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The Book of Lost Names

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Inspired by an astonishing true story from World War II, a young woman with a talent for forgery helps hundreds of Jewish children flee the Nazis in this unforgettable historical novel from the international bestselling author of the “epic and heart-wrenching World War II tale” (Alyson Noel, #1 New York Times bestselling author) The Winemaker’s Wife. Eva Traube Abrams, a se Inspired by an astonishing true story from World War II, a young woman with a talent for forgery helps hundreds of Jewish children flee the Nazis in this unforgettable historical novel from the international bestselling author of the “epic and heart-wrenching World War II tale” (Alyson Noel, #1 New York Times bestselling author) The Winemaker’s Wife. Eva Traube Abrams, a semi-retired librarian in Florida, is shelving books one morning when her eyes lock on a photograph in a magazine lying open nearby. She freezes; it’s an image of a book she hasn’t seen in sixty-five years—a book she recognizes as The Book of Lost Names. The accompanying article discusses the looting of libraries by the Nazis across Europe during World War II—an experience Eva remembers well—and the search to reunite people with the texts taken from them so long ago. The book in the photograph, an eighteenth-century religious text thought to have been taken from France in the waning days of the war, is one of the most fascinating cases. Now housed in Berlin’s Zentral- und Landesbibliothek library, it appears to contain some sort of code, but researchers don’t know where it came from—or what the code means. Only Eva holds the answer—but will she have the strength to revisit old memories and help reunite those lost during the war? As a graduate student in 1942, Eva was forced to flee Paris after the arrest of her father, a Polish Jew. Finding refuge in a small mountain town in the Free Zone, she begins forging identity documents for Jewish children fleeing to neutral Switzerland. But erasing people comes with a price, and along with a mysterious, handsome forger named Rémy, Eva decides she must find a way to preserve the real names of the children who are too young to remember who they really are. The records they keep in The Book of Lost Names will become even more vital when the resistance cell they work for is betrayed and Rémy disappears. An engaging and evocative novel reminiscent of The Lost Girls of Paris and The Alice Network, The Book of Lost Names is a testament to the resilience of the human spirit and the power of bravery and love in the face of evil.


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Inspired by an astonishing true story from World War II, a young woman with a talent for forgery helps hundreds of Jewish children flee the Nazis in this unforgettable historical novel from the international bestselling author of the “epic and heart-wrenching World War II tale” (Alyson Noel, #1 New York Times bestselling author) The Winemaker’s Wife. Eva Traube Abrams, a se Inspired by an astonishing true story from World War II, a young woman with a talent for forgery helps hundreds of Jewish children flee the Nazis in this unforgettable historical novel from the international bestselling author of the “epic and heart-wrenching World War II tale” (Alyson Noel, #1 New York Times bestselling author) The Winemaker’s Wife. Eva Traube Abrams, a semi-retired librarian in Florida, is shelving books one morning when her eyes lock on a photograph in a magazine lying open nearby. She freezes; it’s an image of a book she hasn’t seen in sixty-five years—a book she recognizes as The Book of Lost Names. The accompanying article discusses the looting of libraries by the Nazis across Europe during World War II—an experience Eva remembers well—and the search to reunite people with the texts taken from them so long ago. The book in the photograph, an eighteenth-century religious text thought to have been taken from France in the waning days of the war, is one of the most fascinating cases. Now housed in Berlin’s Zentral- und Landesbibliothek library, it appears to contain some sort of code, but researchers don’t know where it came from—or what the code means. Only Eva holds the answer—but will she have the strength to revisit old memories and help reunite those lost during the war? As a graduate student in 1942, Eva was forced to flee Paris after the arrest of her father, a Polish Jew. Finding refuge in a small mountain town in the Free Zone, she begins forging identity documents for Jewish children fleeing to neutral Switzerland. But erasing people comes with a price, and along with a mysterious, handsome forger named Rémy, Eva decides she must find a way to preserve the real names of the children who are too young to remember who they really are. The records they keep in The Book of Lost Names will become even more vital when the resistance cell they work for is betrayed and Rémy disappears. An engaging and evocative novel reminiscent of The Lost Girls of Paris and The Alice Network, The Book of Lost Names is a testament to the resilience of the human spirit and the power of bravery and love in the face of evil.

30 review for The Book of Lost Names

  1. 5 out of 5

    Lindsay - Traveling Sisters Book Reviews

    Happy Publication Day to The Book Of Lost Names! 3.5 stars. The tearful ending made me round up to 4 instead of down to 3. An eye-opening and informative, lighter WWII story. Eva and her mother are forced to flee their apartment in Paris after being added to the list of Jews in the round up. Before Eva’s father is captured, he provided a plan for Eva and her mother to flee to Switzerland. Eva takes charge and leads her mother to a small, hidden town at the Swiss border. There she and her mother ble Happy Publication Day to The Book Of Lost Names! 3.5 stars. The tearful ending made me round up to 4 instead of down to 3. An eye-opening and informative, lighter WWII story. Eva and her mother are forced to flee their apartment in Paris after being added to the list of Jews in the round up. Before Eva’s father is captured, he provided a plan for Eva and her mother to flee to Switzerland. Eva takes charge and leads her mother to a small, hidden town at the Swiss border. There she and her mother blend in and become part of the small town Resistance where Eva learns the intricate art of forgery, aiding hundreds of young Jewish children in making their way to safety. This book was a mix of things for me. I enjoyed it and loved the main character, Eva. Eva’s mother, on the other hand, irritated me from start to finish. Her constant negativity was a frustration to endure and I found she distracted me from the story. I enjoyed learning about the Resistance group who worked so hard to save the Jewish children. However, the majority of the novel lacked the emotional pull and connection I had expected. I didn’t feel any of the true grit and darkness of these wartime atrocities. Eva’s story in becoming a forger for the Resistance was very interesting and I loved learning about that, however, I wanted more focus on the children the Resistance was saving. I wanted to be fully immersed within the underground children’s rescue mission and hoped for more detail surrounding that underground Resistance network. Had the novel focused more on the underground Resistance network and less on the romance, it would have been much more enjoyable. A recurring issue I had with the storyline was how many times Eva had faced a “close call”. There were too many convenient instances of officers looking the other way or yawning while checking paperwork which took away from my investment in the story and made it a predictable, lighter, less intense read. The ending had a great twist that kicked my enjoyment up a notch. After feeling less than emotionally invested for the first 80%, I shed a few tears at the end which was a pleasant surprise. Overall, it was a well-written, interesting and entertaining read with some wonderful characters, but lacked the emotional depth and grit I crave with historical fiction reads. Loved this quote: “She doesn’t understand what it means to love books so passionately that you would die without them, that you would simply stop breathing, stop existing.”

