Book: The Book of Lost Names
Author: Kristin Harnel
This is my 96th read for the year
This is the story of Eva - a Jewish girl during WWII. She and her parents are living in parents when her dad is rounded up and arrested for being Jewish. Eva and her mother are not at home at the time, so only her father is taken. Eva and her mother set out from Paris to try and find him and end up in a town in France. There Eva is recruited to be a forger after they discovered her ability to replicate documents. She is to help children who have been separated from their families, escape into Switzerland. Here she meets Remy - a man who has been working as a forger for awhile and is also in charge of moving the children.
A few days turns into a few weeks as Eva and Remy - and eventually others - work to get the children to safety. She and Remy hide the real names of the children in a book that is kept hidden in a church library. The hope is that someday the children can be reunited with their real families.
The book bounces back and forth between Eva - 60 years after the war - and Eva as a young woman during the war. The story unfolds after the Book of Lost Names is discovered in Berlin and the person who found it wants to reunite it with its rightful owner.
This book is fine. I saw the almost 2000 reviews on Amazon - most 4/5 star reviews and wondered what I might be missing. It wasn't terrible. I liked the idea of the story - and my understanding is that this is based on something that actually happened. I was drawn in by the idea of the names of children being hidden in a book and that book being discovered in the future. However - there were so many other parts of this story that weren't great, that I cannot give it a good review. There is a heavy love story and is predictable - esepcially in the end. Also Eva's mother is AWFUL. They made her character way over the top. The things that Eva's mother says and does don't fit at all with what Eva is doing, and the excuses they make for Eva's mother's behavior are weak. The writing was just so so. I have read better historical fiction WWII books. I listened to it as an audio book and the reader wasn't great. She had a halting voice that made everyone sound like they were on the verge of tears all the time.
It was entertaining enough as an audio book - something for me to listen to as I did yard work this last week. But as for quality? I would say skip it.