“The Book of Lost Names” Review

There are so many historical fiction books about WWII, and if you enjoy that genre, please check out The Book of Lost Names by Kristin Harmel. It is a wonderful story that I read in two sittings because I just couldn’t put it down! The plot is familiar, but the characters drew me into the book right away. Eva Traube, an 86 year old librarian in Florida, sees a newscast about a book that was stolen by the Nazis. A German library curator is trying to reunite it with its owner. Eva knows it is hers and wants to go and claim it. But doing so will dig up memories and stories that Eva has kept hidden for over 60 years . . . 

The setting is Paris as the Nazi’s are beginning to take over France. Eva Traube and her parents are Jewish and on a list to be arrested. By luck, Eva and her mother escape and end up in a remote village in France’s free zone. Eva has always had great artistic talent, and she is recruited to work for the French resistance as a forger – helping create documents to enable Jewish children to escape to Switzerland. There are many wonderful characters in her network: Remy, a resistance fighter; Pere Clement, a Catholic priest; Madame Noirot, a batty old book seller; Joseph Pelletier, a fellow Jewish comrade; Genevieve, a fellow forger and Madame Barbier, a boarding house owner. The group works together for quite some time before things begin to fall apart in their resistance network. Is there a traitor? Will any of them escape to freedom before the Germans find them? I loved reading The Book of Lost Names to discover the answers. Kristin Harmel (and Eva) tell us in the story that those “who realise that books are magic . . . will have the brightest lives.” I hope this book spreads some magic for those of you that choose to read it. 

Here is a link to an article with pictures about Adolpho Kaminsky, who was one of the actual Jewish forgers during WWII:https://www.cbsnews.com/news/the-forger-who-saved-thousands-of-jews-from-the-nazis/

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