  2. 4 out of 5

    Angela M

    Holocaust stories are never easy to read and they shouldn’t be. While we never see the horrors of the death camps in this novel, we see the heartbreaking impact on so many, especially children, whose mothers and fathers were rounded up by the Nazis sent to those camps, killed there or before they get there. It tells of the brave and good people of the French Resistance who risked their lives, some of whom lost family of their own, forging documents and transporting Jewish children to safety. The Holocaust stories are never easy to read and they shouldn’t be. While we never see the horrors of the death camps in this novel, we see the heartbreaking impact on so many, especially children, whose mothers and fathers were rounded up by the Nazis sent to those camps, killed there or before they get there. It tells of the brave and good people of the French Resistance who risked their lives, some of whom lost family of their own, forging documents and transporting Jewish children to safety. The narrative follows a pattern that I’ve seen in so many recent novels, alternating the past and present, tying the two together and this is so well done here. While the characters are imagined, they represent some real people and their courageous acts to save the lives of so many. This is discussed by the author in her notes at the end to put the imagined story in context with the history. Eva Traube Abrams, an eighty six year old semi retired librarian has shut out her past, kept it from her family. When she sees a newspaper article about a librarian in Berlin trying to connect people with books that might have been theirs before the Nazis looted libraries in Europe, she knows she can no longer shut out her story. The photo of a book Epitres et Evangiles (Epistles and Gospels), called The Book of Lost Names by Eva and others who forged documents to save Jewish children is more than just a Catholic Church text. It contains secret codes that preserved the given names of some of the children saved. “I want to keep a list of the children we are falsifying documents for. They belong to someone, all of them... Because someone should remember.” Eva’s desire in this beautiful way reflects my belief as well as so many others, that it is so very important to remember these victims. The novel is filled with tension and intrigue and it’s also a love story. I thought it was such a worthwhile story to read, but I took off a star since the ending, while touching, was predictable and didn’t strike me as realistic. Having said that, I highly recommend it to historical fiction fans, especially those who are as compelled as I am to read these stories and to insure that the victims of the Holocaust, both those who died and those who survived, are not forgotten. I received a copy of this book from Gallery Books/Simon & Schuster through Edelweiss.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Tina

    This book is a historical fiction that goes between 2005 (Eva in the present) and the 1940's (Eva in the past). This book is all about WWII when Germany takes over Paris, France. Eva is a Jewish girl that lived in Paris. This book will stay with me for so long. It will touch your heart. Eva is a girl that loves book that after the war become a librarian, but during the war she helped Jewish kids escape France to safe their life. She used The Book of Lost Name to help her remember all the kids re This book is a historical fiction that goes between 2005 (Eva in the present) and the 1940's (Eva in the past). This book is all about WWII when Germany takes over Paris, France. Eva is a Jewish girl that lived in Paris. This book will stay with me for so long. It will touch your heart. Eva is a girl that loves book that after the war become a librarian, but during the war she helped Jewish kids escape France to safe their life. She used The Book of Lost Name to help her remember all the kids real names. This book has sadness, l0ve, misunderstanding, and so much more. If you loved The Nightingale you will love this or if you love historical fiction books about WWII Paris France books. I loved this book so much, and this book should get a million stars. This is one of the best historical fiction books I have read. I was kindly provided an e-copy of this book by the publisher or author via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. (*)

  4. 5 out of 5

    Karren Sandercock

    May 2005, Eva Traube is in her 80’s and she enjoys working part time at her local library and she spends most of her time shelving books. One day she is shocked to see an article in a magazine, it’s about how the Nazis stole or destroyed priceless books from Berlin libraries during WW II, in the article was a photo of a book that was precious to Eva 65 years ago and she never thought she would ever see it again. Paris 1942, Eva lives happily with her mother Faiga and father Tatus, once the Germa May 2005, Eva Traube is in her 80’s and she enjoys working part time at her local library and she spends most of her time shelving books. One day she is shocked to see an article in a magazine, it’s about how the Nazis stole or destroyed priceless books from Berlin libraries during WW II, in the article was a photo of a book that was precious to Eva 65 years ago and she never thought she would ever see it again. Paris 1942, Eva lives happily with her mother Faiga and father Tatus, once the German’s arrive every day life is made more difficult for Jewish citizens and living in Paris is very hard. Despite being warned about a roundup of Jewish people Eva’s parents believe they are safe and one night during a raid only Tatus is taken into custody. Tatus has told Eva what to do if something ever happens to him, she’s to contact a man her father has organized to help her, he’s nervous, and he gives her some papers and makes her quickly leave. Eva and her mother escape to a little town called Aurignon in the free zone, using their new identity papers she altered and they find a place to stay at a small boarding house. Eva discovers from her desperation to save her mother and leave Paris, she’s has a talent for forgery and she can help others and the French resistance. Her years of watching her father repair type writers, she has learnt to type and she has a unique skill. Give her the correct paper, ink and pens, Eva can easily create fake identity papers, birth certificates, ration cards, travel documents and copy signatures. Eva's sweet mother has changed by the loss of her husband and she is now an angry, bitter, difficult women and she thinks Eva should be concentrating on trying to save her father. If she helps the resistance group, her mother has a place to stay and she feels like she is doing her part to get back at the Germans and she can’t do anything to help her father. Eva spends her time at the local church with Pere Clement a priest, Remy a fellow forger and together they create new identities for hundreds of Jewish people escaping to Switzerland. Eva notices that many of the new identities are for young Jewish children who are not escaping with their parents, they are too young to remember their real names and how will anyone find them when the war ends? Eva comes up with the idea to use a secret code called Fibonacci Sequence that only she and Remy understand, they use an eighteenth century religious book to keep a record of the children’s names and they refer to it as The book Of Lost Names. Sixty five years later, Eva must face her past to be reunited with her precious book that was taken from a church library during the end of the Second World War and she thought she would never see it again. The Book of Lost Names, has a dual time line that’s very easy to follow, the story is a about family, sacrifice, duty, friendship, honor, betrayal and lost love. What a brilliant book, five stars from me and if you like to read historical WW II fiction I highly recommend The Book of Lost Names. I have shared my review on Goodreads, Twitter, Amazon Australia, Edelweiss, Kobo and my blog. https://karrenreadsbooks.blogspot.com/

  5. 5 out of 5

    Ingrid

    As always I'm trying to find books about WWII that are interesting to read and have a fair bit of reality in them. This book is too much of a romance for me with characters that are magnified in a way that isn't very likely. Big change of character too during the story, from nasty to nice and the other way around. I loved the present part of it with the 85 year old protagonist whom I immediately liked. The history part of the stolen books is very interesting and the explanation at the end of the As always I'm trying to find books about WWII that are interesting to read and have a fair bit of reality in them. This book is too much of a romance for me with characters that are magnified in a way that isn't very likely. Big change of character too during the story, from nasty to nice and the other way around. I loved the present part of it with the 85 year old protagonist whom I immediately liked. The history part of the stolen books is very interesting and the explanation at the end of the book is therefore very valuable.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Lisa

    A captivating historical fiction story full of bravery and resilience. SUMMARY Eva Traube was forced to flee Paris in 1942 with her mother after the arrest of her father, a Polish Jew. She finds a refuge in a church in a small mountain town in the Free Zone. There she begins forging identity documents for Jewish children fleeing to Switzerland. In erasing these children’s identity Eva knows she must find a way to preserve the real names of the children who are perhaps too young to remember who the A captivating historical fiction story full of bravery and resilience. SUMMARY Eva Traube was forced to flee Paris in 1942 with her mother after the arrest of her father, a Polish Jew. She finds a refuge in a church in a small mountain town in the Free Zone. There she begins forging identity documents for Jewish children fleeing to Switzerland. In erasing these children’s identity Eva knows she must find a way to preserve the real names of the children who are perhaps too young to remember who they really are. She and Remy, her forging partner, keep records of the children secretly coded in a eighteenth century religious book she now calls The Book of Lost Names. Eva survives the war and now over 65 years later, She is a semi-retired librarian in Florida. It is at the Library that she spies a photograph of her book from 1942, The Book of Lost Names along with thousands of other valuable books had been looted by the Germans in the final days of the war and it is now housed in a Berlin library. At 86, Eva questions whether she has the strength to revisit old memories And see the book again. REVIEW THE BOOK OF LOST NAMES is a tension-filled and thought-proving World War II historical fiction drama. Eva’s character is a strong, smart and resilient woman, who is the pillar of the story. Her character is well-developed and the dialog is delightful. This riveting story is as smartly structured as the code in Eva’s secret book. The writing is engaging and evocative and transports us to Paris and the fictional town of Aurignon, South of Vichy during the height of the war. You can’t go wrong with this engaging story of bravery and perseverance. If you liked The Lilac Girls or The Alice Network you will love this one Author Kristen Harmel is a international best selling author of numerous books including The Winemaker’s Wife and The Room on Rue Amélie. Kristin was born just outside Boston, Massachusetts. After graduating with a degree in journalism from the University of Florida, she spent time living in Paris and Los Angeles and now lives in Orlando, with her family. Thanks to Netgalley and Gallery Books for an advance reading copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Publisher Gallery Books Published July 21, 2020 Review www.bluestockingreviews.com

