July 21, 2020
Genre/Categories: Historical Fiction, WW11, France
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Inspired by true stories from WW11, a young Jewish woman who flees Paris with her mother after the arrest of her father finds herself committing to a forgery ring whose primary goal is to create documents that will help hundreds of Jewish children flee the Nazis. The story is told in dual timelines from the present-day perspective of Eva who is a semi-retired librarian living in Florida and the young Eva as she flees Paris and joins an underground forgery operation in a small mountain town near the Switzerland border. The Book of Lost Names becomes an important link between the two timelines.
Thanks, #netgalley #gallerybooks @gallerybooks for a complimentary e-ARC of #thebookoflostnames upon my request. All opinions in this review are completely my own.
Engaging: One aspect I appreciate about Kristin Harmel’s storytelling is that she engages me from the first page, and I never experience a lull as I am compelled to turn the pages. In this story, Eva is a likable character as well as independent, feisty, clever, smart, and brave.
Lots to Love: Other reasons I love The Book of Lost Names include the historical details about the forgery operation during the war, the inspiring people in the community and the Catholic priest who all risk their lives to help the Jewish people, the dedication and commitment to help innocent children, and…the love story.
Book Connections: I love when books “talk to each other” and as I read I thought of stories with similar themes like The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah that tells of an underground group dedicated to helping people (especially pilots) escape France, The Last Train to London by Meg Waite Clayton that shares the story of a real-life hero rescuing children from the grip of the Nazis, and The Medallion by Cathy Gohlke that recounts one mother’s sacrifice to secure the safety of her young child from the Nazis.
The Ending: I need to note that even though The Book of Lost Names is a rewarding, compelling, and satisfying read, the emotional and dramatic ending requires a little suspension of disbelief.
Recommended: I enthusiastically recommend The Book of Lost Names for fans of page-turning and engaging historical fiction, for readers who appreciate WW11 stories, for those who love stories featuring inspirational and brave women, and certainly for book clubs. It’s one of my favorite WW11 histfic reads of the year and when I finished reading it, I thought “that was a satisfying read!” I love it when a story feels well worth the investment of time.
Related: My review of The Winemaker’s Wife by Kristin Harmel
My Rating: 4.5 Stars
Meet the Author, Kristin Harmel
Kristin Harmel is the #1 international bestselling and USA Today bestselling author of The Winemaker’s Wife, The Room on Rue Amelie, and a dozen other novels that have been translated into numerous languages and sold all over the world. Her latest is The Book of Lost Names.
A former reporter for PEOPLE magazine, Kristin has been writing professionally since the age of 16, when she began her career as a sportswriter, covering Major League Baseball and NHL hockey for a local magazine in Tampa Bay, Florida in the late 1990s. After stints covering health and lifestyle for American Baby, Men’s Health, and Woman’s Day, she became a reporter for PEOPLE magazine while still in college and spent more than a decade working for the publication, covering everything from the Super Bowl to high-profile murders to celebrity interviews with the likes of Ben Affleck, Matthew McConaughey, OutKast, Justin Timberlake, and Patrick Dempsey. Her favorite stories at PEOPLE, however, were the “Heroes Among Us” features—tales of ordinary people doing extraordinary things. One of those features—the story of Holocaust-survivor-turned-philanthropist Henri Landwirth (whom both Walter Cronkite and John Glenn told Kristin was the most amazing person they’d ever known)—partially inspired Kristin’s 2012 novel, The Sweetness of Forgetting, which was a bestseller all over the world.
Kristin was born just outside Boston, Massachusetts and spent her childhood there, as well as in Columbus, Ohio, and St. Petersburg, Florida. After graduating with a degree in journalism (with a minor in Spanish) from the University of Florida, she spent time living in Paris and Los Angeles and now lives in Orlando, with her husband and young son. She travels frequently to France for book research (and—let’s be honest—for the pastries and wine) and writes a book a year for Gallery Books/Simon & Schuster.
Is The Book of Lost Names on your TBR or have you read it?
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