The Book of Lost Names
by Kristin Harmel
Gallery Books, Simon & Schuster, 2020
Set mostly in France, this is the story of Eva Traube, a French Jew of Polish descent. The book starts in 2005 with the elderly Eva, a librarian in Winter Park, FL. She sees a photo of a book she hasn’t seen for 40 years, a book looted by the Nazis during WWII. What makes the book notable is an intriguing puzzle inside the book, one that Eva put there during her days as a forger for the French resistance. She heads to Berlin to claim the book.
Then we go back to 1942 and most of the book is devoted to Eva’s flight from Paris and her relocation to a French village in the mountains not far from the Swiss border where she works as a forger for the Resistance and meets the love of her life, Remy. She also forges new papers with false identities for Jewish children who are being smuggled across the Swiss border. Bus she doesn’t want the children’s real names lost to history, so she and Remy figure out a way to record the names using a code in a very old religious book, one no one would pick up just to read.
I don’t want to say much more except I loved this book. Fascinating story line, exciting and very emotional. Recommended for fans of WWII fiction and women’s fiction.
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