Title: The Book of Lost Names
Author: Kristin Harmel
Read by: Madeleine Maby
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio
Length: Approximately 10 hours and 50 minutes
Source: Review Copy from Simon & Schuster Audio. Thank-you!
I love historical fiction and books set during World War II. The Book of Lost Names was a great new addition to this genre and is perfect for fans of The Nightingale, The Alice Network, and The Room on Rue Amelie.
In 2005, Eva Traube Abrams, a semi-retired librarian, discovers a magazine article that has a picture of a book that she has not seen in a very long time, the Book of Lost Names. Eva has not told anyone about her past as a resistant member in France during WWII. Eva grew up in Paris with her parents and worked at the grand library there. Eva and her family are Jews. Her world is shattered when her father is arrested by the Nazis for being a Jew. Eva and her mother escape from Paris with help from her father’s employer who gave them supplies to make fake papers. She employs her artistic skills to forge new papers. He also tells them that Aurignon is a safe place to stop. While there, Eva befriends a Catholic priest who asks for her help to continue her forgery to make fake papers for Jews and others that are trying to escape Nazi persecution. Eva works with another forger Remy and together they come up with a secret code to use in an old Catholic doctrine book to record the original name of the children whose identities they are changing. As Eva’s feelings for Remy grow, her mother wants to continue to Switzerland and for her to settle down with a nice Jewish boy. Will Eva find love and how does she survive the war?
This story caught me at the beginning and kept me intrigued throughout. I loved the characters and the storyline. Eva’s story was both fascinating and heartbreaking. Although it was Eva’s story, I loved all of the characters in the town of Aurignon. I felt like they were a great community that was working together to do good. I also had not really thought about all of the children who had their names changed to protect them. How did they find their families again? I also liked how the narrative was framed with old Eva in the future interspersed with the full story of young Eva in the past. It reminded me of The Nightingale.
Madeleine Maby a great narrator and I loved listening to it on audio.
“He had taught her to love reading, one of the greatest gifts a parent could give a child, and in doing so, he had opened the world to her.”
“Remember that God’s plan for you might be different than the plan you have for yourself.”
“Once you’ve fallen in love with books, their presence can make you feel at home anywhere, even in places where you shouldn’t belong.”
“You can’t judge a person by their language or their place of origin—though it seems that each new generation insists upon learning that lesson for itself.”
Overall, The Book of Lost Names was an excellent World War II historical fiction novel. I couldn’t stop listening to this book. It is one of the best books I’ve read this year; it’s a gripping, heartbreaking, and uplifting story.