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The Lost Wife

4.2 of 5 stars 4.20  ·  rating details  ·  26,825 ratings  ·  3,251 reviews
A rapturous novel of first love in a time of war-from the celebrated author of The Rhythm of Memory and The Last Van Gogh. In pre-war Prague, the dreams of two young lovers are shattered when they are separated by the Nazi invasion. Then, decades later, thousands of miles away in New York, there's an inescapable glance of recognition between two strangers...

Providence is g
Paperback, 368 pages
Published September 6th 2011 by Berkley (first published 2011)
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Nancy Laffey I thought the ending was just right. You know after all they've been through that they will have a joyous reunion. No need to state the obvious. And…moreI thought the ending was just right. You know after all they've been through that they will have a joyous reunion. No need to state the obvious. And we all can use our imaginations!(less)
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5th out of 150 books — 325 voters
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Community Reviews

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One of the most beautifully written, moving historical fiction novels I have ever read. The book actually deserves 4 1/2 stars. Alyson Richman evokes magic in her telling of the love story of Lenka and Josef, two Czechoslovakian Jews whose fate is determined by forces beyond their control.
Richman effectively pulls the reader in by creating interesting characters and an equally compelling story. It is hard to fathom what the Jewish population in Europe had to endure during the reign of terror u
B the BookAddict
Apr 25, 2015 B the BookAddict rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommended to B the BookAddict by: Diane S's review
Shelves: fiction, holocaust

Let me say first and foremost that I do not read love stories, I loathe books such as those by Nicholas Sparks and Nora Roberts, I have a specially designed crucifix to guard me against the genre of Mills and Boon. And yet... paradoxically, I loved this novel and it is, essentially, a love story, a story of first love, lost love, remembered love. This novel does not abound with all the hearts and flowers of the aforementioned publishers. And, it has quietly, stealthily crept up on me in the last
Lewis Weinstein
If you don't cry when you read this book, I guess I feel sorry for you. From the stunning prologue to the very last page, this is a remarkable read.

The first few pages of the prologue reveal that a man and a woman, married and then separated for 60 years by the Nazi invasion of Prague, and both thinking the other dead, meet at the wedding reception of the grandson of one and the granddaughter of the other.

Now you might think that revealing this much in the very beginning of the book would reduc
I am sorry that this love story came to an end. It was more than a love story, it was a love affair of words that show the beauty of our souls. With the verse "I am my beloved and my beloved is mine. Song of Solomon 6:3, it is the main theme of this poetic love story. The verse also signifies the hope one can have having one as a beloved and being one of a beloved. The story is a loose historical fiction of actual events which makes it even more enjoyable to read. It starts in the year 2000 when ...more
The Lost Wife by Alyson Richman.

In Pre War Prague the hopes and dreams of two young lovers are shattered when they are separated by the Nazi Invasion.

I listened to this novel as opposed to reading it and I really enjoyed the narrators as they were both eloquent and easy to listen to. This is s a story that explores the horrors of the beautiful city of Prague under the occupation of the Nazi's during World War Two. Having visited both Terezin and Prague many years ago I was very interested in rea
Rating 3.5

The Lost Wife by Alyson Richman appears to be on everyone’s reading list at the moment and is receiving some great reviews, so I had to bump it up my ‘to be read’ list to see what all the ‘hype’ is about. It tells the story of Lenka and Josef who meet on the threshold of the start of WWII. It is a sad story of true love lost during a most awful time in history. The story alternates between Lenka’s account of her time in the concentration camps and Josef’s time in America. The structur
I had just finished reading The Invisible Bridge and my Kindle died. I had purchased The Lost Wife and put it on hold because I had so many books I wanted to read that I had downloaded on my Kindle. When my Kindle died I began reading The Lost Wife after finishing The Invisible Bridge. WOW both books left such an impression on me. I find out that today 8/11/12 is the 67th Anniversary of the Holocaust - I didn't plan to read these books at this time, but I did and boy they really left a hugh impr ...more
Of the many books with a holocaust theme I have read, this is the first that has centered around the Terezin (Theresienstadt) Concentration Camp, located outside Prague.

The basis of the book is, of course, a romance story, but the heart of the book takes place in Terezin where the Nazi's established a prison camp that was less of a death camp and more of an authentic work camp. Certainly the conditions were every bit as grueling and no less horrifying as Auschwitz and Birkenwald, but there were
Katrina Passick Lumsden
I've been going back and forth on whether or not to give this book three or four stars. I'm starting out with three, let's see where we end up, shall we?

For as many things as I liked about this book, there are several things I disliked. I'll start with the negative.

