The Lost Family
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 1980sIn 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 Details

TitleThe Lost Family
Author
ReleaseJun 5th, 2018
PublisherHarper
ISBN-139780062742162
Rating
GenreHistorical, Historical Fiction, Fiction, Family

The Lost Family Review

  • Angela M
    January 1, 1970
    3.5 stars Peter doesn’t speak of Auschwitz or the loss of his wife Masha and their three year old twin daughters. He cannot and he won’t - not to his friends, his family or even his new wife, June . He does not want to relive the roundup of Jews in Germany, but he does sometimes in his dreams. I’ve read quite a few Holocaust novels but not many about what it’s like to be a survivor years after. Certainly the non fiction and memoirs such as Night or But You Did Not Come Back and others are the mo 3.5 stars Peter doesn’t speak of Auschwitz or the loss of his wife Masha and their three year old twin daughters. He cannot and he won’t - not to his friends, his family or even his new wife, June . He does not want to relive the roundup of Jews in Germany, but he does sometimes in his dreams. I’ve read quite a few Holocaust novels but not many about what it’s like to be a survivor years after. Certainly the non fiction and memoirs such as Night or But You Did Not Come Back and others are the most gut wrenching and heartbreaking and telling. While this is not a graphic depiction of the camps, Jenna Blum in this novel has done a good job of depicting one man’s grief and loss and in some ways it’s hard for me not to rate this higher because of that. It’s been fifteen years since Peter made it to New York and is running a restaurant called Masha’s, honoring his wife who was a chef in Germany. (I loved the menus and descriptions of the dishes.) He is still clearly haunted by his past, blaming himself for not getting his wife and daughters out of Germany in time. He tries to move forward, marries and has a daughter. The novel spans from the mid 1960’s to the mid 1980’s and is told from three points of view in three parts - Peter’s, his wife June’s and his daughter Elsbeth. While I could understand June’s unhappiness and her feeling that she “can’t compete with ghosts”, her part of the story felt a little melodramatic and soap operaish and she was for the most part not a very likable character. Elsbeth’s was actually quite sad and disturbing. Peter’s need to keep his memories and grief separate is central to the novel, and in doing so he is never able to bring all of himself to his relationship with June and there is clearly an impact on his family. I wasn’t clear on whether Blum wants the reader to believe that all that happened was because of Peter’s burdens. I just couldn’t buy into that fully, if that is the case. It was hard for me to rate this because I felt so fully connected to Peter’s grief, much less connected to June, but I did feel sorry for Elsbeth. This couldn’t really have ended any other way, but I’ll admit I would have loved to have heard the conversation between Peter and his daughter that will start as this story ends. 3.5 stars - worth reading in spite of the reservations. I received an advanced copy of this book from HarperCollins through Edelweiss.
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  • Diane S ☔
    January 1, 1970
    Peter lost everything important to him in the war, in fact he almost lost himself. Finally, after the liberation of the concentration camp he makes it to America, where he becomes a chef and part owner of a well respected restaurant. This is where he first sees June, twenty years his junior, on her way to becoming a top model. Her vivacity and innocence attracts Peter, and he soon looks on her as the way to start a new life, a second chance.The long effects of trauma, loss and grief, strong tent Peter lost everything important to him in the war, in fact he almost lost himself. Finally, after the liberation of the concentration camp he makes it to America, where he becomes a chef and part owner of a well respected restaurant. This is where he first sees June, twenty years his junior, on her way to becoming a top model. Her vivacity and innocence attracts Peter, and he soon looks on her as the way to start a new life, a second chance.The long effects of trauma, loss and grief, strong tentacles that will follow Peter and his new family. June is at times, well truthfully for me many times, a character that is hard to like. Though I admit I did feel sorry for her occasionally, trying to penetrates Peter's reserve, her wanting to have her own life. Their daughter Elsbeth goes through some troubling times, but she was easier for me to understand. The author does a wonderful job painting a picture of the righties punk scene in Manhattan. The avant garde artists, controversial art shows, and a young girl who gets caught up in something she little understands. A good story, a relateable family and a look into the sixties, seventies and eighties. Quite well done.ARC from Edelweiss.
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  • Jennifer Blankfein
    January 1, 1970
    The Lost Family is a beautifully written novel by Jenna Blum, author of the bestseller, Those Who Save Us. The story begins in 1965 Manhattan. World War II is over but the haunting memories are omnipresent for Peter Rashkin. He survived Auschwitz but tragically lost his beloved wife and twin daughters, and Peter is trying to start a new life for himself. His extended family, the few that are still alive, have encouraged him to meet a nice Jewish girl and get on with life. He owns and runs a rest The Lost Family is a beautifully written novel by Jenna Blum, author of the bestseller, Those Who Save Us. The story begins in 1965 Manhattan. World War II is over but the haunting memories are omnipresent for Peter Rashkin. He survived Auschwitz but tragically lost his beloved wife and twin daughters, and Peter is trying to start a new life for himself. His extended family, the few that are still alive, have encouraged him to meet a nice Jewish girl and get on with life. He owns and runs a restaurant called Masha, his lost wife’s namesake, and with a hole in his heart, emotional damage beyond repair, and physical scars on his body to prove it, Peter presses on. He develops a relationship with June, a beautiful model twenty years younger, and although he cannot escape his torturous past, he hides his emotional and physical scars and gives what he can toward this new and exciting relationship.Two decades later, Peter, his wife June and their daughter Elsbeth continue to struggle with Peter’s ghosts, the scars of war, and the legacy of the Holocaust and all the victims. This emotional story touches upon many things, including the difficult restaurant business, high fashion modeling, the excitement and pitfalls of infidelity and the disturbing effects of eating disorders, but the basis of the emotional grief and ongoing challenges that engulfs the Rashkin family stems from personal loss, suffering and the terrors of World War II. Such a compassionate and engaging novel, don’t miss this great read. For all reviews follow my blog Book Nation by Jen.
