Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Julie's Review: The Lost Family

Author: Jenna Blum
Series: None
Publication Date: June 5, 2018
Publisher: Harper
Pages: 432
Obtained: publisher
Genre:  Historical Fiction
Rating: 5/5
Bottom Line: Heartbreaking, poignant and hopeful
Grab, Just get it at the library, or Remove from your TBR list? Grab
Summary: The New York Times bestselling author of Those Who Save Us creates a vivid portrait of marriage, family, and the haunting grief of World War II in this emotionally charged, beautifully rendered story that spans a generation, from the 1960s to the 1980s. In 1965 Manhattan, patrons flock to Masha’s to savor its brisket bourguignon and impeccable service and to admire its dashing owner and head chef Peter Rashkin. With his movie-star good looks and tragic past, Peter, a survivor of Auschwitz, is the most eligible bachelor in town. But Peter does not care for the parade of eligible women who come to the restaurant hoping to catch his eye. He has resigned himself to a solitary life. Running Masha’s consumes him, as does his terrible guilt over surviving the horrors of the Nazi death camp while his wife, Masha—the restaurant’s namesake—and two young daughters perished. Then exquisitely beautiful June Bouquet, an up-and-coming young model, appears at the restaurant, piercing Peter’s guard. Though she is twenty years his junior, the two begin a passionate, whirlwind courtship. When June unexpectedly becomes pregnant, Peter proposes, believing that beginning a new family with the woman he loves will allow him to let go of the horror of the past. But over the next twenty years, the indelible sadness of those memories will overshadow Peter, June, and their daughter Elsbeth, transforming them in shocking, heartbreaking, and unexpected ways. ~amazon.com  
Review: The Lost Family is a fabulous story that is told from 3 different view points: Peter, the husband and father; June, the wife and mother; and Elsbeth, the daughter. What adds to the story though is that Ms. Blum tells it in chronological order.

I thoroughly enjoyed all points of view but the one that will stick with me is Peter’s. His is a story of survival and hope. I’m not sure if it’s because it was first but it was certainly had the most impact. It is his history and his experiences that shape his present and his future. He never fully opens up to June and keep his past to himself. It is his extended family that tells June and then Elsbeth about his previous family and

I understood how June felt the way she did about her life (haven’t we all felt stuck at one point) but she didn’t know how to handle it.

Then there was Elsbeth that felt she wasn’t good enough for either parent for various reasons but they were all internalized. I felt sorry for Elsbeth because she was stuck in the middle between her parents and their issues. Her mother always wanted her to lose weight but her father was always plying her with food.

Ultimately this novel is about family and how the past influences the present and the future. It’s about letting go and moving on but not forgetting. For fans of WWII novels, this is one that you will want to read.


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