First, I didn't like the way the romance tried to blend in with the story. There were times when it felt like it shouldn't be there, and yet, I found myself only wanting to finish to see if Lenka and Josef ever found each other again
This book disappointed me. I think this is the first Holocaust book I've read where I haven't cried, and I should have, especially reading the author's notes whereby she based a lot of the characters and storyline on actual events. Don't get me wrong, I did feel affected by it, but on reflection, it was actually my prior knowledge of the Holocaust and memories of other stories I've read and/or watched which stirred the emotions rather than this specific book.

This book is essentially a love stor
Vivian Valvano
Read for one of my book groups (library) as the April selection b/c it has been designated as the Long Island Reads Book - libraries throughout Long Island encouraging the reading and discussion of the same book. It is essentially a holocaust novel, and I read everything I can on the holocaust. This novel, unfortunately, is written in such a sophomoric style, and the prime element of the plot is given away within its opening pages. I can understand its being chosen for Long Island Reads; that pr ...more
Phyllis Eisenstadt

From the very first page, “The Lost Wife” is so powerful as to pull you in and force you to keep reading. I read 48% on my Kindle the first night.

Using the technique of the two protagonists as their own narrators keeps them front and center, and makes their story more personal and believable. Had there been an omniscient narrator it is doubtful that this would have been the case. This technique renders the many events in their lives and the distances between them, both in time and s
The cause of my latest book hangover:

An elderly man is sitting at his grandson's rehearsal dinner when suddenly a woman catches his eye from across the room. He goes to her, transfixed, and looks at her like he's seen a ghost. This woman, the grandmother of the bride, does not recognize him but he remembers her. "Lenka", he says, "it's me Josef. Your husband."

And that was all it took to suck me in...

Set against the backdrop of WWII Europe, The Lost Wife tells the story of Lenka and Josef young
I loved the premise of it, and the character development was well handled. Some of the prose resonated with me; but initially, I had a hard time getting into the book. The short chapters and switching POV made it difficult to become fully immersed in the story. But then I ended up very glad to have finished it, not having read a WWII story about the underground artists or from the Czechs' perspective before. 3.5 stars.
I was so happy to find out in the Epilogue that many of the characters in this novel were based on real people... this gave an already wonderful story even more merit! I loved that the novel began with the ending scene... thought that format worked marvelously in helping the storyline! A well deserved 5 star novel!
3.5 Stars if I could, but will round up to 4 stars for making me feel emotional as I was reading the last chunk.

Lenka and Josef alternate telling the reader their story, they also switch between past and present. The book starts out telling you the ending (Which I hated!) and then goes back to tell the story of how it got there. Lenka and Josef were Jews living in Prague before WWII broke out. Josef was able to escape to the US with his family, while Lenka (stubborn and determined!) chose to sta
Sue Seligman
Mar 24, 2015 Sue Seligman rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: fans of historical fiction, particularly Holocaust books
This is a Holocaust historical novel based on a true story about the Terezin work camp in Czechoslovakia. The main characters, Lenka, an aspiring art student, and her husband Josef, are fictional, but the events that are the backdrop of their story are true. We are introduced to the two former lovers at the rehearsal dinner of the grandchildren; Josef and Lenka had been separated due to the cruel twist of fate due to the events of the war, and each had presumed that the other had been killed. As ...more

This was, by no means, a badly written book. Alyson Richman writes a beautiful, albeit predictable, story about love during the Holocaust. It just did nothing for me, personally. I feel that my time is so limited that I demand and want more from the books that I take the time to read these days. This book was predictable. It was heart-wrenchingly sad. One would expect this from any love story written against the backdrop of war. It could be nothing else by tragic. You know there will be attempts
Dnf @ 58%

Who would have thought that a book about surviving the Holocaust could be this boring.
Luchi Rzezak
One of the most incredible written love story that I've read. I want to say thank you to BFF Valeria Cababie who insisted that I have to read it. So after two months I finally did it. Two days. Done it.
I'm still thinking about Lenka and Joseph and the their destiny.
THE LOST WIFE is a love story, but love in all whole expression of the word: family love. Sibling love. Friendship love. And love beyond death. And loyalty. Loyalty to whom we love. what I read is what I saw when I went to Poland in
Great opening: widower grandfather of the groom meets widowed grandmother and realizes it is his first wife, with both having thought the other perished in WWII. A love story. Interestingly, her story in Terezin and Auschwitz is told chronologically while his is told mostly in reverse order. Well written, but after many recollections about the strength of their love for each other, she barely recognizes him and we get no insight after the realization.
Тази книга ме разтърси до основи.Aко войната има лице,то това ще са очите на Ленка и Йозеф.Описанието на концлагера е като филм на ужасите.Как лесно хората забравят преди всичко ,че са човеци.
Газова камера в лагера „Аушвиц” :
Wowsers… If you want an emotional look at the Holocaust and its effect on survivors, look no further than this novel. My first work by this author, I found myself sucked in by the emotional depth of both sets of scenes, occupied Europe and modern day New York. The authors way of writing lets her readers get to know the characters on a very personal level; as a consequence, what the characters are going through felt very immediate.