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  • Jenna Blum
    January 1, 1970
    This is the best third novel I ever wrote! I hope you love it, too. :) *out from Harper Collins 6.5.18!*
  • The Lit Bitch
    January 1, 1970
    This was a book that I actually passed on initially. Yes it sounded good and like something that would be right up my alley. But my summer reading schedule always fills up so fast and I just didn’t have room for this book so basically I had to pass.I did however agree to do a special feature on this book as I think it would appeal to many of my readers. As I was working on the special feature, I felt really sad that I wasn’t reading this book because it sounded so good.After some very aggressive This was a book that I actually passed on initially. Yes it sounded good and like something that would be right up my alley. But my summer reading schedule always fills up so fast and I just didn’t have room for this book so basically I had to pass.I did however agree to do a special feature on this book as I think it would appeal to many of my readers. As I was working on the special feature, I felt really sad that I wasn’t reading this book because it sounded so good.After some very aggressive reading and maneuvering, I was able to fit this book in. There were many times that I stayed up way later than I should have reading this book…..not just so I could finish it, but because it was an excellent read! This is a new to me author and not one that I have heard a whole lot about. I gathered from the summary and pitch that she was a best selling author but yet I hadn’t heard or read any of her books—which is not unusual but sometimes I am a get a little wary that maybe the author was on the best seller list but way down the list or in some weird random capacity. Seeing as how I don’t actually live under a rock when it comes to literature, when I haven’t heard of a ‘best selling author’, I sometimes get a little nervous about picking a book up.This book was an excellent read though. I am now shocked that I haven’t heard of this author before! Her writing skills are sharp and well honed and the story it self is the right mixture of sadness, pain, and hope. It’s set in kind of this obscure period after WWII where society is dealing with the fall out of a post war world. It’s a time period that I haven’t read too much about. Most of the 1960s books I’ve read have been historical based for my masters or more focused on space race or politics and not the politics or fall out from a world war twenty years previously.I liked how well the setting worked and the idea of an older man and younger woman trying to make the best of things romantically and in their lives. This book is definitely not a short easy read. It’s an emotional read with characters that battle many demons in their lives and try to over come their situations. While I wasn’t looking for an emotionally heavy book, I admired the spirit of the characters and how they worked so hard to over come their past. I loved that this was a book that explored a lot of different angles…..family, loss, guilt, romance. So many elements and each one powerful.This was an outstanding read and one that kind of snuck up on me. I wasn’t expecting to like this book as much as I did. I read it very quickly (not because I had to but because it was so moving), this was one of those times that I was so so so thankful that I did not pass on this book and that I made room for it in my schedule. It was a moving, emotional roller coaster, have tissues ready with this one! I hope to see this one high up on the best seller list, because it has earned it!See my full review here
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  • MaryBeth's Bookshelf
    January 1, 1970
    Jenna Blum's beautifully written novel, The Lost Family, is set in New York City from the 1960's-1980's. It opens with Peter Rashkin, a Holocaust survivor, running his famous restaurant, Masha's, when June Bouquet walks in and changes his life. As hard as Peter tries to forget his past and not let anyone invade his present and future, there is something about June that draws him in. When June becomes pregnant, Peter proposes and tries to forget his past. But the horrors of the Holocaust and what Jenna Blum's beautifully written novel, The Lost Family, is set in New York City from the 1960's-1980's. It opens with Peter Rashkin, a Holocaust survivor, running his famous restaurant, Masha's, when June Bouquet walks in and changes his life. As hard as Peter tries to forget his past and not let anyone invade his present and future, there is something about June that draws him in. When June becomes pregnant, Peter proposes and tries to forget his past. But the horrors of the Holocaust and what happened to Peter and his family is too much to bear and recover from. Over the next twenty years we witness the past invading the future of the Rashkin family and threaten to tear them apart.This book is told from three different perspectives, starting with Peter. I was immediately drawn in, but found myself wishing the whole book had been told from Peter's perspective, as that ended up being my favorite part. Despite this, I flew through the book. Definitely recommend.
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  • Amy
    January 1, 1970
    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 in 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.
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  • Kristen Cook - A Book Ninja
    January 1, 1970
    Wow. What a story of pain and loss. The story of Peter and his first family was one of tragedy. It is a story that will stick with me for some time. The tragedy that he endured overshadowed the rest of his life influencing all the relationships from then on. This is the second book by Blum that I have read and once again she did not fail to deliver. I received an ARC from Edelweiss. All thoughts & opinions are my own.
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  • Andrea
    January 1, 1970
    I wish I could give this book more than 5 stars. It is an immigrant story. It is a family story. It is a parenting story. I liken it to a mix of The Two-Family House by Lynda Loigman (amazing book) and Mad Men. Blum has written a huge masterpiece that should be read and absorbed by all.I received an advance digital copy from the publisher.
