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The Lost Family

3.48  ·  Rating details ·  3,769 ratings  ·  529 reviews
The New York Times bestselling author of Those Who Save Us creates a vivid portrait of marriage, family, and the haunting grief of World War II in this emotionally charged, beautifully rendered story that spans a generation, from the 1960s to the 1980s

In 1965 Manhattan, patrons flock to Masha’s to savor its brisket bourguignon and impeccable service and to admire its dashi
Hardcover, 432 pages
Published June 5th 2018 by Harper
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Average rating 3.48  · 
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 ·  3,769 ratings  ·  529 reviews

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Angela M (On a little break)

3.5 stars

Peter doesn’t speak of Auschwitz or the loss of his wife Masha and their three year old twin daughters. He cannot and he won’t - not to his friends, his family or even his new wife, June . He does not want to relive the roundup of Jews in Germany, but he does sometimes in his dreams. I’ve read quite a few Holocaust novels but not many about what it’s like to be a survivor years after. Certainly the non fiction and memoirs such as Night or But You Did Not Come Back and others are the mo
Jenna Blum
Oct 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)  ·  review of another edition
This is the best third novel I ever wrote! I hope you love it, too. :) *out from Harper Collins 6.5.18!*
Diane S ☔
May 02, 2018 rated it really liked it
Peter lost everything important to him in the war, in fact he almost lost himself. Finally, after the liberation of the concentration camp he makes it to America, where he becomes a chef and part owner of a well respected restaurant. This is where he first sees June, twenty years his junior, on her way to becoming a top model. Her vivacity and innocence attracts Peter, and he soon looks on her as the way to start a new life, a second chance.

The long effects of trauma, loss and grief, strong tent
Jennifer Blankfein
Jun 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
The Lost Family is a beautifully written novel by Jenna Blum, author of the bestseller, Those Who Save Us. The story begins in 1965 Manhattan. World War II is over but the haunting memories are omnipresent for Peter Rashkin. He survived Auschwitz but tragically lost his beloved wife and twin daughters, and Peter is trying to start a new life for himself. His extended family, the few that are still alive, have encouraged him to meet a nice Jewish girl and get on with life. He owns and runs a rest ...more
Jun 16, 2018 rated it did not like it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Full disclosure: I have an author crush on Jenna Blum. (Is that a thing?) She is just the greatest. I've been following her on social media since falling in love with her first book, Those Who Save Us many years ago and if you aren't following her, do it! Even if you don't read her books, you'll be bombarded with pictures of her dog Woodrow and her storm chasing fiancé and pictures of storms and so many other things and I could go on but I'm already showing stalker behavior which I'm not, I swea ...more
Monica H at The Readathon
I don't give many two star reviews, and I do not like giving two star reviews. It makes me sad. Anyway, I loved the first third of this book! I loved Peter and learning about his story. His history made him a character I empathized with. The writing was so good! It was engaging and drew me right in. I was so excited at the end of part one.

And then it all went downhill. I felt like I was watching a train wreck. It just got worse and worse. :( June becomes a very unlikable character in this part.
MaryBeth's Bookshelf
Jun 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
Jenna Blum's beautifully written novel, The Lost Family, is set in New York City from the 1960's-1980's. It opens with Peter Rashkin, a Holocaust survivor, running his famous restaurant, Masha's, when June Bouquet walks in and changes his life. As hard as Peter tries to forget his past and not let anyone invade his present and future, there is something about June that draws him in. When June becomes pregnant, Peter proposes and tries to forget his past. But the horrors of the Holocaust and what ...more
Pam Jenoff
Oct 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Those of you who, like me, waited eagerly for a new book by Blum (author of Those Who Save Us) will be richly rewarded: The Lost Family is the story of Peter, who is rebuilding his life in 1960s Manhattan after surviving the unthinkable. The Lost Family is a remarkable tribute to the human spirit, the long shadow of the past and the truths that are always with us.
The Lit Bitch
Jun 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was a book that I actually passed on initially. Yes it sounded good and like something that would be right up my alley. But my summer reading schedule always fills up so fast and I just didn’t have room for this book so basically I had to pass.