  7. 5 out of 5

    Astrid - The Bookish Sweet Tooth

    TITLE: THE BOOK OF LOST NAMES AUTHOR: Kristin Harmel RELEASE DATE: July 21, 2020 GENRE: Historical Fiction THEMES & TROPES: WW II, Holocaust RATING: 4.5 STARS CLIFFHANGER: No READ MY REVIEW ON THE BLOG Word War II is without a doubt one of the darkest times of mankind and war stories set in that era are often unsettling because they force us to take a hard look at our heritage and our own position towards race and racism. THE BOOK OF LOST NAMES showcases how harrowing times and great adversity ca TITLE: THE BOOK OF LOST NAMES AUTHOR: Kristin Harmel RELEASE DATE: July 21, 2020 GENRE: Historical Fiction THEMES & TROPES: WW II, Holocaust RATING: 4.5 STARS CLIFFHANGER: No READ MY REVIEW ON THE BLOG Word War II is without a doubt one of the darkest times of mankind and war stories set in that era are often unsettling because they force us to take a hard look at our heritage and our own position towards race and racism. THE BOOK OF LOST NAMES showcases how harrowing times and great adversity can bring out the best and the worst in people,  it's about finding hope in places you didn't even know to look for it and joy and light in the darkest hours. It is against the backdrop of a France deeply involved in World War II that bookish Eva, a young Jewish woman, who was raised sheltered is forced to grow up quickly when her father is being deported by the Nazis. On the run with her devastated mother and on the way to neutral Switzerland she finds a modicum of safety in a small town south of Paris. Eva's artistic talent stirs the interest of the local resistance. Her own need for documents that pass Nazi scrutiny draws her into a life of secrecy and danger and soon she's one of the most prolific forgers in France. "I was never a hero. I was just a young woman trying to do the right thing. .” I loved Eva, despite the atrocities happening right in front of her nose she fought courageously, looked death in the eye and did whatever she could to help save lives. She had so much honor and gentleness about her and I think that's what Remy, a man who she comes to first trust and then love, drew to her. Torn between her belief and care for her mother on one side and her love for a Catholic man and loyalty to the people she has come to care about Eva has to make some tough decisions, and life itself is at stake, especially when you don't know who you can trust. Remy's affable and charming personality made him a favorite right from the start. There was a distinct sense of goodness and warmth that radiated off the pages. I had no idea how the author would manage not to break my heart completely but she totally accomplished that feat. I am my beloved’s, and my beloved is mine. I wanted to give this story a full five stars so bad, the story itself would have deserved it but there is this one niggle I have. Eva's mother is a real piece of work, blaming her daughter for her husband's deportation, being mean and lashing out. And I so, so wished Eva would have stood up for herself, instead she tried to placate her mother  and many times it felt like Eva was the parent calming a whiny toddler throwing a temper tantrum. I could see why she was that way with her mother, still...She was such a strong heroine in every regard but not when it came to her mother. The book jumps between wartime and 2005 and while we know the significance of The Book of Lost Names pretty much from the start, we learn so much more about it and why it is even more important to Eva than we thought. The last 30% are a quick-moving, action-filled and emotional tour de force that left me a little breathless, as if I had lived through Eva and Remy's big finale. Riding on an emotional roller coaster that drags you through hope, love, trust, friendship, humanity and secrets, heartbreak and betrayal this story is a stark reminder that we aren't done processing and learning from this dark spot in our history by a long shot. It made me feel uncomfortable and sad and tear up, but also smile. I loved THE BOOK OF LOST NAMES with all my heart. “Sir,” I reply, “we are only responsible for the things we do—or fail to do—ourselves. You owe me no apology.”

  8. 5 out of 5

    Annette

    During WWII, forgers played important role in the Resistance. It was a network of “brave people who used their artistic ability and scientific ingenuity to produce convincing documents that allowed innocent people to survive.” Florida, 2005. Eva Traube, librarian, comes across an article talking about a book, which she thought had vanished forever. Paris, 1942. Eva is pursuing her doctorate in English literature. Her father, Polish-born Jew, is arrested. But before that he arranged with his employ During WWII, forgers played important role in the Resistance. It was a network of “brave people who used their artistic ability and scientific ingenuity to produce convincing documents that allowed innocent people to survive.” Florida, 2005. Eva Traube, librarian, comes across an article talking about a book, which she thought had vanished forever. Paris, 1942. Eva is pursuing her doctorate in English literature. Her father, Polish-born Jew, is arrested. But before that he arranged with his employer for fake documents for Eva in order for her to escape to the free zone in Switzerland. Since she has to escape with her mother now, she is given blank documents and supplies to forge their own documents. From Paris, they travel east, toward the Alps and make a stop in Aurignon. Where, even though their papers are very legible looking, there is something else that gives them away. Now, a Catholic priest asks Eva for help in forging papers for Jewish children. He convinces her to do this “artistic endeavors” in order “to move toward a life of freedom.” Her mother wants to continue toward the free zone. Eva is torn. With her work materializing on a page in front of her, “hope floats up within her.” She feels it within her that she is doing a good work and the right one. Her father’s words “Who will remember us?” bring up a concern. Who will remember the real names of the Jewish children for whom she is forging the documents and who are too young to remember later their real names. Her partner in forgery, Remy, comes up with a brilliant idea. His love for math and the Fibonacci sequence give him an idea how to code real names without putting any one in danger. Written with so much humanity. There is so much love and caring breathed into the characters, making it one of the most endearing and beautiful stories. You can also feel the pain of those who lost the love ones. You can sense Eva’s hesitation. She wants to do the right thing by her mother and the right thing dictated by her heart. But her mother’s different thinking doesn’t make it easy for her. Helping the children makes Eva feel like she “can bring some light to the world, even in the midst of all the darkness.” The description of the town brings so much of visible charm. I was also enchanted by the invisible charm of the closeness of people working together, being part of a network which helps hundreds of innocent children, who some lost their parents, to escape the injustice inflicted upon them. I enjoyed the magical description of the town so much that I wanted to locate it on a map. As it turns out, it’s a fictional town. I understand it gives any writer more freedom, who doesn’t have to worry about town’s accuracy. But setting it in a real town makes it a more credible story. That’s the only thing I wished was different about this book. This spellbinding page-turner doesn’t bring atrocity of WWII and despite the horror and injustice of the war, the author manages to create such heart-warming story of network of people who risk their own lives to save others. The story brings such characters one cares deeply for and who take a reader on an extraordinary journey of courage, faith and bravery. Source: ARC was provided by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Kristie

    This was the the first book that I read by Kristin Harmel and I thought it was excellent. Several of her other books have sounded interesting to me and made it onto my TBR, but it took a NetGalley deadline to get me to actually read one. I am so glad I finally did and I look forward to reading more of her work soon. I thought young Ava started out a bit naive. She made a couple of decisions that made me think that she was going to be one of those main characters that was foolish and I wouldn't b This was the the first book that I read by Kristin Harmel and I thought it was excellent. Several of her other books have sounded interesting to me and made it onto my TBR, but it took a NetGalley deadline to get me to actually read one. I am so glad I finally did and I look forward to reading more of her work soon. I thought young Ava started out a bit naive. She made a couple of decisions that made me think that she was going to be one of those main characters that was foolish and I wouldn't be able to relate to her. However, she quickly became a brave woman that I could admire. I thought the writing was engaging and had just the right amount of description. The feel of the story reminds me a bit of The Nightingale. There is romance and danger, betrayal and loyalty, family and obligation, and most of all love. If you enjoyed The Nightingale, you will likely enjoy this story as well. If you thought that story was too light and focused on the romance, you may have a similar opinion of this story. For me, it was just right. Thank you to NetGalley and Gallery Books for providing me with a free electronic copy in exchange for an honest review.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Suzanne Leopold (Suzy Approved Book Reviews)