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  • Leslie
    January 1, 1970
    Full disclosure: I have an author crush on Jenna Blum. (Is that a thing?) She is just the greatest. I've been following her on social media since falling in love with her first book, Those Who Save Us many years ago and if you aren't following her, do it! Even if you don't read her books, you'll be bombarded with pictures of her dog Woodrow and her storm chasing fiancé and pictures of storms and so many other things and I could go on but I'm already showing stalker behavior which I'm not, I swea Full disclosure: I have an author crush on Jenna Blum. (Is that a thing?) She is just the greatest. I've been following her on social media since falling in love with her first book, Those Who Save Us many years ago and if you aren't following her, do it! Even if you don't read her books, you'll be bombarded with pictures of her dog Woodrow and her storm chasing fiancé and pictures of storms and so many other things and I could go on but I'm already showing stalker behavior which I'm not, I swear, she's just a neat gal. Did any of this influence my rating? Absolutely not. This book was an exquisite, heart-wrenching gem. The Lost Family is a story told in three parts which spans three decades but encompasses events that take place prior to those decades. In 1965 we meet Peter Rashkin. He lost his family in The Holocaust and is now living in New York, running a successful restaurant. I was salivating during the food scenes. I don't even eat meat but everything sounded so delicious. Peter meets June, an aspiring model nearly 20 years his junior. Part two of the story brings us to 1975 and is told from June's point of view. The two have a daughter, Elsbeth (Ellie), who's narrative is told in the last section of the story and begins in 1985. There is a lot that happens between 1965 and the end of the book in 1986. (approximately) Too much to describe and too much to spoil.I was utterly under this book's spell. It happened quietly. I was enjoying it, things were progressing nicely. Before I knew it, I was thinking about Peter while not reading it, worrying about Elsbeth while driving and wrestling with my feelings for June at random times of the day. They burrowed their way into my heart so much so that when I finished, I felt a genuine disappointment at having to say goodbye to them. And don't get me started on my food cravings. I'm still fighting urges to go to a fancy restaurant and spend money I don't have on expensive, gorgeous looking food.The Lost Family is about so many things. Family of course but it's also about grief and guilt, forgiveness and strength, memory and pain, love and comfort. It's been eight years since Blum's last novel and I can honestly say it was worth waiting for.
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  • Susan Peterson
    January 1, 1970
    While grieving one lost family, a man puts his new family on the line...will he lose them too? The Lost Family is a haunting look at a family...a family built from the ashes of loss and grief. I thought it was interesting that the story was divided into three sections; 1965, which is the father’s story; 1975 is the mother’s perspective; 1985 is told from the daughter’s point of view. Each of the three has a unique story to tell, and events of the past have an everlasting effect on the relationsh While grieving one lost family, a man puts his new family on the line...will he lose them too? The Lost Family is a haunting look at a family...a family built from the ashes of loss and grief. I thought it was interesting that the story was divided into three sections; 1965, which is the father’s story; 1975 is the mother’s perspective; 1985 is told from the daughter’s point of view. Each of the three has a unique story to tell, and events of the past have an everlasting effect on the relationships of this family. The author does a fantastic job of putting the reader into each of the three decades, through fashion, food, music, and even the ever-changing atmosphere of New York City.
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  • Mieke Schepens
    January 1, 1970
    In drie delen, met als titel de namen van het gezin van Peter Rashkin, leren we deze gezinsleden goed kennen. Ieder heeft toch een eigen agenda, hoezeer ze ook bij elkaar betrokken zijn. Dat is ook een verloren familie, zoals de titel van het boek aangeeft. In het eerste deel ‘Peter 1965’ kijk je voornamelijk mee door de ogen van Peter, het tweede deel ‘June 1975’ is aan zijn vrouw June gewijd en tenslotte lees je over Elsbeth door de ogen van Elsbeth in ‘Elsbeth1985’. Op het voorblad van elk va In drie delen, met als titel de namen van het gezin van Peter Rashkin, leren we deze gezinsleden goed kennen. Ieder heeft toch een eigen agenda, hoezeer ze ook bij elkaar betrokken zijn. Dat is ook een verloren familie, zoals de titel van het boek aangeeft. In het eerste deel ‘Peter 1965’ kijk je voornamelijk mee door de ogen van Peter, het tweede deel ‘June 1975’ is aan zijn vrouw June gewijd en tenslotte lees je over Elsbeth door de ogen van Elsbeth in ‘Elsbeth1985’. Op het voorblad van elk van de drie delen staat een quote die goed gekozen is voor de persoon uit wiens perspectief we voornamelijk dat deel lezen. Het onderwerp van dit verhaal is hoe de gevolgen van de Tweede Wereldoorlog impact (kunnen) hebben op het leven van een overlever.Het maakt daarvoor niets uit dat je de halve wereld over reist naar Amerika voor een nieuw begin.Lees hier mijn recensie verder: https://graaggelezen.blogspot.nl/2017...
