Jillian Cantor’s ‘The Lost Letter’ is ‘Historical Fiction at its Best’

Author Jillian Cantor truly knows how to draw a reader in, as she did with The Lost Letter…I could not put down this beautifully written book! At the end of every chapter my heart was pounding in anticipation. The Lost Letter is two compelling stories artfully woven together and destined to intertwine at the end. The first takes place in the late 1930s Austria, and is about the Fabers, a Jewish family. The father is an engraver and he has a young, non Jewish apprentice, Kristoff, living with them to learn the trade. Kristoff becomes smitten with the older daughter, Elena, a bit of a rebel, who is secretly learning to engrave stamps in the night. When the war reaches their small town, the Fabers are in danger and Elena along with Kristoff become part of the Austrian resistance, using stamps to communicate right under the noses of the Nazis. The desperation of making it through this horrible time and the hopefulness of love are palpable as the characters secretly help others escape while biding their time.

In late 1980s Los Angeles, a philatelist (stamp collector) is battling dementia and is living in an Alzheimer’s memory unit. His daughter, Katie, is going through a divorce, sorting through her dad’s belongings and is getting his stamp collection appraised with the hope of finding a hidden gem. An unusual stamp is found on an unopened letter which leads her on a quest for answers. This fascinating journey takes Kate back to the 1930s Austria as she learns about the war, Austrian resistance and her father’s past.

The Lost Letter is historical fiction at its best: dual storylines, wonderful relationships, information about use of the stamp during wartime, paired with incredible storytelling by author Jillian Cantor makes this one of my favorite books this year!


Jillian Cantor holds a BA in English from Penn State University and an MFA from the University of Arizona. Her award-winning novels compel adults and teens alike, including The Hours Count and Margot (a Library Reads pick). Currently, she is living in Arizona with her husband and two sons.



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