The themes explored in this novel surprised me. I expected the Hol
Jun 03, 2013 Michael rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: EVERYONE!!!!!!!!
Shelves: favorite-books
It has been nearly 55 years since Josef has laid eyes on Lenka. Lenka is a young art student who has big dreams to make her mark in world, despite the circumstances that surrounds her life. Overly attached to her sister Marty and her loving parents, she will do anything to keep them safe. Upon meeting Josef, she is not prepared to be summoned into his hectic life. Josef studies medicine, taking after his father who wants him to follow in his footsteps. Josef shares a lot of similarities with Len ...more
This is a good book. And I mean a REALLY GOOD book. You had better read it.

Recently I read another book that dealt with an individual losing track of someone during WWII. It was such a sadly written book which made me sad all day long. It really dragged me down. This book was different. It also dealt with a sad subject, but it was so well written and I was pulled into the pages and came to really care about the two main characters. I wanted to know what was happening to them. This author has a w
Mar 17, 2012 Kate rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommended to Kate by: Nashua Girls Book Club selection
At the wedding of his grandson, Josef meets the grandmother of the bride. He already knows Lenka, because she was his wife.

This is the story of two young people in Czechoslovakia who fall in love just before World War II breaks out, how they married in hopes of both securing visas to America. When the time comes, however, Lenka chooses to stay in Prague with her family while Josef goes to America with his. In the sixty years that pass, each believes the other to be dead, and each lives in the sh
I do not read much historical fiction having to do with The Holocaust and lives lost and torn asunder because it. A friend gave me this book and it had me not wanting to stop reading from the very first. I had to know how things would end. Highly recommended for a heart stopping emotional read that involves love stories of the romantic and of families.
Beautiful and true to the facts storytelling of the brave and talented artists of Terezin who risked their lives to paint and draw the truth. The
Sofia Pires
Não conhecia o título do livro Um Amor Perdido nem o nome da escritora Alyson Richman. Comprei o livro por impulso numa promoção, menos do que 5 Euros, fascinada pelo título e pela capa.
Uma verdadeira história de amor que se inicia em Praga em 1936, antes do eclodir da 2º Guerra Mundial, e que termina em 2000 nos Estados Unidos da América.
Duas personagens deslumbrantes, Lenka e Joseph, segredos e paixões que começam na infância e que se materializam com o primeiro amor, o horror da guerra no gue
Find the enhanced version of this and other reviews at: http://flashlightcommentary.blogspot....

I flagged this book as 'to read' in October 2011. I skimmed the blurb at that time and added it to my list based on the time frame alone. World War II is sort of my thing after all. It wasn't until I noticed the book at the library that I actually absorbed the basic premise of the story and to be honest, my first thought was 'uh-oh.' I knew the minute I picked it up that it would be coming home with m
I have read many books dealing with the Holocaust, but found this one really disappointing. Josef and Lenka tell their story in the first person but it feels like it was written by a high school student using language and expressing feelings that people of Jozef and Lenka's age and era would never have used. There is no depth in the characters and even Lenka's description of life in Theresienstadt is rather bland. The interesting historical part of how the artists managed to let the outside worl ...more
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Alyson Richman is the author of "The Mask Carver's Son," "The Rhythm of Memory (formerly published as Swedish Tango)," The Last Van Gogh," and the national bestseller, "The Lost Wife." Her books have been published in over fifteen languages. She loves to travel, cook, ride her yellow bicycle, and do ballet. She currently lives in New York with her husband and two children. Her novel, "The Garden o ...more
More about Alyson Richman...

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“He laughs. And in his laugh I hear bliss. I hear feet dancing, the rush of skirts twirling. The sound of children.
Is that the first sign of love?
You hear in the person you're destined to love the sound of those yet to be born.”
“And I saw for the first time how, despite the isolation of our own lives, we are always connected to our ancestors; our bodies hold the memories of those who came before us, whether it is the features we inherit or a disposition that is etched into our soul.” 29 likes
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