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  • Heidi
    January 1, 1970
    Years ago, in one of my previous jobs, I had the privilege to meet many holocaust survivors who shared their heartbreaking stories of survival and new beginnings in other countries far from their home. Although I greatly admired their resilience and the human survival spirit, and their capacity to forgive and start over, I also realised that there was often a huge price to pay for the trauma they had endured. One was survivor’s guilt, of having escaped the death camps when so many of their famil Years ago, in one of my previous jobs, I had the privilege to meet many holocaust survivors who shared their heartbreaking stories of survival and new beginnings in other countries far from their home. Although I greatly admired their resilience and the human survival spirit, and their capacity to forgive and start over, I also realised that there was often a huge price to pay for the trauma they had endured. One was survivor’s guilt, of having escaped the death camps when so many of their family and friends were not able to. Although they had moved on, married and had children in their new country, many said that they were not able to share their experiences with those nearest and dearest to them, and that the past remained an ever present ghost in their lives, which their families could not understand. This lasting effect of trauma is the very thing Blum explores in her latest novel, The Lost Family. Peter Rashkin, a German Jew who has managed to escape the death camps and has fled to America to start a new life, is still haunted by the death of his wife and their small twin daughters during the war. When he meets the vivacious, beautiful and innocent model June Bouquet, he thinks that she will be his salvation, the woman who will rescue him from his grief and allow him to move on. But Peter’s trauma is a heavy burden, one that will threaten to destroy his marriage and affect his daughter Elsbeth, who grows up in the shadow of the ghosts of her half-sisters, even though Peter will never talk about them.Blum’s novel is told in three distinctive parts. Part one is told from Peter’s POV, as he is trying to make a new start in America, working in his restaurant Masha’s in New York. It is there that he first meets and falls in love with June, whose youth and happiness seems to be the perfect cure for his grief. June, who has grown up without a father, is drawn to the much older and mysterious Peter, basking in his adoration. When a shocked June first finds out about Masha’s and the twins’ deaths and suggests that Peter see a therapist to talk about his trauma, he replies: “Why would I need an analyst? I am happy now. I have you.” Part two is set ten years later as an unhappy June reflects on motherhood, marriage and her lost dreams, trying to find a way out of her lonely life. The last part, another decade on, tells about sixteen-year-old Elsbeth, who is propelled into adulthood through a chance encounter. For me, the first part of the novel was definitely my favourite. I loved the atmospheric setting and the descriptions of the magical food creations Peter serves up in his restaurant, named after his dead wife. As he first meets June and falls in love, for the first time hoping that the future will bring a new beginning, I so much hoped that he would be able to find happiness. The latter two thirds of the book are a lot more difficult to read, as they deal with the fall-out of Peter’s past on the other family members, who will never be able to grasp the full extent of the trauma but are nonetheless deeply affected by it. As the granddaughter of a POW I recognised the signs of PTSD in Peter, which also scarred my grandfather, and therefore his children, including my mother. Blum paints an insightful and realistic picture of a marriage where both partners are trying to find salvation in each other to escape the past, but which ends up drowning them. It is, at times, unspeakably sad and tragic to read. There were a few things left unanswered that stayed in my mind long after I finished reading, and I realised how deeply this story had troubled me.In summary, Blum’s novel The Lost Family is an insightful portrayal of a family shaped by loss and grief. With its atmospheric setting and believable characters, it effortlessly propelled me into a New York of the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s, as each of the family members drift away from each other, flotsam of a war that left a heavy burden of grief to carry. This is a topic not often explored in novels, and although it left me feeling unspeakably sad, it was a poignant reminder of the burden of the past impacting on our relationships and shaping future generations. I look forward to reading more from this author in future.3.25 starsThank you to Edelweiss and Harper Books for the free electronic copy of this novel and for giving me the opportunity to provide an honest review. *blog* *facebook* *instagram*
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  • Crystal King
    January 1, 1970
    THE LOST FAMILY is definitely my favorite Jenna Blum book. Don't get me wrong, I loved her other novels, but this one really grabbed me. It was a fantastic combination of heart, family, food and dark history. Blum is a masterful writer and a master of character development. I cared deeply about the world of Peter Rashkin and June Bouquet and the ghosts of the past that held the family in thrall. It's a big book in its span of three decades and the historical research that Blum did to bring it to THE LOST FAMILY is definitely my favorite Jenna Blum book. Don't get me wrong, I loved her other novels, but this one really grabbed me. It was a fantastic combination of heart, family, food and dark history. Blum is a masterful writer and a master of character development. I cared deeply about the world of Peter Rashkin and June Bouquet and the ghosts of the past that held the family in thrall. It's a big book in its span of three decades and the historical research that Blum did to bring it to life is impeccable. It's a novel of immigrants, a novel for foodies, a novel of family, a novel of beauty and a novel of love and loss. A novel you should definitely add to your TBR list ASAP.
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  • Diane Yannick
    January 1, 1970
    **Perhaps this review has a spoiler. I’m not at all sure. It seems to me that if you read mainstream reviews before choosing a book, you know at least as much as I tell. If you only read Goodread reviews before choosing a book, I guess this could be a problem. Does anyone do this? Spoiler clarification needed.**It’s hard not to get caught up in this story about a main character who lost those he loved most during the Nazi’s reign of horror. A horror so devastating that he can not find the words **Perhaps this review has a spoiler. I’m not at all sure. It seems to me that if you read mainstream reviews before choosing a book, you know at least as much as I tell. If you only read Goodread reviews before choosing a book, I guess this could be a problem. Does anyone do this? Spoiler clarification needed.**It’s hard not to get caught up in this story about a main character who lost those he loved most during the Nazi’s reign of horror. A horror so devastating that he can not find the words to talk about it. (This happens in real life—my dad never talked about his army experiences in WW II. My husband can’t find the words to talk about the deaths of his 3 children in a fire.) This inability to find words hinders future emotional attachments. An extreme work ethic takes over that space that was meant for emotions. For Peter, it was Masha, his beloved restaurant. Unready for remarriage, he does the right thing when his beautiful, younger girlfriend becomes pregnant. Having less baggage, June Bouquet, expects more of her husband than he is capable of giving. This interplay between Peter and June was beautifully and sensitively written. Their dependence on Uncle Sol was financially necessary but personally destructive.The title is great as there is more than one lost family as those inevitable dominos fall. Their daughter Elsbeth tells the last third, my least favorite part, of the story. Her eating disorder was way too predictable and made me lose the connection I felt to the rest of the story. I would have preferred that the story began and ended with Peter and June. Blum can write her pants off and carefully researches her subject. I will continue to read whatever she writes.
