The Lost Wife
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The Lost Wife

4.21 of 5 stars 4.21  ·  rating details  ·  15,856 ratings  ·  2,261 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...more
Paperback, 352 pages
Published September 6th 2011 by Berkley Trade (first published 2011)
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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...more
B3tt3 Booklover
Apr 07, 2014 B3tt3 Booklover rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommended to B3tt3 Booklover 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 authors. And, it has quietly, stealthily crept up on me in the last fi...more
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...more
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
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...more
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...more
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
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...more
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...more
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...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...more
Lisa Christen
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...more
Sue Seligman
Sep 27, 2011 Sue Seligman rated it 4 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
What kind of a-hole leaves his wife to avoid being captured and imprisoned by Nazis?

The writing is good...
Can you tell I have been on vacation? I have read 3 1/2 books in the last week. It has been awesome! Anyway, this was a great book. A very interesting idea and quite the love story. Lots of books I have read lately are helping me to be grateful for my life. I get so cynical about this country and the political process and the flaws in the government systems sometimes. I think that is why reading is so good for me. When I read a book about a black woman in the 1960's or a couple during the Holoca...more
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...more
Тази книга ме разтърси до основи.Любовната история е толкова прекрасна,но на фона на тази любов е направо ужасяващ.Описанието на концлагера е като филм на ужасите.Как лесно хората забравят преди всичко ,че са човеци.
Само за сведение това е газова камера в лагера „Аушвиц” :
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...more
Historical fiction was 'my genre' for more than ten years, and particularly books set during WWII were the ones that I gravitated towards most often. There's something about the intensity and sadness of that era that makes for a riveting, emotional story, and The Lost Wife appealed to me so much because how much more sad can it be than a husband and wife who are seperated by war?

The Lost Wife is told in the dual POV's of Josef and Lenka, who meet through Josef's sister in pre-war Prague. Their r...more
Amy Ambelang
Alyson Richman has created a heart-wrenching story of Terezin and Auschwitz through visual arts of the main female character and the profound pain of the central male character. Lenka Maisel, a beautiful young girl, lived in Prague with her gentle, intelligent father, artist mother and younger sister. She had wonderful friends, a comfortable life and was talented enough to be accepted at an elite Art academy. She met her true love, Josef Kohn, also from an accomplished family. Their only problem...more
Talia Carner
Richman’s writing is rich. The prose carries the reader through a world of emotions and descriptions of events that could only be created by the Holocaust.

Growing up in Israel as the generation following this horrific time, I had been “Holocaust-out,” and for a long time have been avoiding reading more such stories. Yet, in the last few years I became intrigued by stories of Terezin, the showcase concentration camp which the Nazis created for publicity purposes and made films showing the comfo...more
Liza Perrat
Lenka and Josef enjoy a pleasant, easy existence in beautiful, pre-WWII Prague until they are separated by the Nazi occupation. The dreams of the young newlyweds are shattered when Josef is forced to flee to the USA while Lenka, unwilling to abandon her family, is transported to the ghetto of Terezin.
Safe in the USA, Josef marries and becomes a successful obstetrician, but clings to the memory of Lenka. Lenka, though, must banish Josef from her mind if she is to live through her atrocious experi...more
The Lost Wife by Alyson Richman was such a heartfelt, haunting, thought-provoking story that it was hard to put down. It is a love story that endured the test of time. Josef and Lenka, both Jewish, grew up in Prague to well-off parents. Lenka was an art student and Josef was studying to be a doctor. They were young and in love, and despite marrying, World War II tore them apart.

The novel opens in the present, at a wedding, Josef recognizes the grandmother of the bride as his long lost wife who h...more
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
Kimberly Russell
WWII books always break my heart and The Lost Wife is no exception. I don’t want to divulge too much since I read this for book club, but this was a really fantastic read. More than anything Alyson Richman is a master with words. She writes beautifully.

Did Amalia and I ever really speak of those we left behind? No. Because if we did, our voices would crack and the walls would crush us with the memory of our grief.
I loved this book so much. My apologies to the person who suggested this for bookclub because I probably wasn't very nice to you in my head when I read the description. But it was amazing!
Lindsay (Everyday Is An Adventure)
Seldom do I pick up a book, start reading and feel the book becoming a part of me...changing me in some way. The Lost Wife by Alyson Richman is a book that did just that. I was able to read this in one day, and for someone with two small children that is truly a feat. In many ways I am left speechless by this book and not even sure if this review can do it justice.

My Thoughts:

As I started, this book has rendered me speechless in many ways. I continue to love books set during World War II and I a...more
The Lost Wife by Alyson Richman
Historical Romance -Sept. 6th, 2011
4 1/2 stars

Growing up in Prague in the 1930s, Lenka has a joyful childhood surrounded by family and friends. Everything changed though with the coming of the war. Lenka’s family is Jewish. And suddenly their future seems bleak and uncertain with the impeding arrival of the Nazis. Just days before the invasion of the Germans, Lenka and her first love, a medical student, Josef, decided to get married quickly. Josef and his family pl...more
Great book! Josef and Lenka meet and fall in love in Czechoslovakia and marry weeks before Hitler invades. Josef and his family obtain visas and leave before the danger hits, but Lenka, although her husband has obtained one for her, refuses to leave her family (who have no visas and must face the approaching darkness). She insists that Josef leave and work to obtain her and her family's visas in America. But with the Nazi's takeover days after he leaves, Lenka and her family (Jews) are transport...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...
The Last Van Gogh The Rhythm of Memory The Mask Carver's Son The Garden of Letters Grand Central: Original Stories of Postwar Love and Reunion

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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.” 14 likes
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