    In 1942, Eva Traube was a happy graduate student working with her favorite things in the world - books. However, her quiet life in Paris is quickly turned on its head when her father is arrested along with thousands of other Jewish people living in France. This sudden turn of events forces Eva and her mother to flee to the French countryside seeking shelter from the expanding Nazi forces. In the quaint village of Aurignon, Eva finds herself becoming involved in an underground resistance movement In 1942, Eva Traube was a happy graduate student working with her favorite things in the world - books. However, her quiet life in Paris is quickly turned on its head when her father is arrested along with thousands of other Jewish people living in France. This sudden turn of events forces Eva and her mother to flee to the French countryside seeking shelter from the expanding Nazi forces. In the quaint village of Aurignon, Eva finds herself becoming involved in an underground resistance movement forging identities for Jewish children escaping to Switzerland. Eva risks her own safety for the lives of children and to protect their heritage writes their true names in code in a large volume in the small church of Aurignon. Eva becomes increasingly important to the resistance movement, but things become tricky as she forms relationships with the other members. The ties to her family and to her cause pull her in opposing directions, and she must make life changing decisions. The records she and her partner Remy keep in the Book of Lost Names are vital as the resistance cell begins to disappear. Years later, Eva Traube Abrams is called back to her past when she sees an article about the looting of libraries by the Nazis with the very same volume pictured in it. Eva faces another life-altering choice to continue in her new life or revisit her past with her most painful and most joyful moments. Kristen Harmel is a New York Times bestselling author of The Book of Lost Names, The Winemaker’s Wife, and many more novels. This story has tension and mystery while also touching on themes of romance, heritage, and bravery. It is a wonderful work of historical fiction that will engage you with the characters’ resilience.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Elizabeth of Silver's Reviews

    Was Eva seeing correctly? Did this newspaper article actually show the book she had used during the war to put children's names in that they had to change to protect their identity? Eva had to go to Berlin immediately to claim it. We now move from present day to 1942 where Eva and her Mother escape from Paris with documents she forged the morning after her father was arrested and taken to a prison camp. Eva and her mother travel to Aurignon, France, on the advice of a friend where they found lodgin Was Eva seeing correctly? Did this newspaper article actually show the book she had used during the war to put children's names in that they had to change to protect their identity? Eva had to go to Berlin immediately to claim it. We now move from present day to 1942 where Eva and her Mother escape from Paris with documents she forged the morning after her father was arrested and taken to a prison camp. Eva and her mother travel to Aurignon, France, on the advice of a friend where they found lodging and an observant owner that realizes their papers aren’t real. That turned out well, though, because the owner was part of the French Resistance. Eva was asked to help forge travel documents and birth certificates for Jewish children. Eva didn’t want to allow the children to be lost forever to their real names so she and Rémy invented a code that would keep the children anonymous but be able to know their real names some day. The code they used was brilliant, and Eva saved many children. Now that it is 65 years later she hopes to help find the children and let them know their real names. THE BOOK OF LOST NAMES is another impressive Kristin Harmel gem. It will grab your heart and pull you in. Words cannot express the beauty of this book. All I can say is you must read this book to appreciate it. 5/5 This book was given to me by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Mary Monroe

    THE BOOK OF LOST NAMES takes place in WWII France. The story reveals how we find moments of joy in times of hardship. It is the perfect book for this summer, eh?

  13. 5 out of 5

    Susan Phillips

    This wonderful book explores a whole new aspect of the French resistance. A real page turner. I can't remember the last time I read a book in one day.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Elisheva

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I really wanted to like this book, the premise was really intriguing, but I did not like the execution. The book's summary starts, "Inspired by an astonishing true story," which I feel is misleading. Yes there were forgers in Nazi-occupied France but Eva, the cast of characters around her, and even the town, are all fictional. There was no Jewish female forger who served as the basis for Eva. Historical fiction novels run the gamut from fictionalized accounts of real people to fictional stories I really wanted to like this book, the premise was really intriguing, but I did not like the execution. The book's summary starts, "Inspired by an astonishing true story," which I feel is misleading. Yes there were forgers in Nazi-occupied France but Eva, the cast of characters around her, and even the town, are all fictional. There was no Jewish female forger who served as the basis for Eva. Historical fiction novels run the gamut from fictionalized accounts of real people to fictional stories set in historically accurate settings. This book is the later. But that has more to do with the publisher's marketing strategy than the author. My reactions to Eva, her characterization, and the plot, ranged from disinterested to anger. First, the author cannot seem to decide who Eva is - is she an observant/religious Jewish woman from a religious family that prides their religious observance (as implied by the juxtaposition of Eva to Joseph on p.7), an unaffiliated Jewish woman from a family that is somewhat observant, non-practicing from a non-practicing family, a woman of faith who loses her connection to Judaism as time goes on, a woman who struggles with her Jewish identity, or a woman who is completely disinterested and the only reason why she is nominally Jewish is because the story is set in WWII France, a good Catholic girl? The author cannot seem to decide. Eva is Jewish and observant, when convenient, Eva is not observant and not Jewish when convenient. If Eva is an observant Jew from an observant family, she certainly doesn't act like it. Not a single internal monologue about how she has to change her practice, keep her practice hidden, does not feel connected to Judaism, or anything. I forgot Eva was Jewish until one of the side characters mentions it. For a novel primarily written in the first person, Eva does not tell us anything about her actions. The reader only discovers it because other characters comment on her behavior. Eva became Catholic and began practicing Catholicism - we learn this from her mother, not from Eva herself. And even then, Eva doesn't address it. Eva is also terrible at keeping secrets and staying under the radar. Makes false identity cards for herself and her mother so that they can pass as non-Jews, immediately reveals her true indentity to everyone she meets. Gets a new fake identity, immediately reveals it again. Meets Joseph under a pseudonym and told to not use his real name around people. Eva and her mother IMMEDIATELY call Joseph by his true name in front of the boardinghouse proprietress, the exact person they were told to NOT reveal his name to. Similar incidents happen with Genevieve. Either Eva is terrible at keeping secrets or the author got confused and put the wrong names in the text. The romance between Eva and Remy felt forced and was uninteresting. Why can't female protagonists doing cool stuff - forgery for the resistance and saving children and others from the Nazis, stand on their own? Why shoehorn a problematic romance into the story. Eva's story should have been interesting on its own. Random fictionalized Nazi with a heart of gold - ugh hard pass. Why is this here? The author also used poor choice of phrases. Once is a mistake. Three or more times is intentional. The author describes Eva as choosing to walk into the fire, a Jewish child with grief tattooed on her, and Eva states that the Catholic priest "redeemed her." Incredibly problematic language to use for a Jewish character during the Holocaust. The book left me wondering if the author is Jewish or if the author is a random person who decided to make a Jewish character just for kicks but then didn't want to commit to actually writing an observant Jewish protagonist as a heroine in a WWII but not Holocaust story. The summary on the back of the book promised me a story about a resistance member who worked as a forger to save children, recorded their identities, and then resurfaces after the war to track down the children and the fight to reclaim them and their identities (as many people who hid Jewish children during the war refused to return them to their families and erased their Jewish identities). Instead, I got a half-baked story with a protagonist who refused to share information with the reader about anything other than a crush she has on the hot Catholic boy working with her with a side of boo-hoo-the-poor-Jewish-children and oh this one Nazi is actually a good guy don't be so judgmental Eva. I got a free copy as part of a goodreads giveaway.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Ink Drinker

