Sunday, February 4, 2018

*Review* The Lost Letter by Jillian Cantor

Genre: Historical Fiction
Published: June 13, 2017
Pages: 322

A heart-breaking, heart-warming historical novel of love and survival inspired by real resistance workers during World War II Austria, and the mysterious love letter that connects generations of Jewish families. For readers of The NightingaleLilac Girls, and Sarah's Key.

Austria, 1938.
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. 

Los Angeles, 1989
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. 

A beautiful, poignant and devastating novel, The Lost Lettershows the lasting power of love.

I received a copy of this book through Penguin's First to Read program in exchange for an honest review. 

I was excited to read this book and it didn't let me down. I found myself absolutely intrigued by the mystery of the story, trying to figure out what the connection between Kristoff and Katie was beyond the stamp that she found in her father's collection. I'm happy to report that the author led me to the answer before she led fictional Katie to the answer, so I got to feel a little bit smart for figuring it out first. There were just so many little details to the story that made it a slam dunk for me. I got to wish for two separate romantic relationships to blossom (although that's kind of a recipe for heartbreak, honestly), and I got to see true loyalty in Kristoff. Every girl would be lucky to have a Kristoff in her life. 

I want to gush about the story because I loved it that much, but I fear that everything I want to talk about would be considered spoilers because I finished reading the story several months ago. While many details are still fresh in my mind like I just read the book yesterday, I know most of what I've retained are the major details. This is a book that I could absolutely see myself re-reading at some point though, and I don't often re-read. 

I give The Lost Letter 5.0765364 stars. - Katie 

Jillian Cantor has a B.A. in English from Penn State University and an M.F.A. from the University of Arizona, where she was also a recipient of the national Jacob K. Javits Fellowship. The author of several books for teens and adults, she grew up in a suburb of Philadelphia. She currently lives in Arizona with her husband and two sons. 

Visit her online at

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