I did however agree to do a special feature on this book as I think it would appeal to many of my readers. As I was working on the special feature, I felt really sad that I wasn’t reading this book because it sounded so good.

After some very aggressive
Jan 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I wish I could give this book more than 5 stars. It is an immigrant story. It is a family story. It is a parenting story. I liken it to a mix of The Two-Family House by Lynda Loigman (amazing book) and Mad Men. Blum has written a huge masterpiece that should be read and absorbed by all.

I received an advance digital copy from the publisher.
Jun 05, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: physical-arcs
The Lost Family is a heartbreakingly beautiful tale of a family that spans generations and is structured in an intriguing way. It begins with Peter in 1965 beginning when he meets his wife, June then it switches to her point of view in 1975 when she gets pregnant and then finally to their daughter Elsbeth’s perspective in 1985. I really enjoyed getting to know each character individually as well as through the eyes of each other, it provided a depth of character and made me feel like I got an in ...more
May 25, 2018 rated it liked it
Years ago, in one of my previous jobs, I had the privilege to meet many holocaust survivors who shared their heartbreaking stories of survival and new beginnings in other countries far from their home. Although I greatly admired their resilience and the human survival spirit, and their capacity to forgive and start over, I also realised that there was often a huge price to pay for the trauma they had endured. One was survivor’s guilt, of having escaped the death camps when so many of their famil ...more
Kristen Cook - A Book Ninja
Wow. What a story of pain and loss. The story of Peter and his first family was one of tragedy. It is a story that will stick with me for some time. The tragedy that he endured overshadowed the rest of his life influencing all the relationships from then on.

This is the second book by Blum that I have read and once again she did not fail to deliver.

I received an ARC from Edelweiss. All thoughts & opinions are my own.
Jenna Blum never disappoints. This story is really about haunting trauma, and how it affects a person psychologically, but also how it resonates and lives inside the people who love the traumatized. Peter is a Chef, a master restauranteur, who somehow survived the concentration camps, but lost his Aryan wife, and three twin girls, and blames himself for what could never have been in his control. this story takes place many years later, and is about his next chapter. His new wife and daughter, an ...more
Susan Peterson
May 22, 2018 rated it really liked it
While grieving one lost family, a man puts his new family on the line...will he lose them too? The Lost Family is a haunting look at a family...a family built from the ashes of loss and grief. I thought it was interesting that the story was divided into three sections; 1965, which is the father’s story; 1975 is the mother’s perspective; 1985 is told from the daughter’s point of view. Each of the three has a unique story to tell, and events of the past have an everlasting effect on the relationsh ...more
Jun 28, 2018 rated it it was ok
Ugh. I don't give two star reviews often, if I dislike a book that much I stop reading way before the end. The beginning was intriguing, I was so engaged by Peter's story. Then we got to June, who was frankly awful, and then we endured the daughter and the pornographer. I'm so sorry I kept reading ...more
The Lost Family was a great change of pace for me. Most of the Holocaust/WWII books end when the camps were liberated and I always wonder how the survivors coped for the rest of their lives. Jenna Blum does an amazing job of telling the story of Peter, a holocaust survivor and his family and how his experience affects not only his life but the lives of his wife and child.
Diane Yannick
Jul 02, 2018 rated it really liked it
**Perhaps this review has a spoiler. I’m not at all sure. It seems to me that if you read mainstream reviews before choosing a book, you know at least as much as I tell. If you only read Goodread reviews before choosing a book, I guess this could be a problem. Does anyone do this? Spoiler clarification needed.**