    Wow!!! What a book! It gives me all the feels. I love historical fiction taking place during WWII and have read many fiction and non-fiction books regarding this subject. Kristin Harmel's research and dedication are reflected in this book. She is one of my favorite authors so I was excited, but a little anxious, to see if she could, yet again, write another best seller. Guess what? She did!! Doing it among many good authors writing about this time period. The first thing that caught my eye was th Wow!!! What a book! It gives me all the feels. I love historical fiction taking place during WWII and have read many fiction and non-fiction books regarding this subject. Kristin Harmel's research and dedication are reflected in this book. She is one of my favorite authors so I was excited, but a little anxious, to see if she could, yet again, write another best seller. Guess what? She did!! Doing it among many good authors writing about this time period. The first thing that caught my eye was the beautiful book cover! Then, after reading just a few pages, I was fully captured by The Book of Lost Names. Eva, a captivating main character is an experienced librarian. As all librarians do, Eva was shelving books one day at work when she came across a book titled The Book of Lost Names, a book she had not seen in 65 years. The book contains secret code and Eva is the only one that understands it. Eva, Remy and Pere tell the story of the lives they have saved during WWII. They are everyday ordinary heroes during a dark time and wanted to make sure that others weren't forgotten or abolished from history. Their names are forever captured in The Book of Lost Names. A BIG thank you to Netgalley and Gallery Books for this magnificent ARC in exchange for my honest review. #TheBookofLostNames #NetGalley

  16. 5 out of 5

    MicheleReader

    I love historical fiction. And I gravitate to books that take place during WWII. But I’m always concerned that the book will be too emotional. Yet here I am, feeling gutted but so happy that I read The Book of Lost Names by Kristin Harmel. This engrossing story is set mostly in the past during the 1940s in France and in 2005 where 86 year-old Eva is going to confront her past. Widowed and living in Florida as a semi-retired librarian, she reads an article in The New York Times about a library in I love historical fiction. And I gravitate to books that take place during WWII. But I’m always concerned that the book will be too emotional. Yet here I am, feeling gutted but so happy that I read The Book of Lost Names by Kristin Harmel. This engrossing story is set mostly in the past during the 1940s in France and in 2005 where 86 year-old Eva is going to confront her past. Widowed and living in Florida as a semi-retired librarian, she reads an article in The New York Times about a library in Berlin that has a large collection of books that were looted by the Nazis during the war and the effort being undertaken to find the true owners. Eva immediately recognizes the book she had called The Book of Lost Names. Her book. In 1942, Eva and her mother had to flee Paris after her father was arrested. As Jews, they were no longer safe. They went to a small town in France to hide with the hopes of escaping to Switzerland. Eva soon became an integral part of the resistance using her artist skills creating new identities for Jewish children by forging official documents for them. Working secretly in a church, she takes an old religious text and encodes the pages with the real and new names of the children. Her hope was that one day the children would be able to learn of their true identities. Together with Remy, they made it possible for many children to escape through ingenious forging methods. But the Nazis are about to uncover their operation. Based on true events, The Book of Lost Names will bring you into the horrors of the war and the dilemma of whether to try to save yourself or try to save others. And as Eva becomes more integrated into the Catholic community that is working to save the lives of Jewish children, is she losing her own Jewish identity as she erases the children’s identities on their records? This is a beautiful yet heartbreaking story of bravery, determination and love. If you too enjoy books of this genre, this one should be at the top of your list. And as with other books that draw from history, be sure to read the Epilogue which details the brave people who inspired this book. Now, please pass the Kleenex. Many thanks to NetGalley, Edelweiss, Gallery Books and Kristin Harmel for an advance copy of this unforgettable book which will be published on July 21, 2020. Review posted on MicheleReader.com.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Karen

    I flew through most of this book in a single sitting and then spent the last 10-15% absolutely sobbing, so that should give you a good indication of how much I loved this book. I am a huge fan of historical fiction, and a book set during WW2 can hardly ever go wrong. This book started a bit slow but really picks up once the main character, Eva, is forced to flee Paris with her mother after the arrest of her father and the larger roundup of Jews by the Nazis. She finds eventual refuge in an underg I flew through most of this book in a single sitting and then spent the last 10-15% absolutely sobbing, so that should give you a good indication of how much I loved this book. I am a huge fan of historical fiction, and a book set during WW2 can hardly ever go wrong. This book started a bit slow but really picks up once the main character, Eva, is forced to flee Paris with her mother after the arrest of her father and the larger roundup of Jews by the Nazis. She finds eventual refuge in an underground network, forging documents for children who are being smuggled out of the country and into safety. In general, the story reminded me a lot of The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah, in regards to a female main character in France joining a network devoted to helping Jewish people escape and survive. I absolutely loved the occasional cuts to the present-day, as Eva, now well into her eighties, recognizes a book in a newspaper article that calls her back to the past. (And the ending! Ah! My favourite.) That's a framing device The Nightingale also uses, and I think it's a really clever move to keep readers engaged and curious to see what happens next. Really, I just loved this novel a lot. Its characters were full and complex and it was heartbreaking to read at times, knowing the likely outcome of those taken away by Nazis. This was my first time reading a book by Kristin Harmel, though I've heard rave reviews for The Winemaker's Wife, and I am definitely going to dip into her backlist. Highly, highly recommend. An ARC was provided to me for free by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Deborah

    Another book about World War II. Yet, I still love them. The time and place draws me in especially when inspired by real events. Eva Traube Abrams, an 86-year-old Florida librarian, is hurled back into the past when she recognizes a stolen book that a German librarian is trying to restore to its rightful owner. Evan knew the religious work as The Book of Lost Names where she had recorded and encoded the real names of young Jewish children decades earlier. In 1942 she and her mother fled Paris af Another book about World War II. Yet, I still love them. The time and place draws me in especially when inspired by real events. Eva Traube Abrams, an 86-year-old Florida librarian, is hurled back into the past when she recognizes a stolen book that a German librarian is trying to restore to its rightful owner. Evan knew the religious work as The Book of Lost Names where she had recorded and encoded the real names of young Jewish children decades earlier. In 1942 she and her mother fled Paris after the arrest of her father, who was a Polish Jew. In a village in the Free Zone, she learns to forge false identification documents for Jewish children and others. She meets fellow forger, Rémy. This is a story of a young woman, who struggles to do the right thing for her family, her beliefs, and her country. However, acting and trusting can lead to deadly consequences. The ending was perfect.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Lindsey Gandhi

    "Books are magic." I love historical fiction books, I really love them when it's a brand new storyline I haven't read before (and that's a tough feat with a book about WWII) and I especially love them when there is the most amazing hook at the beginning of the book. This book immediately sucks you in from page one and you won't let out your breathe until the very last page. The writing is as smooth as silk. The character development is simply phenomenal! Eva is one of many heroes you will read a "Books are magic." I love historical fiction books, I really love them when it's a brand new storyline I haven't read before (and that's a tough feat with a book about WWII) and I especially love them when there is the most amazing hook at the beginning of the book. This book immediately sucks you in from page one and you won't let out your breathe until the very last page. The writing is as smooth as silk. The character development is simply phenomenal! Eva is one of many heroes you will read about. This really is a captivating, thought provoking book. I fell in love with the characters and their bravery was beyond inspiring. This isn't just a book about WWII and the Nazis driving all of the Jews out of France. This is a story about bravery, friendships, family, hope, sacrifice, honor, resilience, betrayal and love. "I would rather die knowing I had tried to do the right thing than live knowing I had turned my back." - Pere Clement Despite the horrific atrocities happening to them, the daily fear of death, the characters find a way to turn the dark into light, to find hope when there is none, they find a way to survive. This book grabbed my heart, moved me and touched my soul in a way that I didn't want to let go. Read this book. I promise you will not be disappointed. If I could give this book more than 5 stars, I would. One of the best books of 2020. My thanks to Kristin Harmel, Gallery Books and Netgalley for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Tammy

