all that this woman has experienced. I am not a fan of war-based historical fiction. My Grandfather spent five years of his life fighting this war. However, the fact that I knew in advance that Eva survives convinced me to read this book. I will honestly say that I am glad I that did.

I listened to the audiobook edition of the book which has narrated by Madeleine May through my local library. Her performance was articulate and passionate and added to the telling of this story. Her ability to take on the voices of both genders, and across the age-spectrum, was excellent.

My rating:   ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️/5.

18 comments:

  1. I love reading books set in the war, having read both the Tattooist of Auschwitz and Cilka’s Journey this book sounds one which I would love to pick up. Thank you for sharing!

    ReplyDelete
  2. I have to admit I'm really intrigued after reading your review! I haven't heard of this book before, but I'd love to know the rest of Eva's story. Great post!

    Anika | chaptersofmay.com

    ReplyDelete
  3. Adding this to my TBR! Thanks for sharing!

    ReplyDelete
  4. I absolutely love the sound of this. It's an excellent review, so thanks for sharing.

    ReplyDelete
  5. That sounds incredible! My husband and I are both in love with military history. In fact, we got engaged at Fort Mackinac, right by one of the old cannons. This sounds like something I would ADORE!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That’s amazing! I hope you enjoy this book as much as I did!

      Delete
  6. I love books set during WWII and I am always looking for recommendations, I will be sure to check this one out.

    Thank you for sharing x

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That’s great! I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

      Delete
  7. I'm a huge history buff , especially around the major war eras. The review makes it seem very intriguing. Will have to put it on my to read list.

    ReplyDelete
  8. I'm glad I never had to live through WW2, I don't think I could handle that level of fear, hatred, and discrimination take to its most extreme form. I'm glad you liked the book, it seems like an interesting book

    ReplyDelete
  9. Thank you for the review. I am not a fan of war dramas, but it does sound like an awesome read.

    ReplyDelete