The Book of Lost Names

The Book of Lost Names

A Novel

Book - 2020
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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 bestselling author of the "epic and heart-wrenching World War II tale" (Alyson Noel, #1 New York Times bestselling author) The Winemaker's Wife .

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.
Publisher: New York :, Gallery Books,, ©2020.
Edition: First Gallery Books hardcover edition.
ISBN: 9781982131890
Branch Call Number: FICTION HAR
Characteristics: 388 pages ; 24 cm.


From Library Staff

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. 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.

From the critics

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May 05, 2021

Recommended by Ellen May ‘21

May 05, 2021

Eva, a French Jewess, becomes a forger for the resistance enabling the escape of hundreds of children to Switzerland. She and Remy (her 1st love)use the Fibonacci sequence to keep track of the real names of the children in an ancient book in the church’s library. 50 plus years after the war she sees an article about the German librarian who’s trying to return the book to its owner and she goes from her US home to claim it. Remy,presumed dead in the war, shows up as well & they reunite.

Apr 20, 2021

Set mostly in Nazi-occupied France during WWII, THE BOOK OF LOST NAMES attempts to shine a light on a dark period of world history and the ordinary people who risked their lives to save the innocent. Historical fiction fans like me will enjoy learning about document forging, secret codes, and the French Resistance. Unfortunately, author Kristin Harmel’s novel is mainly a predictable and overly sentimental romance. Some story events seem contrived, and I had a hard time connecting with the characters. THE BOOK OF LOST NAMES began with an intriguing premise, but somewhere along the way it lost me - such a disappointment.

Apr 16, 2021

Saw in AARP - Author of The Nightengale

Mar 28, 2021

A spellbinding book that kept me sitting in one place, reading one page at a time - completely immersed with the story being told. I was fascinated by the amazing story told within the horrors of World War II, the Holocaust, French Resistance at the level of one cell and a love story -- of different kinds of love - love for parents, friends, children, lovers. Highly recommended as a wonderful, good and fast read.

Mar 28, 2021

It held my interest as a story, but this novel is merely one of a long list of novels that I consider to be in a genre I call "sexy Holocaust" literature. It's a disturbing, money-making trend. I'm a believer that if you are going to write about such a horrific event, you better actually have something to say. The information about forgery and the French resistance was interesting, but the love story and the main character's relationship with her parents felt forced and overdone.

Mar 20, 2021

This book was very informative and the characters were so exceptionally portrayed. I never HATED a character in a book as much as I did in this one. I will not give it away who it was. I fell in love with the forgers and the priest and am so lucky to have read it..

Mar 17, 2021

I wish I had read the author’s endnotes first. Billed as historical fiction, the subject matter is not fiction. The atrocities and hardships and The Book of Lost Names are secondary to the romances of Eva’s parents, of Eva herself and fleetingly, of her co-worker. I think the book would have been powerful with the emphases flipped.

Mar 07, 2021

Excellent read. Well constructed tale. Fell in love with title character. Unexpected plot twists kept my interest.

Jan 19, 2021

Halocaust Lit. Good read.

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Apr 20, 2021

“…we aren’t defined by the names we carry or the religion we practice, or the nation whose flag flies over our heads… We’re defined by who we are in our hearts, who we choose to be on this earth.” - p. 370

Apr 20, 2021

“You can’t judge a person by their language or their place of origin—though it seems that each new generation insists upon learning that lesson for itself.” - p. 273

Apr 20, 2021

“He had taught her to love reading, one of the greatest gifts a parent could give a child, and in doing so, he had opened the world to her.” - p. 13


Add a Summary
Feb 18, 2021

Eva, Florida librarian sees rare book in article about books stolen by Germans. Goes to Berlin to claim it. During WW2, after her Polish/Jewish father was killed, Eva fled from Paris to village town where she helped evacuate Jewish children under assumed names. Their real names were recorded in code in an old religious book, so their real names wouldn't be forgotten. Love story attached.
Good read.

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