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  • Sue
    January 1, 1970
    This is a wonderful novel about family and is so well written that it will stay with me long after the last page was read. Peter lost his wife and twin daughters to the concentraton camps in WWII. He has moved to NYC to try to start his life over but is unable to let go of his past and think about his future. He marries June, hoping that her youth and love of life will help him learn how to enjoy life. They have a child, Elsbeth, who should bring joy to both parents but they have difficulty let This is a wonderful novel about family and is so well written that it will stay with me long after the last page was read. Peter lost his wife and twin daughters to the concentraton camps in WWII. He has moved to NYC to try to start his life over but is unable to let go of his past and think about his future. He marries June, hoping that her youth and love of life will help him learn how to enjoy life. They have a child, Elsbeth, who should bring joy to both parents but they have difficulty letting go of their pasts. Is Peter going to lose his new family, too?I loved the way the book was set up. The first section 1965 is told from Peter's perspective, the second section, 1975 is told from June's perspective and the last section, 1985 is told from Elsbeth's. Using this technique, we get the deepest thoughts of all three main characters and learn to love them - flaws and all. This is a wonderful well written book and my first book by Jenna Blum. I need to go back and read her earlier books now.
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  • Courtney Judy
    January 1, 1970
    Solid 3.5. Started slow, for me, but picked up rather quickly. I'm still trying to wrap my head around the whole story -- will give a real review soon.A hard to put down story of pain, perseverance, despair, hope, loss, success, starting-over, and family. Excellent imagery throughout the book, even when describing the very hard-to-read scenes of Peter's previous life. Overall, the story kept my interest enough that it turned into a real page turner. The story was going in directions that I wasn' Solid 3.5. Started slow, for me, but picked up rather quickly. I'm still trying to wrap my head around the whole story -- will give a real review soon.A hard to put down story of pain, perseverance, despair, hope, loss, success, starting-over, and family. Excellent imagery throughout the book, even when describing the very hard-to-read scenes of Peter's previous life. Overall, the story kept my interest enough that it turned into a real page turner. The story was going in directions that I wasn't expecting, which was nice. I like being surprised when reading. That being said, the idea of the "lost family" seemed to take a back seat to the "current family" that the story really became about. In the end, I was left wanting more. Wanting to know more about the "lost family" from Peter's perspective. Wanting to know what became of June. How Elsbeth fared. Just more.
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  • Allison
    January 1, 1970
    About halfway through the book, the story turned into a bad soap opera. During the first half of the book, the character development seemed to be moving along pretty nicely. Then it all falls apart as the story focuses on Peter's new wife, who was a runway model when he met her. So the second half of the book went a rambling story line, that also contained useless dialogue between characters that didn't add any value to the story at all. I got the sense that the author didn't really think this t About halfway through the book, the story turned into a bad soap opera. During the first half of the book, the character development seemed to be moving along pretty nicely. Then it all falls apart as the story focuses on Peter's new wife, who was a runway model when he met her. So the second half of the book went a rambling story line, that also contained useless dialogue between characters that didn't add any value to the story at all. I got the sense that the author didn't really think this through, and was just lazy about the last half of the book. So June (Peter's beautiful wife) gets incredibly bored some 10 years into their marriage, with being a housewife and with Peter always being at the restaurant, that she has an affair with her tennis pro, Gregg. Talk about cliche. There is ZERO character development of this Gregg guy, and pretty quickly, the guy is practically stalking her. I actually thought that was the direction that this story was going in. He would call her at her house, show up at her door, even followed her to Minneapolis when she flew there from NY to visit her mother. But, it only seemed to the reader that he was stalking her, because there was no character development, and no reason to think that June had fallen in love with him. The only thing that the author wrote about Gregg was how he immediately jumped her bones every time he saw her. June kept seeing the guy and was thinking about leaving Peter for him (the guy was 8 years younger than June and had no job) - so that's when I realized he wasn't stalking her. Plus, (more cliche), the Gregg was a veteran from Vietnam, and had nightmares, and punched June in the face once in his sleep. Good grief. Of course, in the end she doesn't leave Peter for Gregg, because Peter has a heart attack and she is guilted into staying. Their daughter Elsbeth, who was a complete brat as a toddler, ended up being a brat as a teen, and being fat, with an eating disorder. There was ZERO character development on this kid, because the author jumped the story to ten years later when suddenly we are facing a fat Elsbeth who is pissed off in the backseat of their car going their monthly family trip to Sol's house (Sol was Peter's father's cousin, who got Peter out of Germany back in WWII after his wife and daughters were possibly killed in Auschwitz). The last third of the book is focusing on Elsbeth, who really I didn't care at all about, considering there was zero character development of this girl. I would say that the whole last half of the book had nothing at all to do with Peter, and was basically a soap opera. This book was such a disappointment because her other novel, Those Who Save Us, was quite the opposite in style and character development. I was really ticked off that I purchased and wasted my time on this one.
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  • Mary Olson
    January 1, 1970
    The Lost Family is, in essence, a ghost story. After surviving Auschwitz but losing his wife and twin daughters to Nazi death camps, Peter Rashkin emigrates from Europe and begins life anew in the United States. A successful Manhattan restaurant named for his lost wife consumes all his time and energy and allows Peter to honor Masha without having to invest emotionally in life. That is, until the elegant supermodel of the '60s, June Bouquet, enters the restaurant. Smitten, Peter soon proposes, s The Lost Family is, in essence, a ghost story. After surviving Auschwitz but losing his wife and twin daughters to Nazi death camps, Peter Rashkin emigrates from Europe and begins life anew in the United States. A successful Manhattan restaurant named for his lost wife consumes all his time and energy and allows Peter to honor Masha without having to invest emotionally in life. That is, until the elegant supermodel of the '60s, June Bouquet, enters the restaurant. Smitten, Peter soon proposes, setting the couple, and later their daughter, on a path that will always be haunted by his first family: either by their memory or by comparison. From the 1960s through the mid-80s, readers are treated to historical details of time, place, and style. Jenna Blum is a master at portraying her characters' complex emotions and motivations in an almost poetic way, giving this story a beautiful melancholy which perfectly reflects the depth of Peter's loss.
