The Book of Lost Names by Kristin Harmel was one that will stick with me. We’re currently living during a pandemic, social unrest, high profile election and we don’t even begin to scratch the surface of what is being felt in the time period this story is set. We meet Eva Traube just days before a group of Nazi’s knock on her door to take her family along with 100s of other Jews “East”, meaning to work camps. Eva and her mom by a twist of faith were not home when the knock came and then made the choice to escape, leaving their home and father/husband behind. In the process of escape, Eva learns she has a talent in forgery that she goes on to use in assisting 100 plus Jews over the border into safety. In forging papers she must change identities of people and her heart aches for a way to preserve the true identity of the children too young to remember who they truly are. She finds this in a book but like everything else in her life will she be able to hold on that tangible record of lost names?
This is a love story. This is a story of redemption. This is a story of loss and gut wrenching realization that humanity has unbelievable limits of horror. This is the story of a mother’s love and a daughter’s hope for approval and reunification. These stories combined are based on true stories of heroes and everyday people that sacrificed everything, even potentially their lives to help strangers. To say I was not crushed at points would be a lie but I was so encouraged by the faith Eva carried and the hope she used to anchor her in the darkest and most unsure times.
I highly recommend this book to anyone that loves historical fiction, love stories, family stories but I do caution that you may shed a tear, or many.
***** 5 Stars for plot, character development, flow of story, attention grabbing opening and complete resolution