    I finished this several days ago and am still thinking about it. I can’t begin to give Kristin Harmel all the credit she deserves for writing this. It’s inspired by a true story that I took to heart while reading. The Book of Lost Names is about the very little written subject of Resistance Forgers during WWll. This is the first novel I’ve read surrounding this subject. These forgers were unknown hero’s during the war, risking their own safety to stay in enemy territory to produce various docume I finished this several days ago and am still thinking about it. I can’t begin to give Kristin Harmel all the credit she deserves for writing this. It’s inspired by a true story that I took to heart while reading. The Book of Lost Names is about the very little written subject of Resistance Forgers during WWll. This is the first novel I’ve read surrounding this subject. These forgers were unknown hero’s during the war, risking their own safety to stay in enemy territory to produce various documents for fleeing Jews, the Resistance, and American/British soldiers trying to escape German capture. Eva, a Jew who narrowly escaped from the Paris Vel' d'Hiv' Roundup to a French free-zone with her mother, was one such forger producing false identities to help children escape to Switzerland. The Book of Lost Names was an actual hidden list of Jewish children’s real names created by Eva and another forger, Remy. The books pages were deemed the only safe place to write the real names of these Jewish children to someday be returned to their proper families. They were written in code inside the pages of a very old and priceless religious book. It was later stolen by the Nazis when they looted the Catholic Church it was located in. Eva, her mother, Remy and the townspeople put the lives of others first. Always. Even losing their own to keep others safe. The sweetest part of the story for me was following Eva and Remy’s romance as it blossomed into love. Remy had my heart skipping a beat, he’s adorable. If you enjoy historical or WWll fiction, this is the book you won’t want to miss.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Marilyn

    I have had the privilege of reading several of Kristin Harmel’s books and have really liked each one. The Book With No Names is no exception. It was a well written historical novel that went back and forth between time periods. Part of the story took place in Florida in 2005 and the other part took part in France in the 1940’s. The characters were well developed and the plot was intriguing. Kristin Harmel, brilliantly wrote about the roles of Forgers as part of the Resistance during World War II I have had the privilege of reading several of Kristin Harmel’s books and have really liked each one. The Book With No Names is no exception. It was a well written historical novel that went back and forth between time periods. Part of the story took place in Florida in 2005 and the other part took part in France in the 1940’s. The characters were well developed and the plot was intriguing. Kristin Harmel, brilliantly wrote about the roles of Forgers as part of the Resistance during World War II. I didn’t know a lot about these valuable and brave men and women and so after I finished this book I did a little research about them on my own. Forgers played such a key role in helping so many people, especially children, escape from the Nazi’s and survive the Holocaust. Most of the well known forgers became forgers out of necessity and to survive. Many of the forgers were Jewish. The Book of Lost Names was based on the lives of real forgers. The research for this book was extensive and thorough. At 86, Eva Traube was still working in a library part time. Although many thought Eva should retire she had no intentions of doing so any time soon. She lived in Florida near her only her son. Eva was a widow. Her job at the library was shelving books. She had always had a love for books so it pleased her to be around so many varied books. One day, Eva was covering the desk when she spotted an article in a magazine. It mentioned that a German man was trying to find the owners of books that had been confiscated by the Nazis during World War II. The name of one of the books that had been found was The Book of Lost Names. Eva started to tremble when she saw the name of that particular book. She knew that book. It was hers. Right before her eyes was the picture of the book Eva believed was lost. She hadn’t seen that book for 65 years. Eva knew what she had to do. Eva had grown up in Paris. Her parents were observant Jews that had immigrated to Paris from Poland. When the Nazis invaded Paris in 1942, Eva was in the midst of obtaining her doctorate in English literature. One day, a friend of Eva’s who was involved in the Resistance tried warning Eva of a potential roundup by the Nazis. They planned on taking thousands of Jews and putting them in work camps. Sure enough, a few nights later, the roundup occurred. Eva and her mother were not at home. They had been asked to watch a neighbor’s children while the neighbor went to help her elderly mother. The neighbor Eva and her mother were helping was not Jewish so when the Nazis came to their apartment building they did not bang on that door. Eva’s father was taken into custody. Her mother was inconsolable. Eva’s father had instructed Eva what to if he and her mother were ever taken into custody. She was to go to his boss. Eva’s father had paid his boss an insurmountable amount of money to guarantee he would make Eva forged documents so she could escape to Switzerland. When Eva arrived at her father’s boss’s office and she explained that now she needed documents not only for herself but also for her mother her father’s boss panicked and told her he could not do that. Instead he gave Eva blank papers and colored pens and told Eva she would have to forge her own documents for her and her mother. That was what Eva did. Eva and her mother made their way to the train station. They knew they had to get to the Free Zone. Headed east they departed on a train and arrived in a small, quaint village called Aurignon. Eva and her mother found shelter in a boarding house. The documents Eva forged for her and her mother were quite impressive. Little did Eva know that because of necessity she had shown a remarkable talent for forgery. She had not known she possessed this talent. The town of Aurignon had many residents involved in the resistance. The Catholic priest was not only involved in the resistance but was quite a central figure in its organization in this quiet little town. He convinced Eva to forge documents for them so hundreds of Jewish children could escape to Switzerland. Eva’s mother made Eva feel guilty. Her mother thought Eva was forgetting her religion and her father. She could not understand why Eva was devoting so much time to this effort and putting herself at such a risk for this priest. Eva’s mother only wanted to honor her father’s wishes and get to Switzerland. Her mother never lost hope that Eva’s father would return and find them when the war was over. Eva felt that she was saving lives and that that was so important. One thing troubled Eva, though. All the Jewish children she was forging false documents for had to take new names. Who would remember who they really were? Eva and her fellow forger, Remy, devised a plan. The real names of the children were secretly coded in a book Eva and Remy named The Book of Lost Names. Remy brilliantly devised a system where he used the Fibonacci sequence to code the children’s real names. No one was able to decipher the code so the children’s real identities were safe but not forgotten. When Eva, now an old lady, living in Florida, saw her book pictured in the magazine article, she knew that she had no choice but to confront her past head on. She called the person in Berlin that had possession of her book and let him know she was coming to Berlin to claim it. Determined to get to Berlin to repossess her treasured book that had been stolen from the secret church library in Aurignon sixty five years ago by the Nazis, she boarded the plane without even informing her son of her plans. Eva never dreamed that she would ever see this book again. She had to go and make sure this was her book and to hold it in her own hands. I had previously read The Winemaker’s Wife and loved it. I didn’t think that Kristin Harmel could top that one but she did. The Book of Lost Names was brilliant. I could not put it down. The characters were likable and endearing for the most part. The story was fast paced and heart-warming. There was so much courage, bravery, love, faith, friendship, sacrifice, caring, deception and pain sprinkled and interwoven throughout the story. If you love historical fiction you will absolutely love The Book of Lost Names by Kristin Harmel. I highly recommend it. I received a complimentary copy of The Book of Lost Names from Gallery Books through Netgalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own. This was a strong five star book for me.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Laurie • The Baking Bookworm

