Book Review 5: The Lost Wife by Alyson Richman

It would not be an exxageration to say that this was the book I was waiting for all my life. I have read numerous other books on the same topic, which is the powerful force of real true love which can change lives and destinies. Because, let’s face the fact: I am a hopeless romantic who will burst into tears every time I read a good love story. This novel was a waaay different.

The reasons? They are endless. First and foremost, the novel tackles one of my favourite history periods – World War Two. I just love to research this topic finding as much new information as I can. I want to enrich my knowledge in the Holocaust which tears my heart every time with the heartbreaking personal stories of the millions Jews killed in the concentration camps. And when a book represents the true events happened to a girl, Lenka, living in one of those camps I just cannot put away the novel. It captures me with such a force that I simply cannot go to sleep. This book was the cause of my latest book hangover.

Secondly, the storyline is presented from the perspectives of both the protagonists – Lenka and Joseph in alternating chapters. This way the author prevented her readers to draw conclusions simply by just one perspective. We glimpse into the lives both of Lenka, whose chapters are dedicated to her difficult past in the Terezin ghetto and later on in Auschwitz, and of Joseph, whose narrative shows us how his unconditional love for Lenka haunts his marriage with his second wife in America. Both narratives were powerful, but I found myself enjoying Lenka’s chapters more as they provided a more continuous timeline of events.

Last but not least, Richman’s language … I rarely find someone’s way of saying things so magnetic. There were times that I caught myself thinking that this woman is able to come up with some extraordinary metaphors and similes:

“I had to teach myself that love was very much like a painting. The negative space between people was just as important as the positive space we occupy. The air between our resting bodies, and the breath in our conversations, were all like the white of the canvas, and the rest our relationship- the laughter and the memories- were the brushstroke applied over time.”
Alyson Richman has created a heart-wrenching story. A story that will stay with me for really a long time. It is the most incredibly written love story that I have ever read. It is so amazing that I was really sorry that it came to an end. Therefore, I am sure that I will re-read it!

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