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  • Becky
    January 1, 1970
    4.5 stars....This book just about ripped my heart out at times. Peter is a successful chef in NYC in the early 60's. He is a quiet man, & he carries around ghosts, the ghosts of his family lost forever. He meets an intriguing young model & so their story begins. The makings of a love story. The part I felt so strongly in this part of the book, was what NYC & modeling was like in that era. Pre "super models" & there was a certain level of sophistication to dining & dating. Eac 4.5 stars....This book just about ripped my heart out at times. Peter is a successful chef in NYC in the early 60's. He is a quiet man, & he carries around ghosts, the ghosts of his family lost forever. He meets an intriguing young model & so their story begins. The makings of a love story. The part I felt so strongly in this part of the book, was what NYC & modeling was like in that era. Pre "super models" & there was a certain level of sophistication to dining & dating. Each section of the book moves ahead by a year or several years & through it all we learn of Peter's former life, how he has or has not coped with it & the effect it has on his relationship with June & their future. Heartbreaking & frustrating at times. His loss & his guilt are something he carries for his entire life & we see what it does to a family who wants to understand yet they too are carrying these ghosts around with them.I won't post any spoilers.....This was a great read & I just love Jenna Blum's writing, so vivid.I received an advanced, uncorrected copy of this book from Edelweiss for an honest opinion.
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  • Mama's
    January 1, 1970
    It is a rarity that fictional stories of Holocaust survivors ever focus on the reality of what happens to them throughout the rest of their lives. I suppose this is where the intrigue came in as I read the novel The Lost Family. To catch a glimpse of what it could have been like for some survivors as they navigate postwar life was eye-opening, to say the least. PTSD must’ve been all-encompassing for these victims, and it was certainly something that most people were vastly ill-informed about. So It is a rarity that fictional stories of Holocaust survivors ever focus on the reality of what happens to them throughout the rest of their lives. I suppose this is where the intrigue came in as I read the novel The Lost Family. To catch a glimpse of what it could have been like for some survivors as they navigate postwar life was eye-opening, to say the least. PTSD must’ve been all-encompassing for these victims, and it was certainly something that most people were vastly ill-informed about. So, from this perspective, Jenna Blum certainly wrote a unique novel.However, I struggled with the direction the novel took. While I understand that the author was dealing with some ugly truths, there was a rather disturbing section of this book, that truly gave me pause on continuing along. I struggled with her bringing this particular subject matter into the novel, as it felt a bit disconnected from the initial vein of the story. Though I cannot divulge the specifics for fear of revealing spoilers, I will say that it took a strong stomach to get through Elsbeth’s narration. In addition, Ms. Blum added several gratuitous sexual encounters throughout June's narration, that seemed counterintuitive from what she was trying to accomplish.On another note, I must admit that this story took some very unexpected turns! While I pride myself on being able to discern the outcome of a book, the plot was so devious, that there were several moments where I was left aghast.My favorite part of the novel was Peter’s story. I felt as though I came to know him best, and he became like an old friend, for whom I felt tremendous sympathy.The ending left me somewhat disappointed. It was wrapped up in the manner of an author trying to meet a deadline, and I was hoping for a much more satisfying conclusion. This is not to say that questions were left unanswered, but it just seemed a bit rushed.Many thanks to Harper Collins for gifting me with this book in exchange for an honest review.https://mamasgottaread.blogspot.com/
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  • Tina
    January 1, 1970
    I am honored to have been invited to the Lost Family Virtual Supper Club hosted at the Book Club Cookbook site.This is the first time I have participated with a virtual supper party and I’m thrilled to see some other food bloggers I know on the guest list.   Jenna Blum is a new author for me and I can say, after diving into this page-turner, I am now hungry for the menus included as well as Blum’s other publications.Jenna describes her book this way: "The Lost Family is a novel about a German-Je I am honored to have been invited to the Lost Family Virtual Supper Club hosted at the Book Club Cookbook site.This is the first time I have participated with a virtual supper party and I’m thrilled to see some other food bloggers I know on the guest list.   Jenna Blum is a new author for me and I can say, after diving into this page-turner, I am now hungry for the menus included as well as Blum’s other publications.Jenna describes her book this way: "The Lost Family is a novel about a German-Jewish Auschwitz survivor named Peter Rashkin, who emigrates to New York, starts a restaurant, and falls in love—only to find his new American family haunted by the wife and daughters he lost during the war."The story starts in the 1960’s and spans roughly 30 years. It’s about love, loss, understanding and forgiveness.  Peter Rashkin, the handsome owner and chef at Masha's restaurant is the star of the story.  He is a man haunted by his past, torn between the ghosts of his old family and his new family.  While the other story lines focus more on June and Elspeth's point of view Peter is indeed the main character. There is wonderful imagery in this novel, you feel like you are sitting in on the conversations.There are so many passages that feature food, drink and menus that I can’t list them all. Well, I could but then I may not post prior to this fabulous book being released on June 5, 2018 - so let me just say there is plenty of culinary inspiration.A cold gin martini with a few Queen olives will start me off here.  No recipe needed.I loved this particular passage:“In every time of trouble in his life, large or small, Peter had gravitated to the kitchen. During his childhood, in flight from his father’s bullying or his mother’s disdain, Peter had sought the large square room in the back of the house where Hilde let him stir soup, roll dough and - most excitingly, and provided he held the knife just as she showed him – chop vegetables. During his teens Peter’s sole act of rebellion had been to apply for a job as Adlon commis instead of clerking in the family law firm.” "Food is essentially the same. Julienning carrots or chiffonading basil was the same in Skokie or Berlin. A rutabaga was a rutabaga. Vegetables, meat and technique had no language. The kitchen, any kitchen, was Peter’s home.” (pp. 134-135)I thought about Peter as he chopped vegetables and herbs, as rolled dough to make bread, losing himself in the kitchen environment.  Relaxing and creating.  Personally I find making bread therapeutic.  I love the process of making bread, the slow kneading of the dough and creation of something  everyone loves to see gracing the table. Hot, fresh bread. Yes. ♥ A labor of love ♥ This book will be released on June 5, 2018. Many thanks for this advanced reader's copy!  Please check out what others have brought to the party.
