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The Book of Lost Names

Written by: Kristin Harmel
Narrated by: Madeleine Maby
Length: 10 hrs and 50 mins
4.6 out of 5 stars (56 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Instant New York Times best seller

Inspired by an astonishing true story from World War II, a young woman with a talent for forgery helps hundreds of Jewish children flee the Nazis in this unforgettable historical novel from the New York Times best-selling author of the "epic and heart-wrenching World War II tale" (number one New York Times best-selling author Alyson Noel), The Winemaker’s Wife.

Lina Meisel, a retired librarian in Florida, is reading the newspaper one morning when she freezes. Her eyes lock on a photograph of a book she hasn’t seen in 65 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 Lina remembers well - and the search to reunite people with the texts stolen from them so long ago. The book in the photograph, an 18th 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 Stadtbibliothek library, it appears to contain some sort of code, but researchers don’t know where it came from - or what the code means. Only Lina 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, Lina was forced to flee Paris after the arrest of her father, a Polish Jew. Finding refuge in a small mountain town in the shadow of the Alps, 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 Rémi, Lina decides she must find a way to preserve the real names of the children 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 Rémi disappears.

A gripping, heartfelt 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.

©2020 Kristin Harmel Lietz (P)2020 Simon & Schuster, Inc. All rights reserved.

What listeners say about The Book of Lost Names

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struggled to finish

I struggled to finish The Book of Lost Names. The premise is terrific but I found the writing style predictable. Sadly the narrator's performance was poor which compounded the problem. Overall I was very disappointed.

1 person found this helpful

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Great Book

I loved the story and the narrator was awesome. I will definitely seek out more of her books. I would have liked to know though if they were able to find some of the children from the Book of Lost Names. Happy Listening

1 person found this helpful

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Just, just... it’s breathtaking

What a powerful, moving, terrifying, hope filled book. I highly recommend it. This one will stick with me for a while.

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  • DMD
  • 2020-08-26

Mesmerizing

I found this book very enjoyable. The reader did a wonderful job with the voices of the different characters. The author's characterization was wonderful and she totally drew me into that world and time in history. It can sometimes be a challenge to really show the desperation, fear and courage of the 1940's but I found she brought it all to life and I desperately wanted the characters to survive and everything to work out.

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Terrific

Hung on every word. Sorry when it ended. A very good book. Will read/listen again.

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Fantastic book!

I loved this book so much and was sad when it ended. Beautiful story that will stay with me for some time.

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Book of ???

Hard to hang in to the end...Fast forwarded through many long unnecesary and tedious dramatic descriptions. Not of fan of the narrators ponderous style.

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  • Patricia
  • 2020-08-15

Another whiney female "heroine"

The premise of the story was interesting and good history-telling, but the fictional characters used to tell it were abysmal. I found Ava really annoying and immature. Her devotion and complete submission to a selfish, bigoted, self-righteous, and profoundly idiotic mother was unbelievable to the extreme. I kept waiting for her to develop a spine. And there were so many holes in the plot that it left me laughing at times. Just when Ava needs to find out what happened to her mother, and she dresses up like a bag lady with a limp, no one stops her and asks to see her papers, even though the Naziis were desperate to get their hands on her. Really??? And the relationship between Ava and Remy was puzzling and unfullfilling to me. The book over all was worth the read, but was basically a good idea only half-executed.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 2020-08-14

Main character

I was really annoyed by main character. She was not very bright, and wanted to slap her multiple times.

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  • paula wright
  • 2020-08-05

My big mistake was passing over this book to look for a “better” one

I really enjoyed this audible book. Seems to have captured life I. Occupied France. Or Vichy France It appeared to be one and the same. Nothing free about this area of france. Her characters were so real life. Mother daughter dynamics were so true. Even in 2020 as in 1943 occupied France. The bravery of the gentiles to help save lives of Jews was astounding. To their own peril many times I would love to see a movie made of this book. The art of forgery was interesting and so many lived because of this . I laughed and cried the last ten minutes you will too

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  • Jennifer Wallace
  • 2020-07-24

The story itself was good.

Not a fan of the writing or the narration but the story was interesting.

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  • Lynn Mayer
  • 2020-09-11

Excellent book!

Absolutely Loved this book. It brought me back to my own mother-in-law and her stories during the war.

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  • Brown258
  • 2020-08-25

Beautuful story

I really enjoyed hearing about the French Resistance and the individuals who helped the Jewish children escape to Switzerland. As forgers Ava and Remmy had a strong tie which lead to a deep love never to be forgotten. The characters were well developed and the story moved along. I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys knowing more about the side stories of World War II.

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  • A Great Grandmother from Minnesota
  • 2020-08-17

The Book of Lost Names

I enjoyed this book and at times there was just the right of suspense and romance. The author brought out each character’s personality. I recommend the book to all those who like historical fiction based on real life situations.

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  • carolyn ritter
  • 2020-09-29

Makes history real!

We have all heard the horror of German rule and the concentration camps. This story personalized the terror of the Jewish families! I can’t imagine living in fear of just going outside, sustaining life on grains meant for animals, and the loss of love ones! This book makes it real! A must read!

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  • Carolyn
  • 2020-09-24

The best book I have read this year

My book club selected this book and initially I did not vote for it. I have read several WWII books lately and I was not ready for another sad story. I read it anyway and was pleasantly amazed, what a great story. The characters are so well drawn they feel real. When I thought I knew where the book was going, each time I was surprised. I loved the ending. Great job Kristin Harmel! I will be looking for other books written by you.

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  • JD
  • 2020-09-21

Intriguing and unpredictable

A hard to put down story of courage, romance and history. Most of the story was unpredictable. I loved the setting of the Catholic Church and the portrayal of the kind and brave priest. Toward the end, the story became unbearably sad, and the ending was bittersweet. All in all, a great story and very good audio.