The Lost Wife

The Lost Wife

by Alyson Richman


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The Lost Wife 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 151 reviews.
harstan More than 1 year ago
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
BookLoaner More than 1 year ago
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!!
EunieKS More than 1 year ago
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
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I have not posted a review ever. This book has moved me to recommend it. What a great read!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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).
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great book based on actual events that occured during the holocaust. I couldnt put it down!
cloggiedownunder More than 1 year ago
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. 
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Engaging to the end-very touching that actual people were woven into the story
chloesmomst More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
Leeds-Loiner More than 1 year ago
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
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
By putting the ending at the very beginning, this author made me want to speed-read through most of the book in order to get to the rest of the ending. Lenka's story was fasinating, but his story bored me. It would have made a much better book if the reader had been kept in suspence about whether or not they everfound each other. I would have made them younger when they found one another - the story could have taken place when they were about 60 insteadof 85!
loloofaz More than 1 year ago
A good read on informative historical fiction.
Beamis12 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Loved the characters of Lena and Josef, the descriptions of life in the concentration camps were horrifying as would be expected, the smuggled painting were actually based on fact and the writing is very readable and descriptive. This is a book about overcoming, an enduring love, survival and second chances.
creighley on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The story of two young lovers in pre-war Prague are torn apart as the Nazis invade their country. The horrors of the war are retold in back flashes. Moving..... Included is the story of Terezin, the German's ghetto where thousands of Jews were relocated. When the people there can no longer work, they are sent to Auschwitz.
nivramkoorb on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
As a story of 2 characters being re-united, the book was disappointing. As a book about the holocaust, it was educational and a page turner. I did find the style flat. There was a telling or reporting style to the book. I didn't feel the characters. As I had seen in another reader review, it would have worked better if more time was devoted to the characters after they reunited. It seemed like the author raced during the last 40 pages to tie up the story. I found the story similar to "The Invisible Bridge" by Julie Orringer but I like that one better. Books about the war are always important and should be read by the younger generations. I just think that there are better books than this one.
kiwifortyniner on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is the story of Josef and Lenka who meet in Prague before the war, fall in love and marry, but then because of the war they are torn apart . The book begins with the moment when they meet again in America some sixty years later. They have never forgotten each other. The book then tells the story of their separate lives over the intervening years. Josef becomes a successful obstetrician in America and marries and has a child. He is sure that Lenka is dead. But Lenka's story is the story of the concentration camps of Terezin and Auschwitz.. Lenka does survive. Her and others in the camp are using their skills as an artist to create pictures of what life is really like in the camps (secretly) while at the same time doing the work the Germans have given them to do. It is a heartbreaking story, but a story of courage and the resilience of the human spirit. The book is inspired by the stories of several people who did in fact do what the characters in the book did - drawing pictures of what life was really like in the camps to secretly release to the world.
kmmt48 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A very different Holocaust novel. I did enjoy this book even though it tended to drag in places. It is a love story that is not often found in the sad and intense novels depicting the survival of holocaust victims. it is well worth a read for a differenct perspective during a dark period of the world's history.
WordCat More than 1 year ago
Fantastic novel of WWII love and loss. This was one of those books that I didn't want to end.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This story is very strong. It made me feel at times as if I was there.
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