Customer Reviews for

The Lost Wife

Average Rating 4.5
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Most Helpful Favorable Review

13 out of 14 people found this review helpful.

This is a great historical thriller that focuses on the long term cost of WWII on the innocent

In 1934 in Prague Lenka Maizel and medical student Josef Kohn fall in love. They marry as the German troops enter Prague. He pleads with her to leave the country but she refuses as she needs to be with her family. Josef manages to get to New York while his wife and i...
In 1934 in Prague Lenka Maizel and medical student Josef Kohn fall in love. They marry as the German troops enter Prague. He pleads with her to leave the country but she refuses as she needs to be with her family. Josef manages to get to New York while his wife and in-laws are sent to the Terezin concentration camp.

In 1947 Josef the obstetrician meets Amalia from Vienna at the public library. Like him she is a war refugee who lost her family to the Nazis. Believing he is a widow they marry. However, Lenka survived the Nazis by thinking of her Josef waiting for her every day. After being freed by the allies, Lenka married twice and had one child. Thirty eight years of marriage ends for Josef when Amalia died but he knows his love lives for a ghost who died decades earlier. Several years later, Josef's grandson is marrying another war refugee Lanie's granddaughter.

This is a great historical thriller that focuses on the long term cost of WWII on the innocent. The story line rotates perspective over six decades between Lenka and Josef. The changes of life brought on by Nazis is harrowing as Jews lived in a wonderful Prague Spring only to either escape to America or sent to the camps. Alyson Richman makes a strong case that even Hitler cannot kill true love.

Harriet Klausner

posted by harstan on August 17, 2011

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Most Helpful Critical Review

2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

The Lost Wife is the fourth novel by American author, Alyson Ric

The Lost Wife is the fourth novel by American author, Alyson Richman. In the year 2000 in New York City, Josef Kohn and Lanie Gottlieb meet: they are attending the rehearsal of the wedding of their grandson and granddaughter. The old man feels the woman looks familiar, ...
The Lost Wife is the fourth novel by American author, Alyson Richman. In the year 2000 in New York City, Josef Kohn and Lanie Gottlieb meet: they are attending the rehearsal of the wedding of their grandson and granddaughter. The old man feels the woman looks familiar, and soon discovers why. He realises she is Lenka Maizel, the woman he married in Prague, more than sixty years earlier. Richman tantalises the reader with the meeting of a long lost couple, then fills her novel with the story of their separate lives. The account of how Josef and Lenka meet is pure romance. What happens after they are separated becomes a Holocaust story. The scant two-page epilogue might be a disappointment to readers who want more of the present-day interaction between the main characters. Richman explores love, family loyalty, the choices we make in life, loss, grief, heartbreak, resilience under duress, hope and despair. She gives the reader some wonderfully evocative prose: “He took the record from its sheath and placed the needle down. And the room filled with a rain of notes” and “He played more beautifully than I had ever heard him play. The music resonating like a heart torn wide open, each note released onto golden wings” are just two examples. Richman’s extensive research into the Holocaust aspect and Terezin (and of this there is quite a lot in the novel) is apparent. A thought-provoking and moving read. 

posted by cloggiedownunder on April 25, 2014

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 15, 2014

    Why i the Nook Book more expensive than the physical book?

    Why i the Nook Book more expensive than the physical book?

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  • Posted October 30, 2013

    Very well recommended

    This is a well written book with an exceptional story.it should be mandatory to read for young people and important for older people.A book very worth reading!Highly recommended.

