Book Buzz: The Lost Letter

Every artifact has a story behind it, be it a stone jug from the Prehistoric Age or the mummified remains as the last vestiges of the lost city of Pompeii. The study of antiquities can be left to archeologists, but curiosity can inspire all of us to muse about the lives that were touched by the relic that has survived.

In Jillian Cantor’s achingly beautiful new novel The Lost Letter, it is a unique engraved stamp from World War II Austria that prompts a quest for answers.

Book Buzz: The Lost LetterThe Lost Letter

The action shifts from the late 1980s in Los Angeles to the late 1930s in Austria.

Katie is a freelance writer whose life has come undone. Her father is suffering from dementia and has moved into a nursing home. His care has required her full-time attention, and in the midst of this crisis her husband decides to leave her. She puts her emotions on hold while she devotes herself to her father’s care as he drifts in and out of senility.

Katie attempts to simplify his life by sorting through his belongings. An avid philatelist (stamp collector) his entire life, her father has left his cherished collection to her but she has no interest in keeping it. She locates a local stamp appraiser and makes an appointment to see him. Could there be something of value there? Or is the collection simply another thing for her to dispose of?

The appraiser contacts her in a few days. He has found an unusual stamp, one he has never seen before, on an unopened letter in the collection. Who was the recipient, and why was the letter never delivered? He wants to research this further and has Katie’s consent.

However, in a lucid moment, Katie’s father is apoplectic when she tells him she has given the collection away, but he can’t verbalize exactly why.

The story shifts to the earlier time, just as World War II is spreading across Europe. Austria has just been occupied by Germany, and the plight of Jewish families becomes extremely grim. Frederick Faber is a renowned stamp engraver with a family and a beautiful home, but as the Nazis move closer to his town destroying everything in its path, the family prepares to flee. Faber’s apprentice Kristoff, an artist struggling to learn the fine craft of stamp engraving, is not Jewish and therefore not in imminent danger. Deeply devoted to the family, he promises Faber to take care of the home and business.

Before he flees, Faber is instrumental in forging the resistance to the Nazis through his craft and responsible for evacuating many Jews to safety.

As the tension grows, the intertwining of both stories culminates in a stunning conclusion.

The Lost Letter is a story of resilience,  love, and triumph. Cantor is a historical fiction writer extraordinaire, her characters seem real and relatable, and the dual timeline works seamlessly as the two threads ultimately converge. The intertwining of both stories connects a time of persecution to a future in which survivors have prevailed.

The Lost Letter is receiving critical praise, including being named as Amazon’s Best Book of the Month.  It would go on my Best of the Year as well.

And now I am off to look through my husband’s stamp collection.

One of my lucky readers will receive a copy of The Lost Letter. Please leave a comment below and a winner will be randomly selected. USA addresses only, please.


I received a copy of The Lost Letter from Riverhead Books for an honest review,
which is the only kind of review I write.

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31 Thoughts on “Book Buzz: The Lost Letter

  1. robin rue on June 19, 2017 at 11:03 am said:

    That sounds like a great beach read! I can’t wait to get a copy!

  2. Oh this sounds good. I have been off 20th century novels for about 6 months so now I can go back to WWII stories that I do enjoy. It is not easy to wind two threads of story lines, back and forth in time lines, well, so I am pleased that you thought this seamless!

  3. Sounds like a good book. This book would have been great for when my mother in law was suffering from dementia

  4. The Lost Letter sounds like an interesting book to read. I had never heard of this author before this post.

  5. Sounds perfect for book club!

  6. Sounds like a good read! And good timing – I’m looking for a new book!

  7. Sounds like a wonderful read! I wanna get my hands on this book.

  8. Wow such a captivating story line. This is the kind of book that I would really enjoy!

  9. This book looks like something I would love and is definitely going on my list of must reads.

  10. This sounds like such a wonderful read, the storyline sounds like it would draw you right in and keep you turning the pages to the end. I’ve added this to my reading list!

  11. Blair villanueva on June 20, 2017 at 3:21 am said:

    I am currently looking for another book to read because I just finished to read one Sophie Kinsella book. Thanks for this recommendation.

  12. Lani Wharton on June 20, 2017 at 5:52 am said:

    I’ve also inherited items from family in which I have little interest but little knowledge as well. Deciding what to do with them is a daunting responsibility.

    I find the premise for this book
    intriguing and I crave novels set in the WW2 time period. People did brave and terrible things.

    I’d love to read The Lost Letter.

  13. Jason on June 20, 2017 at 7:13 am said:

    Looks like there is a good suspense as well as tension in the story. Just ticks all the fields in he list of my good reads. Can’t wait to know more. Thankyou for sharing

  14. Claudia Krusch on June 20, 2017 at 9:32 am said:

    These are the kind of books I love. I will have to get a copy to read on my vacation.

  15. You recommend it as one of the best book of the year? I have to get this on kindle right now! I just pinned it so I don’t forget. Sounds extraordinary!

  16. I love it, especially when there’s a bit of history in the story. I think it’s definitely a book that I’ll enjoy reading. It sounds so exciting!

  17. This story sounds like I could connect to the main character quite easily. Sounds like her and I share similar struggles.

  18. The book sounds interesting. If it has an e-book, I would definitely have it. It’s a breath of fresh air from those futuristic books I have been reading.

  19. This looks like a really awesome read! I enjoy historical things in real life and in fiction, too!

  20. My wife would enjoy reading this. I will have to tell her about it. Great review!

  21. Adaleta on June 21, 2017 at 10:57 pm said:

    I just heard about this book and it is right on my list of books to read!!

  22. This book sounds really good! I’m looking for new books for my trip to Hawaii, AND my mother in law loves reading so I’ll tell her about this!

  23. Sounds like a really good book! Definitely one I am going to have to check out! Thanks for the great tip!

  24. Blair villanueva on July 2, 2017 at 2:23 am said:

    This book is interesting. I wonder who got the letter, what’s written on it and for whom. I will check this book.

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