Friday, January 18, 2013

The Lost Wife

The Lost WifeIn pre-war Prague, Lenka and Josef are young students and blissfully in love. When war looms, they are separated, but decades later in New York chance upon each other again.

I liked the premise of The Lost Wife and I knew it was going to be a tragic story going in, any book that focuses on WWII and the Holocaust are bound to be tear jerkers. There were definite bring out the tissue moments but overall I wasn’t impressed with this one.

The novel starts at the end in New York and through Lenka and Josef’s perspectives, shifts back in time to tell their story from the beginning until they meet again in New York.

I couldn’t connect with Josef through most of the story and although I can’t imagine the horrific and tragic circumstances that family and lovers were forced to face, I still found myself judging him for leaving Lenka behind in Prague.  

At times the same memory is told from both Lenka and Josef’s perspectives and I thought it was redundant and should have focused on the most important voice.

Lenka’s voice was more powerful and her story is the heart and soul of this novel. She was an incredible woman and I was happy that after the war, she was able to build a life and seemed to be more than content.
I did enjoy some of the questions the book raised, would you be able to flee to safety and leave your family behind, not knowing what horrors they would face but knowing things were going to be bad. How do you choose between your husband/wife and your parents.

The ending was the final straw for me; I wanted to throw the book by that point. I felt like it was a real letdown. The whole novel is building to Lenka and Josef’s reunion and I wanted a whole lot more than the author gave us. I wanted to at least be given Lenka’s perspective on seeing Josef again.

Overall, this was not a great read for me. I loved the premise and I think it had a lot of potential but it just didn’t grab me the way I was hoping it would.

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