top of page
The Lost Wife Alyson Richman
#1 International Bestseller

Trade Paperback: 352 pages

Publisher: Berkley  (September 6, 2011)

ISBN-10: 9780425244135

ISBN-13: 978-0425244135

Also available in hardcover.



Josef Kohn is a successful New York obstetrician who still dreams of his first wife, Lenka, an art student he left behind in Czechoslovakia while fleeing the Nazis.  Lenka, who he believes died during the war, continues to haunt his dreams, while his second wife, Amalia, remains more of a ghost to him than is Lenka.  As we follow Lenka’s journey to the ghetto of Terezin, where she is forced to draft technical drawings for the Germans and is a witness to the secret paintings of an underground group of artists involved in their own form of resistance against their captors, we see not only the endurance of the human spirit, but also of the artist, whose desire to create and document, cannot be extinguished.  From the glamorous ease of pre-war Prague, to the ensuing horror of Nazi Europe, we witness both the dawning of Lenka’s and Josef’s love affair to its tragic unraveling.  Each character must forge their own path for survival and each must struggle to adapt to post-war America, while their secrets, their past, and the ghost of their first marriage, are known only to them.  The Lost Wife is a story that explores the depth — the power — of first love, the resilience of the human spirit, and our capacity to remember.




I've read pretty broadly on the Holocaust--both fiction and non-fiction--and to me, The Lost Wife is one of the best. The horrors of war serve as a backdrop to a love affair that spans a lifetime, and that love story stayed with me long after I put down the book.

— Lauren Weisberger, New York Times bestselling author of Devil Wears Prada


"Richman, once again finds inspiration in art, adding evocative details to a swiftly moving plot. Her descent into the horrors of the Holocaust, lends enormous power to Lenka's experience and makes her reunion with Josef all the more poignant."

— Publishers Weekly


"Tragedy and hope, love and loss, and the strength to endure are examined through Richman's graceful writing and powerful characters."

— Booklist


"Staggeringly evocative, romantic, heart-rending, sensual and beautifully written, Alyson Richman's The Lost Wife may well be the Sophie's Choice of this generation."

New York Times bestselling author, John Lescroart


"Daringly constructed, this moving novel begins at the end and then, a fully-realized circle through the most traumatic event of the 20th century, returns you there in a way that makes your heart leap. Richman writes with the clarity and softness of freshly-fallen snow."

— Emmy winning playwright, Loring Mandel


"Begins with a chilling revelation and had me hooked throughout. A love story wrapped in tragedy and survival, I read The Lost Wife in one sitting. Tense, emotional and fulfilling: a great achievement by Alyson Richman."

— Martin Fletcher, Special Correspondent NBC News, Winner of the Jewish National Book Award


"The Lost Wife is a luminous, heartbreaking novel. I was barely able to put it down and can't stop thinking about it. Not only is the writing exquisite but I have seldom seen such skill in sweeping a reader back and forth over sixty years until the journey of Josef and Lenka, both such brave and beautiful people, becomes one glorious circle of the triumph of love over evil."

— Stephanie Cowell, author of Claude & Camille and Marrying Mozart


Photo: Prague, Charles Bridge, photographed by Svein-Magne Tunli


bottom of page