Sunday, June 7, 2015

Book Review: "The Lost Wife" by Alyson Richman

Genre: Historical Fiction
Source: Library

"There on her forearm, next to a small brown birthmark, were six tattooed numbers.

`Do you remember me now?` he asked, trembling.

She looked at him again, as if giving weight and bone to a ghost.

`Lenka, it`s me,` he said. `Josef. Your husband.`

During the last moments of calm in prewar Prague, Lenka, a young art student, falls in love with Josef. They marry - but soon, like so many others, they are torn apart by the currents of war.

In America Josef becomes a successful obstetrician and raises a family, though he never forgets the wife he thinks died in the camps. But in the Nazi ghetto of Terezín - and later in Auschwitz - Lenka has survived, relying on her skills as an artist and the memories of a husband she believes she will never see again. 

Now, decades later, an unexpected encounter in New York brings Lenka and Josef back together.

From the comfort of life in Prague before the occupation to the horrors of Nazi Europe, The Lost Wife explores the endurance of first love, the resilience of the human spirit and our capacity to remember." - Goodreads

I don't remember reading the synopsis before diving into this book. I got it from the library because I read another book by this author and it was wonderful. After making that clear I must say I am so so happy that I read this book without having anyone around me because I was crying almost throughout the whole thing.

The book was so heartbreaking and dealt with such a heavy subject - the Holocaust. There is no chance to stay indifferent to this novel because it is so real and so well written. Honestly, I did not care about the characters (which were nevertheless well developed) as much as the story itself - especially Lenka's who had to survive in the concentration camps (and she managed to do that in both Terezín and Auschwitz despite of all the sorrow she had to deal with).

The glimpse of romance was a nice addition in the story but it was not overpowering the horror of what the book was all about which I am really gratefull for. Nevertheless, it was the intense feelings of love and appreciation which brought the tears to my eyes.

Overall I loved this book and I recommend it to everyone who likes reading about the Holocaust or heartbraking stories although I feel that everyone can like this book.

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