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  • Ciska Bokhorst
    January 1, 1970
    Niet wat ik ervan verwachtte. De tweede wereld oorlog komt nauwelijks aan bod zelfs niet in flashbacks. Had geen klik met de hoofdpersonages. Het is eerder een familie roman met een behoorlijk getroubleerd gezin. Je leest eerst vanuit Peter, dan June en dan Elsbeth. Met verschillende tijdspanne. Dat vond ik niet echt fijn lezen.Haar schrijfstijl leest wel prettig en ze kan goed sfeer neer zetten. Maar helaas geen boek voor mij.....
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  • Michelegg
    January 1, 1970
    What an exquisite, tragic and ultimately beautiful read. Peter just reached in and grabbed my heart and didn’t let go.This is a story that will haunt me for a very long time.I highly recommend this book to lovers of historical fiction. The writing is gorgeous, the story is stunning and I loved it very much.
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  • Carol Boyer
    January 1, 1970
    This is an extraordinary story that will take your heart on a journey that is heartbreaking, deeply compassionate and told with authenticity about the tragedy that Peter Rashkin experienced during WWII. He lost his beloved wife Masha and his two little daughters to the Nazi's while trying desperately to escape with the rushing crowds. Trying to forget his loss he throws himself into his restaurant which he named after his wife Masha. He is a man driven and consumed by his work, frozen in his gri This is an extraordinary story that will take your heart on a journey that is heartbreaking, deeply compassionate and told with authenticity about the tragedy that Peter Rashkin experienced during WWII. He lost his beloved wife Masha and his two little daughters to the Nazi's while trying desperately to escape with the rushing crowds. Trying to forget his loss he throws himself into his restaurant which he named after his wife Masha. He is a man driven and consumed by his work, frozen in his grief, until one day he is undeniably drawn to a beautiful model June Bouquet. Although she is 20 years younger he can not help falling for her, but times are not easy when he tries to make a life with her thinking he can forget his past. June becomes pregnant unexpectedly and there is much drama around this event that is filled with sadness, hope and eventually their daughter Elsbeth is born bringing a whole new perspective to the family that Peter tried to believe would take away his unbearable grief. Events evolve bringing a sense of suspense as the author targets different decades with rich descriptive detail of Masha's delicious foods and recipes, and character development. Elsbeth story is sad, it develops into one that tells how this family is lost in so many ways and how bittersweet redemption is formed. I enjoyed receiving this book and look forward to reading more of Jenna Blum's work.
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  • Linda Zagon
    January 1, 1970
    Kudos to Jenna Blum , Author of “The Lost Family” for writing an amazing, intriguing, captivating, and poignant novel. The Genres for this novel are Fiction, Women’s Fiction, and touches on significant moments in history. Jenna writes in such a vivid and descriptive way, that is appeals to one’ s sense. In her scenes of the food in the restaurant, I feel that I am in the kitchen at one moment, and then sitting in the dining room sampling gourmet food and tasty desserts. The author portrays the p Kudos to Jenna Blum , Author of “The Lost Family” for writing an amazing, intriguing, captivating, and poignant novel. The Genres for this novel are Fiction, Women’s Fiction, and touches on significant moments in history. Jenna writes in such a vivid and descriptive way, that is appeals to one’ s sense. In her scenes of the food in the restaurant, I feel that I am in the kitchen at one moment, and then sitting in the dining room sampling gourmet food and tasty desserts. The author portrays the physical and emotional qualities of the characters as well.Jenna describes her colorful cast of characters as complex and complicated. This is a novel of loss and love, dysfunctional family members with problems and a difficult history. The timeline of the story is around 1965 and goes to the past and future, when it pertains to the characters and events. How is it possible to learn from the problems of the past in order to avoid problems in the present and the future?In 1965, many people go to Masha’s Restaurant for the ambience,the spectacular gourmet food, with special detail to servicing their guests. Peter Rashkin is the gourmet part owner and Chef. He has named this restaurant for his deceased wife, Masha who perished in a Nazi Concentration Camp while he survived the horrors of World War Two. Peter is very handsome, but has little interest in a longtime relationship, until he meets a model, June Bouquet. Will Peter be able to put his past behind him? Peter holds many dark secrets close to his heart, and can’t speak about them.I appreciate that Jenna tackles some very important issues, such as PTSD, and the horrors of World War Two, and Vietnam and the effects on the people and their families. The importance of family, love and emotional support are discussed as well as loss and love, acceptance, forgiveness and hope.The issue of food and lack of food is very symbolic. Lack of food during World War Two, and starving people, versus purposely starving oneself to stay thin, and mental disorders as bulimia, and anorexia are mentioned. There is also the gourmet food, cooking and preparation, as well as traditional holidays where food is the main focus.I loved everything Jenna Blum’s novel and highly recommend this to readers of Fiction. I enjoy novels that makes one think and reflect. I received an ARC for my honest review.
