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The Book of Lost Names (2020)

by Kristin Harmel

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6005030,439 (4.22)26

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Showing 1-5 of 48 (next | show all)
Story of a women during WWw who forges documents for jewish children and other people so they can escape to Switzerland. I have read many books about the second world war and was skeptical that it would be a repetition on what I had already read. This story was different and kept my attention till the end. I just found the end a bit unbelievable…. ( )
  janismack | Oct 5, 2021 |
The Book of Lost Names begins with the story of a Parisian student in the round up of Jews by the Nazi regime. Eva and her mother are able to escape to free France on papers she forges. She joins a group helping children escape by providing false papers.

Based on the existence of actual forgers the story is full of intrigue and threats from betrayal and Nazis. There's a romance thrown into the mix that doesn't really elevate the story. I found Eva's mother to be truly obnoxious. All of her unhappiness is laid at Eva's feet.

The first half of the novel moved rather slowly but I found the second half redemptive. ( )
  Nancyjcbs | Sep 23, 2021 |
When meticulous research is combined with thoughtful creativity and beautiful descriptive writing the resulting historical fiction novel is a gift to readers. The gift that Kristin Harmel has crafted captures the courage of individuals who thought they were ordinary but we recognize as extraordinary as they protected and saved as many individuals as they possibly could and with disregard for their own potential peril.

The story is tells the experience of Eva Traube, a young woman with a love of books, a love of English literature, and a graduate student as WWII begins. Now at age 86, Eva is a widow working in a library and her grown son has no clue to her personal story during the war. The story transitions seamlessly between present-day and the past sharing her story and her part as a forger preparing documents for those fleeing to Switzerland. Eva begins the task as a means to help herself and her mother with high hopes that saving her father who has already been arrested might still be possible.

The novel is as heart wrenching as it is heartwarming to read of the innocence of children that understand life beyond their years, to read of the sacrifices made to share food, the skills of an artist becoming a forger, the humanity of so many from priest to farmer to store owner, for all who kept things as normal for the children as possible by giving them school lessons while in hiding, for the courage of the maquisards, and for those who offered hope to one another and kept each others spirits positive.

It is a mesmerizing story that once read will never be forgotten. ( )
  FerneMysteryReader | Aug 13, 2021 |
One time, a woman commented that authors should stop writing about World War II, implying it was an overused setting that has been thoroughly explored by fiction and non-fiction writers. While we do have lots of World War II fiction out there, I am grateful for these books because with each story, I learn something new. In the case of The Book of Lost Names, I learned about forgers--people who forged documents for Jewish refugees, resistance fighters, and others trying to get away from the Nazis.

What's extraordinary about World War II is that common, ordinary people did extraordinary things every day, not only to survive, but to help others survive too. That's the case for this story's main character, Eva. A young Jewish woman who fled Paris with her mother to Vichy France, Eva uses her artistic skills to forge stamps and documents to help Jewish children escape to Switzerland. She meets a cast of other brave people, from the local priest to the local bookseller, who all play a role in the shuttling of Jewish children to neutral Switzerland.

An important theme in The Book of Lost Names is how to protect your identity when it's dangerous to do so. It made me think about how many people who lived during World War II lost so much, including their own identity, just to survive. It's remarkable to think about.

This is a fast-paced book with a love story sprinkled in, and if you are looking to learn more about World War II, be sure to add The Book of Lost Names to your to-read list. ( )
  mrstreme | Jul 31, 2021 |
Great book but the ending was a bit too neat and contrived. ( )
  scoene | Jul 13, 2021 |
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To my Swan Valley sisters---Wendy, Allison, Alyson, Emily, and Linda---who understand, as only writers and readers truly can, that books shape destiny.
And to librarians and booksellers everywhere, who ensure that the books with the power to change lives find their way into the hands of the people who need them most.
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It's Saturday morning, and I'm midway through my shift at the Winter Park Public Library when I see it.
Life turns on the decisions we make, the single moments that transform everything.
"I used to think that memories were less painful when you held them close. I think perhaps that isn't true, though. Now I think pain loses its power when we share it."
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