So honored that CBS MoneyWatch expert Larry Swedroe has listed “The Lost Wife” as one of his favorite reads of 2012.
Listen to Alyson Richman, best-selling author on Patricia Raskin Positive Living on Saturday October 13th 3:30-4:00PM ET on Rhode Island’s 630WPRO AM & 99.7 FM. Listeners can call in to the show at (401) 438-W-P-R-O (401-438-9776) or toll free at 1 (800) 321-W-P-R-O (1-800-321-9776) and listen live on 630wpro.com.
So many people have asked me if “The Last Van Gogh” is out of print. It’s not! It’s been reissued with a beautiful new cover.
…a little Q&A with me on “The Lost Wife.”
Author of “The Lost Wife,” a historical novel that centers on the Jewish artists who were imprisoned in Terezin, and the love story of one of them that persists for more than 65 years.
The amazing story of Terezin has for some time been a well-known chapter in Holocaust history. The Nazis turned the former Austro-Hungarian garrison town in Czechoslovakia into a “model” ghetto for Jews in order to fool the world about their genocidal plans. Because of the educated backgrounds of so many of the prisoners, and the relative autonomy the Nazis gave to Terezin’s Jews, the town had a remarkably rich cultural life, and children especially were given the opportunity to participate in art, theater and music programs. But only some 17,000 of the 140,000 Jews who passed through Terezin survived the war most ended their lives in the gas chambers of Auschwitz.
New York Times best-selling author, John Lescroart, interviewing Alyson Richman on her new book “The Lost Wife.”
Lescroart: Say a few words about your extraordinary Prologue to this book and how it initiated the creative process of the novel.
I had been hoping to write a novel where I could explore an artist’s experience during WWII and the Holocaust. So I started to do research about how certain real life artists were still able to create, even under these horrific and dangerous circumstances. But I didn’t know how I was going to frame the novel. Then one day I was getting my hair cut at a local salon, and I overheard the stylist next to me telling a story he had recently heard from another client. It was about a woman who had recently attended a wedding where the bride’s grandmother and the groom’s grandfather had not met previously. At the rehearsal dinner the night before, the groom’s grandfather insisted he knew the bride’s grandmother “from somewhere.” At the end of the evening, still convinced that he recognized her (despite her denials), he asked her to roll up her sleeve. There the six-number tattoo from Auschwitz was inked into her skin. He looked at her again, this time more closely. Studying her face one more time, he said: “You were my wife.”
When I heard that story, I knew I had the beginning of my novel! I would begin and end it at the wedding scene, but invent this couple’s journey in between: how they fell in love in romantic pre-war Prague, but then became separated as the Germans invaded, and later how they each begin new lives in America. I made Lenka — the “lost wife” of the book’s title — a young art student at the beginning of the war, so I could weave in my historical research about various artists who had survived Terezin and Auschwitz by using their artistic skills. It was my hope that my readers would learn and appreciate the history of these artists, while also becoming swept away into Josef and Lenka’s love story that I created.