    The Book of Lost Names is my second book by Kristin Harmel and like The Winemaker's Wife (which I read two weeks ago and reviewed recently), it is set during WWII, uses two time frames and is inspired by a true story. The focus of this story is set in France during WWII while the current-day time frame remains quite secondary. The older story line follows Eva, a young Parisian Jewish woman who,suddenly finds herself (and her mother) in a small French village. There, Eva uses her artistic talents The Book of Lost Names is my second book by Kristin Harmel and like The Winemaker's Wife (which I read two weeks ago and reviewed recently), it is set during WWII, uses two time frames and is inspired by a true story. The focus of this story is set in France during WWII while the current-day time frame remains quite secondary. The older story line follows Eva, a young Parisian Jewish woman who,suddenly finds herself (and her mother) in a small French village. There, Eva uses her artistic talents to help a small cell of the French Resistance by forging false documents to help hundreds of Jewish children escape to safety in Switzerland to avoid the Nazis. It's an awesome premise, right? The setting of WWII is always an emotional one and the book starts out (and ends) strong but the tension and pacing slow dramatically in the middle as the story focuses more on Eva's day-to-day tasks as a forger. It's at this point that a lot of page time was given to rehashing the same arguments between Eva and her mother, whose constant complaints, belittling comments towards Eva and her obstinate behaviour quickly became tiresome. We see some growth in Eva but I can't honestly say I felt invested in her life and even with the subject matter and setting, I didn't feel emotionally connected to the story like I thought I would. The Book of Lost Names had an intriguing premise, but I found it to be a predictable story that I was hoping would be more emotional. I'm hopeful that it may introduce readers to parts of history they knew nothing about and perhaps encourage them to learn more about the French Resistance. For those who enjoy learning about the human toll of war but with a lighter hand, The Book of Lost Names would be a great pick. Disclaimer: My sincere thanks to Simon and Schuster Canada for providing me with a complimentary eBook copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

    Oh dear! I truly wanted to love this novel because the story sounded so intriguing but, my goodness, did I struggle to get to the end! I may as well pat myself on the back for making that effort, for the journey was paved with soporific pathos and whining internal monologue. What could have been a really wonderful story was spoilt for me by the way it was told. (view spoiler)[ Why didn't the author write more about the jewish children being smuggled to Switzerland under the Nazi noses? Why did sh Oh dear! I truly wanted to love this novel because the story sounded so intriguing but, my goodness, did I struggle to get to the end! I may as well pat myself on the back for making that effort, for the journey was paved with soporific pathos and whining internal monologue. What could have been a really wonderful story was spoilt for me by the way it was told. (view spoiler)[ Why didn't the author write more about the jewish children being smuggled to Switzerland under the Nazi noses? Why did she have to include the clichéd golden-haired and tender-hearted Nazi officer? And as for the good guy turned traitor, how contrived can you get? And at the end, as a sort of reward for getting that far, why didn't we at least find out what happened to the four children Eva and Rémy accompanied to the Swiss border? (hide spoiler)] Because of the way the story was narrated, the romantic passages left me cold and I felt like slapping Eva round the face whenever she revealed carefully guarded secrets and falsified identities. I know I'm going against the grain here, but I'm afraid, for me at least, this novel doesn't deserve more than 2 stars.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Pam

    Once again, Ms Harmel has hit a home run with this WWII historical fiction! We begin this story meeting an elderly librarian in Florida as she sees an image of a book that she has not seen in decades! The image and article is of a book that our librarian used to log the names of Jewish children that had been smuggled out of France. The story takes off from there... The story is told in alternating timelines and it is easy to follow. When we are in our current time period, I kept thinking, "Let's Once again, Ms Harmel has hit a home run with this WWII historical fiction! We begin this story meeting an elderly librarian in Florida as she sees an image of a book that she has not seen in decades! The image and article is of a book that our librarian used to log the names of Jewish children that had been smuggled out of France. The story takes off from there... The story is told in alternating timelines and it is easy to follow. When we are in our current time period, I kept thinking, "Let's get back to 1942/43". This was a wonderful book that kept me on the edge of my seat for a few days. I loved it and that is why I gave it 4 Stars! I did take 1 star away because I really would have liked to have focused more on the names of the children in present day. Perhaps that is her next book!!!!! My thanks to Netgalley and Gallery Books for this advanced readers copy. This book is due to release in July 2020.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Christie«SHBBblogger»

    Title: The Book of Lost Names Series: standalone Author: Kristen Harmel Release date: July 21, 2020 Cliffhanger: no Genre: historical fiction Right now, WW2 is a heavy topic to take on for me, but somehow it's been exactly what I needed. The Book of Lost Names brings you to a very dark time in the history of the world, but it's also an open window to the resilience of the human spirit. It took an army of courageous people outside of military forces who were willing to risk immediate execution to save Title: The Book of Lost Names Series: standalone Author: Kristen Harmel Release date: July 21, 2020 Cliffhanger: no Genre: historical fiction Right now, WW2 is a heavy topic to take on for me, but somehow it's been exactly what I needed. The Book of Lost Names brings you to a very dark time in the history of the world, but it's also an open window to the resilience of the human spirit. It took an army of courageous people outside of military forces who were willing to risk immediate execution to save the lives of strangers. Many of these people are unsung heroes, their sacrifices forgotten as time moves on. This novel is inspired by real life forgotten heroes fighting quietly behind the scenes in the resistance's network. Forgery played an essential role in smuggling refugees out of danger, which required a great deal of talent to successfully pull off. Eva Traube never thought her natural artistic skill would play an important role in her life until she realized that with a swipe of her pen she could save thousands. When Eva flees Paris with her mother to the free zone in Aurignon, her only plans were to make her way as fast as possible to Switzerland where the two of them would be safe. Fate had other ideas. Once they arrive at a boarding house, tired and hungry, they soon discover allies in desperate need of her skills. Tentatively at first, she agrees to help a man named Rémy forge paperwork that will fool the Nazis. Not only does she do impeccable work, but she finds a way to increase production to maximize how many people receive help. Once she joins the effort, she must admit to herself that her conscience won't let her turn her back on the helpless. What was once a temporary job turns permanent. Orphaned children were being smuggled in and housed with caregivers in the city before it was safe to move on. How could she have lived with herself afterwards if she had selfishly ignored what she was capable of contributing to those who had lost everything like herself? Loss would forever be etched on the child like a tattoo; it might fade over time, but it would never be erased. Eva was a softhearted, gentle woman who acted far beyond her years as she did what had to be done without complaint. She may have fallen into the network by chance, but she eventually believed that she was put there for a reason. After many months when she meets some of the orphans in hiding, it occurs to her that these children will never remember where they came from if there is no record of their real names. And so the book of lost names is created. In an old, dusty religious text, she and Rémy devise a secret code that will allow them to keep a record of these lost souls. The Nazis were trying to erase not only an entire race of people, but their history right along with them. Often she worried that she was forgetting her own family and religion as she worked alongside Christians in a Catholic church. She couldn't help but feel bitter and lack the will to continue Jewish traditions and prayer while the world burned around her. Honestly, I completely sympathized and understood where she was coming from. Unfortunately, her mother chose to frequently enforce the idea that could do no right. Eva hardly recognized the woman before her, the woman trembling with anger, the woman whose decision to hold on to a past that would never return had made her into something cold and unfamiliar. This brings me to my one issue with the story. Eva's mother was a thorn in her side that I found so hard to tolerate. Every single scene she was in made me either want to strangle her or slap her. From the moment she discovered that her husband had been taken by the Nazis in Paris, she dragged her feet and made an impossible situation worse. In such harrowing, devastating conditions, I should have felt some shred of sympathy for her, but instead I could do nothing but despise her. A mother should always do their best to protect their children from emotional and physical harm, but she did the opposite. Not only insulting every single thing she did and said, but placing blame on Eva for events that were beyond her control. There was no redeeming her in the end as I had lost all respect for this woman who needed to be babysat and admonished constantly like a child. My issue wasn't solely that the character was unlikable, but the fact that she was only unlikable. There were no shades of grey to soften the harshness of her, no vulnerable side to make her feel fleshed out to the fullest. The romance between Rémy and Eva blossomed tenderly among the ugliness around them. I adored both of them separately, and desperately wanted them to find their happy ending together. They complimented each other beautifully; he was mischievous and she was solemn. She arrived soft-spoken and broken, and he showed her what confidence and courage looked like. Both had a fierce loyalty to those they loved that nothing could alter. In the present time POV, you really see how strong she became as a woman, yet she was essentially the same. She was still an intelligent, proud woman who never lost her love of the written word. The problem was, she she didn't allow those closest to her to understand the true depth of her character, or how the war shaped her entire life. I thought I might feel heartbroken for all she had lost by the end, but after finishing all I felt was peace. It wasn't a cookie cutter happy ending, but it was raw, it was real, and it was beautiful. Any fan of tumultuous, wartime historical fiction with plenty of suspense should give this book a chance. It explores the often overlooked forgers of the time as well as the Nazis' role in looting priceless books. As a book lover myself I appreciated the clever way they were integrated into the central storyline. In summary, I can't recommend this book enough. It was filled with heart, faith, and enduring hope which is so necessary in a book with such heavy themes. It's an absolute must read! FOLLOW SMOKIN HOT BOOK BLOG ON:

