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Book Review: "One Person's Loss"

by Ann S. Epstein

While on vacation, I blew through Ann S. Epstein’s latest historical novel, “One Person’s Loss.” She does a fabulous job conveying both the immigrant experience of those fleeing Germany, but also how they must have been tormented by survivor’s guilt.

Read my review below or on Goodreads.


Just when I thought I’d read every angle about the brutality and loss experienced by so many in WW II, Ann S. Epstein’s “One Person’s Loss” shines a new light on the repercussions of that conflict.

During Hitler’s rise to power, Jewish newlyweds Erich and Petra are sent by their parents from Germany to Brooklyn. The families give the couple one directive, to have children, so if the rumors about Hitler’s malicious actions toward Jews escalates, at least some of the family will survive.

But as the news in Europe grows darker, and Petra lobbies harder to have a baby, the forces of world events begin to push the couple apart. When Petra finally has a son, Erich can’t bring himself to get close to the child out of worry for his family in Germany, who send fewer and more desperate messages about deteriorating conditions. Erich can’t help but feel shameful he’s living a good life when people he loves are living in horror.

The author does a wonderful job of depicting survivor’s guilt and the damage it can inflict on the most important relationships we have in life. Realistic and heartbreaking, this story helps connect us to pressures that can forever dim our happiness.


For updates about Martha’s forthcoming memoir, “Bliss Road” (June 2023), historical novel, “The Falcon, the Wolf and the Hummingbird” (October 2023), or other books, news and giveaways, subscribe to her website.

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