Review: The Book of Lost Names

“Once you’ve fallen in love with books, their presence can make you feel at home anywhere, even in places where you shouldn’t belong.”

As a great lover of WWII novels, Kristin Harmel's The Book of Lost Names tells the inspired true story of a Jewish woman's courage to save thousands of Jewish childrens' lives with her talent of forgery.



Eva's story begins as a graduate student in 1942 Paris, France, where she lives with her parents. As the Nazi's storm France and arrest her Jewish father, Eva and her mother are forced to flee to the French countryside avoid capture. Upon arriving, she begins using her talents of forgery to save the lives of Jewish children fleeing into neutral Switzerland. As she begins erasing the children's original names in order to ensure they will not be discovered, she and creates a book to track their real names so they can be found whenever the war ends. Her quest to preserve her culture may come at the price of love, family and future...but the impact of her quest lasts for years to come.


As a historical fiction novel of a different side of WWII, I completely enjoyed the literary aspect of this book along with such a testament to the human spirit. I always appreciate when an author gives us a different side of WWII in order to tell another side of such a complex time in human history.


There were points I cried, smiled and thought deeply about sections of this story. I specifically got emotional with the horrors Jewish families faced as Germany tore their lives apart. I cannot fathom families being separated, children fleeing for their lives and people of faith hiding refugees from the evil the war produced. Harmel did a wonderful job weaving all these roles together into a story I couldn't help but get absorbed into within just a few pages.


Overall, this book is a fabulous read that makes you want to go into the rabbit hole of the history of WWII and leaves you with an ending that may bring on the tears. What type of tears? You will have to read and find out for yourself!