  26. 4 out of 5

    Leanne Whistance-Smith

    Absolutely SPEECHLESS 😭❤️ Hands down one of the best books I’ve ever read. The Book of Lost Names gave me all the feels and I am not exaggerating when I say I could not put it down. It captured my heart and brought me to tears many times. Inspired by a true story during WWII, Eva, a young Jewish woman with a talent for forgery helps hundreds of children flee the Nazi’s by making false documents for them to reach safety. Harmel takes us on a captivating journey filled with resilience, love, misund Absolutely SPEECHLESS 😭❤️ Hands down one of the best books I’ve ever read. The Book of Lost Names gave me all the feels and I am not exaggerating when I say I could not put it down. It captured my heart and brought me to tears many times. Inspired by a true story during WWII, Eva, a young Jewish woman with a talent for forgery helps hundreds of children flee the Nazi’s by making false documents for them to reach safety. Harmel takes us on a captivating journey filled with resilience, love, misunderstanding, bravery and so much more. The pain was so heartfelt, and this was truly a brilliant, tense and thought-provoking read! And despite the horrific events, the author manages to create such a heartwarming story that will stay with me forever.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Genevieve Graham

    As author Kristin Harmel so neatly states, "one of my favourite things about writing about the war [WW2] is that I'm able to dig deep into subjects many of us may not be familiar with." So true! There is a treasure trove of novels set during that time period, but only the ones that contain thorough and careful research - novels like "The Book of Lost Names" - stand out. I have read a great deal about the French Resistance, but I had never really considered the forgers and the incredibly importan As author Kristin Harmel so neatly states, "one of my favourite things about writing about the war [WW2] is that I'm able to dig deep into subjects many of us may not be familiar with." So true! There is a treasure trove of novels set during that time period, but only the ones that contain thorough and careful research - novels like "The Book of Lost Names" - stand out. I have read a great deal about the French Resistance, but I had never really considered the forgers and the incredibly important role they had to play in the war. I was captivated by the inner workings of their network from the beginning of Eva's journey into that world, and I stayed up late into the night along with her as she worked. And of course there is a love story - a beautiful story of two people whose lives are twisted again and again by fate, and by their choices to sacrifice for the greater good. Definitely recommend. Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for providing me with the book for an honest, unbiased review.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Sophie

    What a beautiful story! I read the 10 first chapters of this historical novel and stopped, waiting for the paper version to be released because I wanted to slowly enjoyed this beautiful story. I kept thinking about what would happen to Eva and her mother, so I decided to continue reading my ARC ecopy. The story goes between now (2005) and the 1940's with Eva living in Paris, moving to the fictional city of Aurignon, as the main character. Eva is working as a forger for the Resistance. I was curio What a beautiful story! I read the 10 first chapters of this historical novel and stopped, waiting for the paper version to be released because I wanted to slowly enjoyed this beautiful story. I kept thinking about what would happen to Eva and her mother, so I decided to continue reading my ARC ecopy. The story goes between now (2005) and the 1940's with Eva living in Paris, moving to the fictional city of Aurignon, as the main character. Eva is working as a forger for the Resistance. I was curious about the Fibonacci sequence, it’s something I wasn’t aware of and it’s pretty interesting. I loved the end, it’s so touching. One of my favourite 2020 read. My thanks to Netgalley, Simon and Schuster Canada and Gallery Books for this advanced readers copy. This book is due to release in July 2020.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Cassidy (Cassidys.Bookshelf)

    Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for a free e-copy for my honest review. The Book of Lost Names is my second book by Kristin Harmel. It is a WWII historical fiction book that gives an inside look at how the documents were forged for Jewish children and others to seek refuge in Switzerland. It has a past/present format, but I did find the present format to be a bit lacking. Also, the main character's mother drove me completely bonkers and every time she had dialogue I cringed - thankfully Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for a free e-copy for my honest review. The Book of Lost Names is my second book by Kristin Harmel. It is a WWII historical fiction book that gives an inside look at how the documents were forged for Jewish children and others to seek refuge in Switzerland. It has a past/present format, but I did find the present format to be a bit lacking. Also, the main character's mother drove me completely bonkers and every time she had dialogue I cringed - thankfully it wasn't too often. Overall, I think the majority of WWII historical fiction fans will enjoy this book. It is fairly fast paced and you do want to find out how it ends. 3.5/5⭐️

  30. 5 out of 5

    Karen

    THE BOOK OF LOST NAMES BY KRISTIN HARMEL This book was very similar to a book I recently read and reviewed early called, "The Paris Children," by Gloria Goldreich." It also was about a woman fleeing Paris during occupied France to the Southern free zone to forge documents for children to be led across the mountains to be free in Switzerland. The only difference was in "The Paris Children," the children were to travel further to Pakistan. In this novel in the Author's Note she also drew much of her THE BOOK OF LOST NAMES BY KRISTIN HARMEL This book was very similar to a book I recently read and reviewed early called, "The Paris Children," by Gloria Goldreich." It also was about a woman fleeing Paris during occupied France to the Southern free zone to forge documents for children to be led across the mountains to be free in Switzerland. The only difference was in "The Paris Children," the children were to travel further to Pakistan. In this novel in the Author's Note she also drew much of her research on a book called, "Adolfo Kaminsky: A Forger's Life by Sarah Kaminsky among others. In "The Paris Children," Kaminsky is mentioned in the text as a character where one of the forgers in the resistance once worked besides to gain knowledge in how to forge documents. Both books are inspired by true stories and it is highly coincidental that I read both almost back to back. This one was about an almost retired librarian living in Florida and one day as she is shelving books she spots an article where she sees a photograph of an 18th century religious book that goes on to say that there was much looting across Europe done by the Nazi's and she recognizes that the image in the article is the book of lost names that she hasn't seen in 65 years. She was known back then as Eva who is earning her PhD when a young man named Joseph comes up to her in Paris warning her that the Nazi's are rounding up thousands of Jews and sending them to work camps. A couple of days later her father tells her that if anything happens he has paid his friend enough money for her and her mother to get false documents that will get them to safety in Switzerland. A few nights pass and that dreadful knock on the door comes and her father is arrested. Her and her mother visit that friend and he helps them but they go to Southern France where they stay. For the next year and a half Eva is involved in forging false documents for the masses until it is no longer safe to remain where they are. A priest had recruited Eva and she was first forging documents with a young man named Remy. Her mother never approved of the work Eva was doing. Her mother remains heartbroken over the loss of her husband Eva's father. Eva had gone back to Paris within two days with Remy as her guide to Drancy to inquire about her father with fake paper's with a ruse to free him saying he was part Argentinian but when they arrived at Drancy they are told her father was already put on an eastward train bound for an extermination camp. This was very much like "The Paris Children," also how many French gendarmes sold or traded the names of good French Jewish people doing important work who were betrayed by their own people. I thought this was also a well written story but felt as if I had read it already. This one was a little lighter as it had a happy ending. Thank you to Net Galley, Kristin Harmel and Simon & Schuster Publishing for providing me with my ARC in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own. Publication Date: July 21, 2020 #TheBookOfLostNames #KristenHarmel #Simon&SchusterPublishing #NetGalley

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