The Book of Lost Names - Book Review

Eva Traube Abrams, a semi-retired librarian in Florida, is shelving books one morning when her eyes lock on a photograph in a magazine lying open nearby. She freezes; it’s an image of a book she hasn’t seen in sixty-five years—a book she recognizes as The Book of Lost Names.

The accompanying article discusses the looting of libraries by the Nazis across Europe during World War II—an experience Eva remembers well—and the search to reunite people with the texts taken from them so long ago. The book in the photograph, an eighteenth-century religious text thought to have been taken from France in the waning days of the war, is one of the most fascinating cases. Now housed in Berlin’s Zentral- und Landesbibliothek library, it appears to contain some sort of code, but researchers don’t know where it came from—or what the code means. Only Eva holds the answer—but will she have the strength to revisit old memories and help reunite those lost during the war?

As a graduate student in 1942, Eva was forced to flee Paris after the arrest of her father, a Polish Jew. Finding refuge in a small mountain town in the Free Zone, she begins forging identity documents for Jewish children fleeing to neutral Switzerland. But erasing people comes with a price, and along with a mysterious, handsome forger named Rémy, Eva decides she must find a way to preserve the real names of the children who are too young to remember who they really are. The records they keep in The Book of Lost Names will become even more vital when the resistance cell they work for is betrayed and Rémy disappears.

An engaging and evocative novel reminiscent of The Lost Girls of Paris and The Alice Network, The Book of Lost Names is a testament to the resilience of the human spirit and the power of bravery and love in the face of evil.


Whenever I'm blown away by a book, it takes me a long while to review it because I'm still processing what I read and trying to get my thoughts together. This was one of such reads.

'The Book of Lost Names' by Kristin Harmel is heartbreaking, thrilling, and head-swooning all at once. I typically like a good romance that goes beyond 'boy meets girl' storylines, but this! This was so much more. The book covered several themes and was such a lovely read, it's definitely among my top favorite reads of all time.

It was enlightening to read details of the Holocaust and WW2 from the perspective of a forger, Eva Traube Abrams, a member of a Resistance group, and my heart broke many times just reading through the pages. Although it's a book of fiction, it's inspired by the true story of the Jewish children who fled to Switzerland with forged papers during the war, and the forgers and the Resistance groups who risked everything they had to help them escape.

It's hard to go into more details without revealing several spoilers, so I'll just leave it here for now and conclude by simply saying 'The Book of Lost Names'  is 𝘥𝘦𝘧𝘪𝘯𝘪𝘵𝘦𝘭𝘺 a book to pick up. Perhaps some day I'll give a full literary review of this book. It's one of those books that leaves an permanent imprint within you.

I look forward to reading more books by Kristin Harmel!🔥

My rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐/5 
Genre: Literary fiction, History, Romance
Maturity rating: 13+

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