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The Lost Wife

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Overview

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 giving Lenka and Josef one more chance. From the glamorous ease of life ...

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The Lost Wife

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Overview

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 giving Lenka and Josef one more chance. From the glamorous ease of life in Prague before the Occupation, to the horrors of Nazi Europe, The Lost Wife explores the power of first love, the resilience of the human spirit- and the strength of memory.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Star-crossed lovers are separated during WWII in Richman's heart-wrenching fourth novel. Josef and Lenka meet as students in Prague in 1936 and fall instantly in love. Three years later, with Nazis crossing the border, they rush to marry, but circumstances then force them apart. Lenka remains in Europe, and Josef flees to America. For 61 years, each believes the other dead until they meet by chance at the wedding of their grandchildren, leading them to reflect on the past and the separate lives they've led: Josef ended up in New York, becoming a successful obstetrician because he was "tired of being haunted by death." Lenka wasn't so lucky. She's sent to a work camp, where her artistic talents connect her to "an underground network of painters illustrating the atrocities" of the Jewish ghettos. And then she's sent to, and survives, Auschwitz. Richman (The Last Van Gogh) once again finds inspiration in art, adding evocative details to a swiftly moving and emotionally charged plot. Richman's incremental descent into the horrors of the Holocaust lends enormous power to Lenka's experience and makes her reunion with Josef all the more poignant. Though the framing device of the decades-long separation can be cloying, this is a genuinely moving portrait. (Sept.)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780425244135
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 9/6/2011
  • Pages: 352
  • Sales rank: 40,454
  • Product dimensions: 5.30 (w) x 7.90 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Alyson Richman is the author of: The Mask Carver's Son, The Rhythm of Memory (previously published as Swedish Tango), The Last Van Gogh and The Lost Wife. Her novels have been published in ten languages and have received both national and international critical acclaim. She is a graduate of Wellesley College and a former Thomas J. Watson Fellow. She currently lives with her husband and children in Long Island, New York.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 136 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(92)

4 Star

(32)

3 Star

(7)

2 Star

(3)

1 Star

(2)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 137 Customer Reviews
  • Posted August 17, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    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 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

    13 out of 14 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 27, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    This story will remain with you for a very, very long time. It

    This story will remain with you for a very, very long time. It was well written, happy, sad and one of the best books I've read in years. Don't pass this one up...Alyson Richman will be on my must-read list from now on!!

    9 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 27, 2012

    A Touching Story of the Lasting Power of Love

    This is the story of the intervening years of the lives of a Jewish couple separated a few weeks after their wedding and fifty plus years later are brought together again at the wedding of their grandchildren. Josef, a pre-med student and Lenka, an art student, fall in love and marry just as Hitler’s Nazi army is about to invade Prague. Knowing as Jews they are in grave danger under Nazi control, Josef’s family finds exit visas and even secures one for Lenka. But because her parents and sister cannot get additional visas, Lenka elects to stay with them. Josef arrives in America and eventually becomes an obstetrician. Lenka and her family are sent to the Nazi ghetto of Terezin and later she and her sister are transported on to the dreaded Auschwitz camp. Each believing the other is dead, Josef marries Amalia, who also escaped the Nazis and made it to America, but so damaged in mind and soul by survivor’s guilt, she never achieves true happiness. The two raise a family and Josef is a widower of eighty-five when the grandson is to be married.
    Lenka survives the war and marries an American soldier. She and her husband have one child, a daughter. After fifty-two years of marriage Lenka now in her early eighties is also widowed with a granddaughter getting married.
    The author based the meeting of Lenka and Josef at their grandchildren’s wedding on an actual event in which the grandmother of the bride and the grandfather of the groom had married before WWII, and like Lenka and Josef had lost track of each other in those horrific war years.
    I’ve read many, many Holocaust stories and each time wonder anew how mankind, any human, can cause another so much misery.
    I loved this well written novel and its two main characters who “live” in its pages.
    Eunice Boeve, Author of ride a Shadowed Trail

    7 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 1, 2012

    Heartbreaking and Irresistible

    I love historical fiction of this genre, and this story introduced me to new ideas about the conditions in the camps. I couldn't put this book down and look forward to exploring the truth behind the fiction (as well as reading more from this author).

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 22, 2012

    AWESOME BOOK!

    Great book based on actual events that occured during the holocaust. I couldnt put it down!

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 22, 2012

    Amazing

    I have not posted a review ever. This book has moved me to recommend it. What a great read!

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 23, 2011

    A must read

    Superbly written as Josef and Lenka were getting into old age ,I was willing them to find each other.There must be many untold stories similar to this out there.Very tragic and a very moving love story

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 25, 2014

    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, 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. 

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 22, 2013

    A great read

    Engaging to the end-very touching that actual people were woven into the story

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 13, 2012

    This is a story of WWII and the toll of the war on families befo

    This is a story of WWII and the toll of the war on families before, during and after the war. It is so beautifully written. The descriptions and emotions are intense and spell binding. This books draws you in and, even though it is is terribly sad, you can not put it down. I often feel I can not read another Holocaust book. BUT this author is worth the emotional ride.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 8, 2012

    BEST BOOK EVER

    I loved this book! I love reading about the halocaust but this is the best one yet! And im not trying to be mean but why do people have to write what the book was about on the review? Its kinda stupid. You had nothing better to write? It kinda gives it away to people who havent read it yet just saying.

    2 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 1, 2012

    In "The Lost Wife" I found myself lost in the book!

    I love reading books about the Holocaust and this one is now one of my favorites. I was glad to know that some of the characters were based on real people. I highly recommend this book. I just wish I didn't devour it so quickly and I had more of the book to read!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 25, 2012

    A beautifully written and heartfelt historical novel. I could

    A beautifully written and heartfelt historical novel. I could not put it down and read it in one sitting... I will read it again right away as I am sad to leave the characters so quickly. Left me wanting more, but the end was perfect.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 25, 2014

    a good read

    A good read on informative historical fiction.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 12, 2014

    Excellent Read

    Very compelling, well written. Held my interest completely. I thought it might be covering lots of familiar territory of World War 2 books but this one was more personal.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 31, 2014

    More than just a love story

    surprisingly enough, I really enjoyed this book. Typically I am not one for specific love stories and that whole "lost love" plot, but this book was so much more than that.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 10, 2014

    Wonderful story!! I wanted to get to the end but I didn't want

    Wonderful story!! I wanted to get to the end but I didn't want it to end. Loved the characters. I found myself not wanting to put this book down and would recommend it to anyone looking for a touching love story.

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  • Posted August 15, 2014

    Highly recommended

    Great story about people in WWII and after.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 13, 2014

    Phenomenal read - unable to put down from start to finish.

    Phenomenal read - unable to put down from start to finish.

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  • Posted July 12, 2014

    Must read !

    LOVED this book from page one. Beautiful love story. Very interesting facts about the Holocaust victims and their art works.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 137 Customer Reviews

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