The Lost Daughter (The Love and War Series)

Written by R. P. G. Colley
Review by Anne Leighton

Twenty-first-century Britain finds Elizabeth Swingle in a very grim place: an unhappy marriage, a difficult daughter, and caring for a mother struggling in the throes of dementia. When Elizabeth’s mother begins speaking German, she realizes that it is more than a sad trick of that dementia. Rather it is a key to her mother’s Nazi past and her participation in the infamous “Lebensborn” program, an attempt to produce pure Aryan children. And when Elizabeth discovers an old card marked with a cryptic “50” and German writing, she knows she needs to find out more about her own mysterious past. When she goes to Germany, Elizabeth is met with a wall of silence. Her search will lead her to truths about both her mother and herself.

Colley has a deft hand for creating a story that is impossible to put down. The plot moves seamlessly from 2001 Britain, back to the immediate post war period, and then to 1943 Nazi Germany. He creates characters that are inadvertently flawed yet highly sympathetic. He introduces the reader to the horrors of Nazi Germany but also to a love story as moving as it is remarkable. He creates a sense of pathos but also hope in human frailty. This book is highly recommended.