Author: Ellen Feldman
Published by: St. Martin's Press on Sep. 7, 2021
Genres: Historical Fiction
Format: ARC, Paperback
Source: St. Martin's Press
Book Rating: 8/10
From the author of Paris Never Leaves You, a gripping story of a young German Jewish woman who returns to Allied Occupied Berlin from America to face the past and unexpected future
Millie Mosbach and her brother David escaped to the United States just before Kristallnacht, leaving their parents and little sister in Berlin. Now they are both back in their former hometown, haunted by ghosts and hoping against hope to find their family. Millie works in the office responsible for rooting out the most dedicated Nazis from publishing. Like most of their German-born American colleagues, the siblings suffer from rage at Germany and guilt at their own good fortune. Only Millie’s boss, Major Harry Sutton, seems strangely eager to be fair to the Germans.
Living and working in bombed-out Berlin, a latter day Wild West where the desperate prey on the unsuspecting; spies ply their trade; black markets thrive, and forbidden fraternization is rampant, Millie must come to terms with a past decision made in a moment of crisis, and with the enigmatic sometimes infuriating Major Sutton who is mysteriously understanding of her demons. Atmospheric and page-turning, The Living and the Lost is a story of survival, love, and forgiveness, of others and of self.
Thoughtful, moving, and immersive!
The Living and the Lost is an intriguing, poignant tale that sweeps you away to Berlin, post-WWII and into the life of Millie Mosbach, a young Jewish woman who, after escaping to America with her brother in 1938 and graduating from Bryn Mawr College, returns to war-torn Germany in 1945 to work for the de-Nazification program, removing Nazis from the publishing industry, and to hopefully find her missing parents and little sister who were taken as prisoners before they were able to get away.
The prose is nuanced and attentive. The characters are scarred, strong, and brave. And the plot using flashbacks and a back-and-forth style is an enthralling tale about life, love, strength, deception, bravery, injustice, hope, guilt, grief, loss, shame, survival, and the aftermath of war.
Overall, The Living and the Lost is an intriguing, heart-tugging, pensive tale by Feldman that does a lovely job of reminding us that nothing is as ever clear cut or as black and white as it may, on the surface, appear to be.
This novel is available now.
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Thank you to St. Martin’s Press for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.