The Lost Family: A Novel

The Lost Family: A Novel

by Jenna Blum


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The Lost Family is an extraordinary read, the kind of book that makes you sob and smile, the kind that gives you hope…. It is compassionate, masterful and disturbingly contemporary."—Tatiana de Rosnay, bestselling author of Sarah’s Key

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 1980s.

In 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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780062742162
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 06/05/2018
Pages: 432
Sales rank: 304,227
Product dimensions: 6.20(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.50(d)

About the Author

Jenna Blum is the New York Times and number one international bestselling author of the novels Those Who Save Us and The Stormchasers. She was also voted one of the favorite contemporary women writers by readers. Jenna is based in Boston, where she earned her MA from Boston University and has taught fiction and novel workshops for Grub Street Writers for twenty years. For more about Jenna, please visit

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The Lost Family: A Novel 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 5 reviews.
gaele More than 1 year ago
Several years ago there was a huge movement to find ‘untold stories’, most from veterans of World War II. Often what was missed is the generation of men and women who didn’t share stories of the hard times (mine included), and that lost knowledge and family history can, and does resonate down through the generations that follow, often in ways unexpected. Such is the story of Peter Rashkin. He’s buried (from the public) his tragic past and losses, with his popular restaurant Masha, named for the wife he lost. Not only a wife, but family and his own sense of how life could be as he is a survivor of Auschwitz. Now, clutching those secrets tightly, and trying to function through the guilt that breathes through his every day, Peter is not enchanted by or believing the hype and adoration. A single, apparently straight and eligible, successful male is bound to attract notice. Enter June, a model and some twenty years younger than Peter. He’s never been interested in any of the people who enter his restaurant, but she is different. Feeling he’s been mired in his own grief long enough – it’s time to move forward and June may just be the light that will remove the darkness he clutches to close. Soon she’s pregnant and they marry, Peter doing his best to keep the darkness at bay, with limited success. It’s important that he keep those long-buried memories of family and days past in the past, the grief only serving to tinge and remove him from the little family unit. Told in three perspectives, the effects of Peter’s grief and secrets are clearly written in the reactions of his wife and daughter. While his wife can’t compete with the ‘ghosts’ of his past, his daughter never quite understood her father’s remove, or her mother’s way of coping with his sadness. While I could understand Peter’s perspective, and felt horrible for it, there was an essential remove for me to the other characters, as Peter’s grief was so overpowering and commanded every moment. A bit uneven, but shows the need to understand, share and come to terms with the ghosts of our past – ALL of us. I received an eArc copy of the title from the publisher via Edelweiss for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.
Anonymous 9 months ago
I want to know she lost her famele for
PegGlover More than 1 year ago
The Lost Family is a bittersweet tale about love, loss, loneliness, and betrayal. Peter Rashkin couldn’t forgive himself for making the mistake that ended up costing his wife and their three-year-old twin daughters their lives. He didn’t believe the ugly rumors about the Nazi’s, in time. When they started to carry out their atrocities against the Jewish, Peter knew that he should have moved his family sooner. He survived the death camps; his wife and children didn’t. Peter Raskin had no interest in getting remarried. But, when June informed him that she was carrying his child, he married her. June felt as if she was constantly competing against the family he lost. Being married to Peter wasn’t easy. He spent long hours at work and was obsessed with his restaurant. June was lonely. She didn’t want to cheat on her husband. It just happened, and once it started, she couldn’t seem to stop herself. She knew that her husband loved her, in his own way, but just not enough to let her fully into his heart. This is an emotional and heart-wrenching novel. Peter’s guilt and sadness not only overshadowed everything in his life; it also tore his family apart. The Lost Family is a poignant story well told. Thank you, HarperCollins Publishing and Edelweiss, for my advanced review copy.
crystallyn More than 1 year ago
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.
teachlz More than 1 year ago
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. 1 like