Release date: June 5, 2018
Genre: Historical Fiction
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.
Jenna Blum artfully brings to the page a husband devastated by a grief he cannot name, a frustrated wife struggling to compete with a ghost she cannot banish, and a daughter sensitive to the pain of both her own family and another lost before she was born. Spanning three cinematic decades, The Lost Family is a charming, funny, and elegantly bittersweet study of the repercussions of loss and love.
The Lost Family is a heartbreakingly beautiful tale of a family that spans generations and is structured in an intriguing way. It begins with Peter in 1965 beginning when he meets his wife, June then it switches to her point of view in 1975 when she gets pregnant and then finally to their daughter Elsbeth’s perspective in 1985. I really enjoyed getting to know each character individually as well as through the eyes of each other, it provided a depth of character and made me feel like I got an intimate look at the family.
While I enjoyed each characters section I found myself most invested in Peter, his story was both terribly sad and wonderfully inspiring. He’s a chef and owner of Masha’s and the food descriptions were to die for, there’s always something about books that discuss food that makes me happy (and hungry!) His struggles as an emigrant were so vividly rendered and the brief glimpses of his life before he settle in NYC were haunting.
If you like smart historical fiction with emotional depth and intimate portrayal of one family’s struggles over the years then check this one out. My first read by Blum but most certainly not my last.
The Lost Family in three words: Evocative, Sweeping and Vulnerable.
Overall rating: 4/5
Thanks to the publisher and the Great Thoughts Great Readers ninja review team.