Lenka, an aspiring artist, and Josef, a medical student, met in Prague on the eve of WWII. Both young people were Jewish; despite the looming threat from Hitler and the Nazis, they quickly fell in love and decided to get married. Lenka hoped that the marriage would not only be a happy one, but would provide a way out of the country for her parents and younger sister.
As was the case with many families at the time, the newlyweds were separated mere days after their hasty marriage ceremony. Lenka believed that Josef perished onboard a ship bound for the United States, and Josef received the news that Lenka was sent to a gas chamber upon her arrival in Auschwitz.
Unbeknownst to each other, both Lenka and Josef survived, married other people are re-built their lives. Well into their eighties, they attend a rehearsal dinner for their grandchildren (Josef's grandson is marrying Lenka's granddaughter) and find what they've been looking for all these years - each other.
The Lost Wife by Alison Richman is the book I've been wishing for while trying to get through the so-so novels. Although the prologue made it pretty clear that Josef and Lenka would eventually reunite - and hence I did not shy away from revealing this fact in the review - the story of their initial meeting, courtship and subsequent years apart had me glued to the pages.