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  • Narci Drossos
    January 1, 1970
    I really cared about each and every character in this novel, and I can't say that about each novel I read. I genuinely found the persons in these interwoven stories engaging and interesting, along with their settings (country clubs, NYC museums/galleries, restaurants, suburbs). I recommend for bookclubs interested in chefs, eighties, eating disorders....excellent dialogue. Themes: holocaust survivors, survivors' guilt, eating disorders, angsty teens, artists with issues, foodies with issues.
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  • Sally Koslow
    January 1, 1970
    Jenna Blum has done it again: created a story whose characters feel achingly real. By switching viewpoints and time frames, she's crafted a "big" book spanning generations that you whip through quickly, because of its sharp dialogue and what's-next? quality. As both an upper midwesterner and a New Yorker, I appreciated the book's authenticity.
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  • Stacie
    January 1, 1970
    Heartache, even decades later, can still feel like it just happened yesterday. Even though Peter survived WWII and brutal treatment by the Nazis, his wife and twin toddler daughters did not. He came to America to start over and as much as he has tried, he hasn't been able to forget what happened to them. His cousin Sol and his wife Ruth have helped him start a new life and tried to convince him to move on. Instead, Peter disappears into his work. His restaurant, Masha's is a success, but every d Heartache, even decades later, can still feel like it just happened yesterday. Even though Peter survived WWII and brutal treatment by the Nazis, his wife and twin toddler daughters did not. He came to America to start over and as much as he has tried, he hasn't been able to forget what happened to them. His cousin Sol and his wife Ruth have helped him start a new life and tried to convince him to move on. Instead, Peter disappears into his work. His restaurant, Masha's is a success, but every dish is based on what he and his wife Masha dreamed about serving. So, even at work, he is reminded of his wife and daughters. Peter is quite handsome and his success has made him quite an eligible bachelor. But, he wants no part of that until a gorgeous model, June, enters his restaurant. At first, their relationship is flirtatious, but eventually, Peter realizes he does love her and they marry.June knows that she can never compete with the ghost of Masha and even though there is love, there is always a sadness that follows Peter. When their daughter, Elsbeth, grows, she too feels like she can't compete with her dead half-siblings or her mother's beauty. The sadness in this family overshadows the happiness and success Peter and June have had. There seems to always be a bitterness towards each other. Elsbeth senses the pain in the house and can't wait for cooking dates with her father when the two of them really connect and Peter seems to be more at ease.Blum is a talented writer and her research is meticulous. Her attention to detail and creative descriptions of the restaurant business, the 1960's - 1980's in New York City, June's visits back to the Midwest (even Cedar Rapids, Iowa gets a mention) and the modeling business made every page an adventure. The reader is immersed in New York City and the food described will make your mouth water. But, the sadness seeps across the pages and the novel gets to be a bit heavy at times. There isn't much joy or laughter on the pages. There is love, but unfortunately, it isn't shown in ways that most people expect.The story of this family is told in three parts over three decades. We first get Peter's story starting in 1965. Then it jumps ahead to 1975 for June's story. Some years are missing, but the reader gets the gist of what's been happening through flashbacks. Then Elsbeth is suddenly a teenager in 1985 and we learn about her struggles with her weight, her unhappy parents, and her dreams. Sadly, Elsbeth turns to destructive measures to fit in and feel loved. Your heart aches for her and you want to shake her parents to get them to see what's happening right in front of them.This story offers readers a new perspective on life after WWII and how the atrocities don't ever leave the memories of those who suffered. Their memories then affect the lives of those they are connected to and the ripple effect can be wide and far. Blum's handling of this sensitive story a man who survived WWII highlight the difficulties as well as the hope for a better future.Favorite quote:That was the trouble with June: she did have her moments,but she was like the sun coming out from the clouds on an overcast day;just when you were enjoying the warmth, she disappeared again,leaving you longing for what you didn't know you'd been missingand even colder than you'd been before.
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  • Carla Suto
    January 1, 1970
    THE LOST FAMILY by Jenna Blum is an engaging and emotional story of love, loss, despair and hope. It is told from three points of view, those of Peter Rashkin, his wife June Bouquet Rashkin and their daughter, Elsbeth. Peter survived Auschwitz, but his beloved first wife, Masha and their two young daughters tragically perished at the hands of the Nazis. He leaves Europe forever and begins a new life in New York, eventually becoming a well-known chef at an iconic restaurant he names after Masha. THE LOST FAMILY by Jenna Blum is an engaging and emotional story of love, loss, despair and hope. It is told from three points of view, those of Peter Rashkin, his wife June Bouquet Rashkin and their daughter, Elsbeth. Peter survived Auschwitz, but his beloved first wife, Masha and their two young daughters tragically perished at the hands of the Nazis. He leaves Europe forever and begins a new life in New York, eventually becoming a well-known chef at an iconic restaurant he names after Masha. Wracked with guilt over the loss of his family, he throws all his time and energy into the restaurant, leaving no room for emotional or romantic attachments. One evening, he meets the famous model June Bouquet at his restaurant and the two strike up an unlikely relationship. They soon marry and later have a daughter. The story follows each character as they wrestle with their complex feelings, aspirations and disappointments. Sadly, Peter can never let go of the trauma of the past and his grief overshadows his new family in ways they could never have expected. The author does a wonderful job of portraying the complex emotions of the characters. Her vivid descriptions of the New York scene in the 1960s to 1980s made me feel I was right there. I was especially drawn to the rich descriptions of the food and cooking that are central themes of the book. I enjoyed this well-written and thought-provoking novel of family and survival after tragedy and look forward to reading more by Jenna Blum.
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