The Lost Letter

Many of the books I read are either borrowed from my mom, or suggested to me by her, because we share such a similar taste in books. Last year my mom loaned me The Lost Letter, and when she did I can remember her saying she loved this book. When I told her I was reading it a few weeks ago she said she hadn’t yet read it, though I told her she was the one who gave it to me. We shared a good laugh because she swears up and down she can’t remember giving it to me (probably the first and only time that has happened). Once I finished up the book I told her I would give it back to her, mainly because it is her book, but also so she can read it (again)! This book was simply too good for her NOT to remember it. (Don’t worry mom, I got your back).

The time is 1938 in Austria and Kristoff is a young apprentice to a master Jewish stamp engraver. When his teacher disappears during Kristallnacht, Kristoff is forced to engrave stamps for the Germans, and simultaneously works alongside Elena, his beloved teacher's fiery daughter, and with the Austrian resistance to send underground messages and forge papers. As he falls for Elena amidst the brutal chaos of war, Kristoff must find a way to save her, and himself. The perspective shifts to Los Angeles in 1989, where Katie Nelson is going through a divorce and while cleaning out her house and life in the aftermath, she comes across the stamp collection of her father, who recently went into a nursing home. When an appraiser, Benjamin, discovers an unusual World War II-era Austrian stamp placed on an old love letter as he goes through her dad's collection, Katie and Benjamin are sent on a journey together that will uncover a story of passion and tragedy spanning decades and continents, behind the just fallen Berlin Wall. The Lost Letter has been compared to The Nightingale (which is probably my favorite historical fiction novel), and has received amazing reviews since its publishing.

I’ve been on a roll reading thrillers and true crime lately, so I felt the need a few weeks ago to throw in some historical fiction. The Lost Letter has been in my TBR (to be read) list since last year and I decided it was finally time to read it, and I’m so glad I did. I fell in love with the story with every page. It was one of those books where you want to keep reading but don’t want it to end. In a way it’s a mystery, because each page you wonder what will happen next. Most of all, this is a story of familial love and romantic love, a story of passion and selflessness. This book did not disappoint and quickly became a favorite on my historical fiction list. The shifting perspective between Katie, Kristoff, and Miriam creates a beautiful story of love, strength, and perseverance. Not only is this story perfectly written, it easily allows readers to connect with the characters through its poignancy and the sorrow of the Faber and Nelson families. Their stories connect in a sweet and unexpected surprise that I had not been able to piece together. The Lost Letter is simply a lovely story, written with elegance and care.

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