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The Lost Wife

4.20  ·  Rating details ·  50,225 ratings  ·  5,085 reviews
There on her forearm, next to a small brown birthmark, were six tattooed numbers. 'Do you remember me now?' he asked, trembling. She looked at him again, as if giving weight and bone to a ghost. 'Lenka, it's me,' he said. 'Josef. Your husband.' During the last moments of calm in prewar Prague, Lenka, a young art student, falls in love with Josef. They marry - but soon, lik ...more
Paperback, 368 pages
Published September 6th 2011 by Berkley Books
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Lori Absolutely!

It was one thing for the author to give away the ending in the first chapter (what a great hook to make me want to keep reading so I could …more

It was one thing for the author to give away the ending in the first chapter (what a great hook to make me want to keep reading so I could find out how their reunion went!) but then the least the author could do was give us a satisfying conclusion!(less)

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Average rating 4.20  · 
Rating details
 ·  50,225 ratings  ·  5,085 reviews

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B the BookAddict
Apr 06, 2014 rated it really liked it
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
Jul 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"It's beautiful," I say. But it is more than beautiful. It is touching. It is heartbreaking.

The Lost Wife has been a wonderful and moving read. A truly heartbreaking, yet heartwarming book!

"But sometimes even the thickest rope frays and one get lost."

Alyson Richman's The Lost Wife is primarily the story of an artist who survives the Holocaust, but at the core, it is actually a love story.

"In my old age, I have come to believe that love is not a noun but a verb. An action. Like water, it flow
Jul 07, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
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
Janete Fabricio ON  SEMI HIATUS
I chose this book wrongly, it's not for me. I was interested in the Jewish ghetto of Terezin (Czechoslovakia), which I had never heard of, where some Jews painted and drew (the main female character studied arts for 2 years before World War II and was Jewish). But this book deals more with the insta-love story between artist Lenka and the obstetrician Josef. I don't like insta-love or romantic stories too much; I thought there would be a major highlight for historical fiction. DNF page 214. ...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
Feb 27, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2013-favorite
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
Apr 07, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: war
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
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
Oct 29, 2016 rated it really liked it
What an emotional book! The base of The Lost Wife is a beautiful love story but you will get so much more. I learned new facts about the holocaust and I've read lots of WWII books. The author did a great job with her research.

Favorite quote: “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 sou
J. Schlenker
Mar 29, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Would give this book six stars if I could.
Pam Jenoff
Jan 29, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Alyson is a master historical fiction writer and The Lost Wife is her most iconic work. At a wedding in present day New York, an elderly man spots a familiar woman across the room and realizes that it is his wife, whom he has long thought lost during the Second World War. The book then spirals back to their life before and during the war in Prague. If you love WW2 fiction, this is certainly one of the best!
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
Aug 17, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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!
Aug 10, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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
Mar 15, 2016 rated it really liked it
This was a difficult book to read, but rich with story. The fictional tale reads more like a biography, a tale of truth than one of fiction. You know throughout the story, that it is fiction, but the stories are truth.
A husband and wife, separated after three days of marriage, each other believing one another dead for the majority of each of their lives, their stories unfold in the time apart.
It was slightly different as those facts are right up front in the beginning of the novel, painting th
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
May 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Loved this book. Chapter one sucks you in because you know there is something to look forward to. I have to be honest, I almost gave up in the beginning. It is such a sad, heart wrenching subject that it was almost too much to bare. I read some reviews and everyone raved about it so I stuck with it. It is a beautifully written story. I felt so connected to each character. That you can't put it down because you know from the beginning that there is something to hold on to. My only critique is tha ...more
Vivian Valvano
Mar 24, 2012 rated it it was ok
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
Nov 25, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
Patricia Williams
This was another lovely and heartbreaking story. When I started the book, it seemed a little slow to me. This is a story of a man and woman who were married when the Nazis invaded Prague and then they were seperated. After the war they looked for each other but were told they were both dead. Then 60 years later they find each other again. The book starts off with them finding each other and then goes back and tells how things happened. i was frustrated in the beginning because I wanted to know w ...more
Jan 26, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This is not my typical genre but this book really is gut wrenchingly good. I enjoy the author's notes at the end where she explains the reality behind her characters. ...more
Jul 08, 2012 rated it did not like it
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
Phyllis Eisenstadt
Apr 17, 2015 rated it it was amazing

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
Sep 27, 2011 rated it liked it
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. ...more
Charlotte Guzman
Apr 26, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
What a beautiful story and so beautifully written.
After reading the Author's Notes and knowing that a lot of this story was based off a true story made it all the more interesting.
I love the stories of the Jews in World War II and even more so when a story is based on something true.
A beautiful love story and I loved all the characters represented here.
Highly recommended.
Sue Seligman
Sep 27, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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
Oct 30, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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
Jul 21, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: historical
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.
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Alyson Richman is the author of six historical novels including "The Mask Carver's Son," "The Rhythm of Memory (formerly published as Swedish Tango)," The Last Van Gogh," and three international bestsellers: "The Lost Wife.," "The Garden of Letters" and "The Velvet Hours." Her books have been translated into 20 languages. She loves to travel, cook, ride her yellow bicycle, and do ballet. She curre ...more

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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.” 36 likes
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