Monday, 23 May 2016

"The Lost Wife" by Alyson Richman

"A rapturous novel of first love in a time of war".
   This is the advertising for this novel.  And rapture it is!  First love- estatic, euphoric.  The cover captures it!
   This author is a master of words!  The writing is sensuous- involving all the senses. Quote: "There are two sensations of skin you will always remember in your lifetime: the first time you fall in love- and that person holds your hand- and the first time your child grasps your finger". 
Another quote" "You hear in the person you're destined to love the sound of those yet to be born."  
   This story is an emotional roller coaster- the love, the war, Auschwitz.
   The Nazi invasion of Prague separates this couple for sixty years!  Providence gives Lenka and Josef another chance.  Lenka's granddaughter is marrying Josef's grandson in New York.  Both Lenka and Josef believed that the other had died many years before.  Each had married and had children and grandchildren.  But the memory of the first love never left either of them.  Sixty years is a long time and they barely recognize each other when brought together by fate.
   This is an amazing story that was well-researched.  It includes the stories of several people whose lives are documented in the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C.
   I really struggled with the horrors of Auschwitz-  so difficult to understand the depth of suffering.
   I was disappointed that the reunion of Lenka and Josef is only mentioned briefly at the beginning and the end.  The rest of the book briefly tells Josef's story but relates Lenka's story in detail.  She is "The Lost Wife".  They had been married very briefly before being separated.  I wanted to know what they would say to each other after sixty years, but the novel stops at their first recognition.

  This is a very emotional novel about the power of first love, the resilience of the human spirit, and the strength of memory.


  1. " What amazed me about this story was the dedication to the artists to continue to create. Also, I was deeply touched by the stories about the young children in the camps and teaching them to draw. I recommend this book." Anne Fougere (e-mailed to Betty)

    1. Thank you Anne for that comment. I was remiss in not mentioning the importance of art, not only with the children at the time, but in documenting this event for history. Betty