ISBN-13: 9780425244135
Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
Publication date: September 2011
Pages: 352
Source: Publisher

The Lost Wife opens with the ending, where readers get to read about the reunion of a pair of long lost couple being separated from WWII as they meet by chance when attending the wedding of their grandchildren. The subsequent chapters then bring readers to pre-war Prague and introduce us to these star-crossed lovers and how they fall in love and the difficult situations they encountered while they tried to escape the horrors of the war.

Josef Kohn and Lenka Maizel meet each other through his sister. Lenka and Veruska are classmates in an Arts Academy and Josef is a medical student then. They fell in love shortly but their hopes for the future was shattered when the Nazis invaded Prague. With the pressure of the war and not to mention that they couldn't bear to leave each other, they decided to get married. Josef's family even have plans to leave Prague and through Josef's cousin's assistance, they managed to get tickets to America but the sad truth is, the cousin could only sponsor Lenka but not her family considering she is Josef's wife and it is natural that they are to leave together.

However, Lenka refuses to leave her family despite Josef's begging. Josef has no choice but to leave with his family without her, but he promised her that he would try every means to get them to leave Prague. With this promise and hope in mind, they separated but fate got into their way and each believed the other was dead under some unfortunate circumstances.

Despite the sad belief, Josef and Lenka couldn't stop thinking of each other as they grit their teeth and try to move on with their life. Lenka faces fear and death every day, as she and her family are being transported to the concentration and labour camps and are forced to work for the Germans, be it hard labour work, painting postcards or even drawing plans for the Germans. However, Lenka's nightmare doesn't end there for they are later transferred from TerezĂ­n to Auschwitz where they are faced with more brutality treatments. Lenka is lucky to survive but her family and many of her friends aren't that fortunate as they are either gassed or shot to death.

At its core, The Lost Wife is a heart-wrenching love story that tells not only the unforgettable relationship between Josef and Lenka but also the love within family and friends as well. Through Alyson Richman's skillful writing, I felt every emotions evoke in me (I still do) as I read about Josef's and Lenka's love story as well as the misery and pain the characters have to face and endure during the Holocaust. This story has the ability to smile and cry at the same time; and what I liked most about this story is aside from the love story between Josef and Lenka, it is the courage and the resilient spirit of Lenka which what makes The Lost Wife such a memorable reading experience for me. On the other end, I was also moved by Josef's patience and determination of seeking Lenka throughout the years without fail (and his letters to Lenka, in which most of them are returned mails, made my heart melt).

Finally, and most important of all, this story reminds me again the history of the Holocaust and the horrors behind all. Needless to say, The Lost Wife will stay in my mind for a while.
6 Responses
  1. Anna Says:

    Wonderful review! I think you completely captured the beauty of this book. I loved it, too! Will link to your post on War Through the Generations.

  2. Staci Says:

    This one wounded me...loved your review!

  3. The Bookworm Says:

    wow Mel, this does sound like a lovely read. I enjoyed your review.

  4. sounds like such a beautiful book! I think I recently saw that my library has on audio...might check it out.

    Even though these books are hard to read, I love the emotions that stick with you.

  5. Melody Says:

    Anna - Thanks, Anna! And thanks so much for the linking. :)

    Staci - Thank you!

    Naida - Thanks. I really enjoyed reading this book!

    Trish - It's such a beautiful book! I hope you'll read this soon.

  6. Julia Says:

    When you told me bit of details of the story, I knew I'm going to be sadden. It such a sweet but sad love story. It reminded me a lot of The Diary's of Anne Frank book, which I read. But of course it a little differ story...

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