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  • Posted October 10, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    Allison Richman¿s novel The Lost Wife attempts to answer the que

    Allison Richman’s novel The Lost Wife attempts to answer the question. The story is set against the late 1930s and World War II. This is a story worth finding out more about. Will he find her?
    Synopsis:
    Lenka grows up in Prague during the early part of the twentieth century. She attends the Academy of Art where she meets her friend Versuka. One night Lenka is invited to Versuka’s house for dinner where she meets her soul mate her brother Josef. Their romance blossoms as the Nazi invasion moves ever closer to Prague. One night they marry but Josef has kept some important news about her family from. Lenka marries without this knowledge that her family will be able to make it out of Prague. Will she choose to go? Will Lenka’s family be safe in Prague? Did Josef make it safely to the United States?
    My Thoughts:
    This novel is not one that I would choose to pick up. I am glad that I read it and am ready to share with you. This story is sad but has a positive ending. The author explores what happens when you lose the one you love. The history of Eastern Europe prior to world war two is the setting for the story. For those of you who don’t know these were the first Jews to the Ghettos and concentration camps.
    One aspect of this story is the art involved. The author describes the scene as if she is painting a picture. You the audience see it through the eyes of an artist. The particular artist is Lenka. Josef shares what is the substance of emotion and conflict.
    This is a Read for Pink novel is the worth picking up!

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  • Posted March 21, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    A deep and heart-wrenching love story. Reviewed by: Robin Book

    A deep and heart-wrenching love story.

    Reviewed by: Robin
    Book purchased by Reviewer
    Review originally posted at Romancing the Book




    Review: This was a very deep and heart-wrenching story of a love between two young people in a world torn apart by war.




    Ms. Richman tells us the story of young love through the eyes of those young lovers, Lenka Maisel and Josef Kohn. We follow them from the time they fell in love until the war makes them decide between love and family tearing them apart with each going different directions until years later fate brings them back together again.




    Lenka lived in Prague and was from an accomplished family. She was very talented and had just been accepted to a very prestigious Art School. Lenka met whom she thought to be her one true love but would soon learn that life has a way of getting in the way. Lenka had a problem; she lived in Prague, she was Jewish and the Jew’s were on Hitler’s Hit list. All their possessions were confiscated by the Germans. They were soon left with nothing and very little freedom. Not having enough money to purchase passage out of Prague she and Josef marry quickly thinking this will help her to escape what was in store for them.




    Josef also came from and accomplished family the difference between the two was that his family had money to buy safe passage out of Prague. Instead of going with Josef, Lenka could not leave her family behind. Instead she chose to stay with them where they were then sent to Terzin and Auschwitz, prison camps. While Josef left with his family to a life elsewhere.




    Years go by and each of course marries different people never forgetting their love for each other. As time draws on they soon find that fate once again steps in bringing them together once again. Josef is meeting the grandmother of his grand-daughter in-law for the first time. She seems so familiar. She reminds him of someone. Could it be after all these years he has found his Lenka?




    A very compelling story that takes us through the eyes of love, through years ripped apart by war and concentration camps, full circle to finding one another again so many years later, older and wiser.




    Ms. Richman paints a picture of the beauty of the countryside but also the horridness of what the war did to that beauty. To the people who lived in that beauty. She writes with such passion that you can smell the stench and see the illness along with the daily life inside the concentration camps. Bringing to life the realness of being torn apart from family, friends and the ones you love. Ms. Richman gave us the hope that sometimes we may have barriers set up for us to take down and learn from but sometimes beautiful things can still come from the depths of the ugliness.




    This is a story for anyone who enjoys history and romance. But, don’t start reading without your box of tissues.

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  • Posted March 21, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    The Lost Wife is lush with historical detail but doesn't read hi

    The Lost Wife is lush with historical detail but doesn't read historical; it reads like the stories your mother used to tell you at bedtime, or a frail, time-worn journal you serendipitously come across in the attic. Embarking on the childhood and golden years of Lenka, the ethereal, maternal beauty—in Prague in all its glamor, 1934—this Holocaust novel evokes both the rapturous European lifestyle before the Third Reich, and the horrific and chilling concentration camps of Nazi-occupied Czechoslovakia and Germany during World War II. 

    A tragic parting of lovers sets the desolate, desperate tone in Lenka and Joseph's individual tales as they each relearn to live during the war; Joseph, struggling to survive without Lenka, and Lenka, struggling just to survive. The book is composed of a beautiful back-and-forth exchange of lives that continued in the aftermath of this separation: the suffering, the dullness, the grayness, the hunger, the emptying. The Lost Wife isn't so much about romance, as it is about love—about lovers who once went wholly, completely right—that withstands the test of time and the brutality that is life. 