It’s hard not to get caught up in this story about a main character who lost those he loved most during the Nazi’s reign of horror. A horror so devastating that he can not find the words
Crystal King
Feb 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing
THE LOST FAMILY is definitely my favorite Jenna Blum book. Don't get me wrong, I loved her other novels, but this one really grabbed me. It was a fantastic combination of heart, family, food and dark history. Blum is a masterful writer and a master of character development. I cared deeply about the world of Peter Rashkin and June Bouquet and the ghosts of the past that held the family in thrall. It's a big book in its span of three decades and the historical research that Blum did to bring it to ...more
Jan 27, 2019 rated it liked it
3.5 stars, one of my favorite authors.
Aug 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
This book was classified as Historical Fiction and the main character, Peter, is a Jew and concentration camp survivor from WWII so I expected more pages to be devoted to his experiences as a prisoner but there are very few flashbacks in that regard. His reminiscing revolves around the family he lost in the war and centers more on the emotional scars he continues to deal with as a result. Even though, I wasn't expecting the story line to go the way it did, I actually found it fascinating to be g ...more
Stephen Kiernan
Oct 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This vivid novel purports to be about a man who lost his family in World War II. But it turns out to be about that man's American family in the late 20th century, and the ways in which its members are lost.
Sometimes watching sympathetic characters make misguided choices can be incredibly compelling.
Also, the prose is full of zingers -- quick character descriptions or concise images that pop on the page.
"Every time Elsbeth saw her grandparents, they seemed to have shrunk a little: Sol melting
May 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is a wonderful novel about family and is so well written that it will stay with me long after the last page was read. Peter lost his wife and twin daughters to the concentraton camps in WWII. He has moved to NYC to try to start his life over but is unable to let go of his past and think about his future. He marries June, hoping that her youth and love of life will help him learn how to enjoy life. They have a child, Elsbeth, who should bring joy to both parents but they have difficulty let ...more
Aug 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I listened to the audio version of this novel. While it took me a while to get used to the narrator's voice, eventually it grew on me and I felt that he distinguished character voices pretty well. It was a longer audio book than I was used to (clocking in at 14 hours), but it moved quickly and did not drag at all.

I liked that each point in time had a different character perspective. Peter narrated 1965, June narrated 1975, and Elsbeth narrated 1985. It was nice to have the story changed around i
Kris - My Novelesque Life
2018; Harper/HarperCollins Canada
(Review Not on Blog)

I was excited to read this novel. It is set in 1960s (to 1980s) but also touches on World War II, in particular the holocaust. There wasn't anything wrong with the novel, but I just never got into it. As I read it, it was like reading an assignment. While I could read it, I did not really enjoy it or come away with anything. By this I mean, when I shut the audio off I did not think about the characters or story. For me, a good b
Maureen DeLuca
Jul 03, 2018 rated it really liked it
I'm giving this a 4 star read- but I'm UPSET! Why? Because of the ending!! I can only hope that Jenna Blum will continue on with the story.... !!! ...more
Aug 07, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2018
I’ve been waiting for this one to be released for ages! I love Jenna Blum, she is a wonderful writer, and she is amazing at winding romance together with history, and real human interaction. She also seems to love NYC as much as I do, and it always makes me happy to read beautiful and accurate descriptions of the city that was my home for so many years.

The Lost Family is a story broken into three distinct times: 1965 when Peter and June meet, 1975 when they have relocated from NYC to NJ and have
Courtney Judy
Solid 3.5. Started slow, for me, but picked up rather quickly. I'm still trying to wrap my head around the whole story -- will give a real review soon.

A hard to put down story of pain, perseverance, despair, hope, loss, success, starting-over, and family. Excellent imagery throughout the book, even when describing the very hard-to-read scenes of Peter's previous life.

Overall, the story kept my interest enough that it turned into a real page turner. The story was going in directions that I wasn'
There's a cute story about how I came to read this book. In July, 2022, our book club selected The Lost Family: How DNA Testing Is Uncovering Secrets, Reuniting Relatives, and Upending Who We Are to read and discuss. One of our members accidentally read this book instead.

Serendipitous. She said she liked the book. I had to pick it up and read it right away.

The story takes the reader through three decades - 1965, 1975, 1985 - each told from the perspective of one of the three main characters:

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JENNA BLUM is the New York Times and internationally bestselling author of novels THOSE WHO SAVE US (Harcourt, 2004), THE STORMCHASERS (Dutton, 2010), and THE LOST FAMILY (Harper Collins, 2018); the novella "The Lucky One" in GRAND CENTRAL (Berkeley/Penguin, July 2014); the audio course “The Author At Work: The Art of Writing Fiction” (Recorded Books, 2015).
Her first memoir, WOODROW ON THE BENCH,

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