    Lenka is strong and a stubborn character, but I felt way too detached from her. She is the embodiment of how powerful the bonds of blood are, and very admirable in values, but I just couldn't connect with her or her choices. Through her eyes, readers glimpse at the injustices of Terezín and the horrors of Auschwitz, the compassion of a wife, and the duty of a daughter. Joseph is more relatable, but I couldn't stand his one-track mind. He's always loved Lenka, I understand, but how can a human be as static as to say he never loved anyone after her—not even his second wife? Human minds are more complex and open than that, in my opinion; I wish his life after Lenka had been portrayed more colorfully because that would have mystified—totally eternalized—their reunion. 

    This reunion is what magically brings these interwoven stories full circle. The glimpse of a smooth, white neck. The recollection of those strong, sturdy hands. The familiar glint in the eye. That are all it take for the two lovers to recognize each other—sixty years and several lifetimes after being wrenched apart. 

    Tastefully and delicately crafted with Alyson Richman's golden words and brimming with historical facets of the prevalent anti-Semitism throughout WWII-era Europe that oughtn't be remembered, but deserves to be exposed, The Lost Wife relays so much significance. Among the penetrating insights, include the sanctuary and solace of art, and of course, music; the danger of propaganda and how even a motherland will go to far lengths to deceive; and the ultimate triumph of a survivor: their story.

    Pros: Real, raw characters // Lyrical, moving prose // Gorgeous and scary depiction of life during wartime // At times graphic, at others, tender—both frightening and redolent // Conveys the beauty of memory // Heartwarming true love // Reunion aspect is astonishing // Memories are sensual, lethargic, and dreamy

    Cons: Lenka and Joseph are each a bit off... I couldn't sympathize with them completely

    Verdict: Eloquent in tone and stirring in message, The Lost Wife is a Holocaust novel with sentiments on family, love, and survival. Sophie's Choice meets Atonement in Richman's exquisite story about impossible lovers—the most perfect of lovers. It is at once haunting and elegant, symbolic and graceful, and in the end, is the kind of book that'll make your heart clench and your breath shudder.

    8 out of 10 hearts (4 stars): An engaging read; highly recommended.

    Source: Complimentary copy provided by publisher, via Romancing the Book, in exchange for an honest and unbiased review (thank you both!!)

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 16, 2013

    The lost wife

    Beautiful love story Certainly got me in touch with my feelings

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 15, 2013

    Great Read

    This is the first time I've read an Alyson Richman book. I love the she writes. She introduced me to an aspect of the Holacuast that I was not aware of. I did not realize that Art was allowed in some of the camps and that children were allowed to be exposed to it. I loved this book and recommend it.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 30, 2012

    Highly recommended

    This is a beautiful love story that began in pre-World War II Europe. It is a very compelling book. Great book club selection.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 5, 2012

    Great book!

    As a granddaughter of holocaust survivors I believe that as a novel is great to read and the author tries to recreate the holocaust experience, although there is a lot more details to dig inn to.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 6, 2012

    I loved this book! It was a heart wrenching story. A true testa

    I loved this book! It was a heart wrenching story. A true testament to true love.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 22, 2012

    Good story

    Enjoyable love story entwined with the horror of the concentration camps of WW II.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 7, 2012

    Beautiful love story. I was so caught up in this story about tw

    Beautiful love story. I was so caught up in this story about two young lovers who because they are Jewish are separated during World War II. The husband goes to America and the wife stays with her family who ends up in a concentration camp. They both think that neither one has survived the war. Your heart breaks for both of them and their lost love. The story begins with an interesting twist and ends making you think that despite the evil that is in the world there can still be happiness. The historical parts of the concentration camp and the evilness of nazism are eye opening. We must never forget the evil of Hitler and the prejudice that happened during that time period. Wonderful story and well written. An excellent book club discussion.

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