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Extended Audio Sample Paper Love: Searching for the Girl My Grandfather Left Behind, by Sarah Wildman Click for printable size audiobook cover
0 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 5 0.00 (0 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Sarah Wildman Narrator: Tavia Gilber Publisher: Tantor Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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Years after her grandfather’s death, journalist Sarah Wildman stumbled upon a cache of his letters in a file labeled “Correspondence: Patients A–G.” What she found inside weren’t dry medical histories; instead what was written opened a path into the destroyed world that was her family’s prewar Vienna. One woman’s letters stood out: those from Valy—Valerie Scheftel, her grandfather’s lover who remained behind when he fled Europe six months after the Nazis annexed Austria.

Valy’s name wasn’t unknown to Wildman—she had once asked her grandmother about a dark-haired young woman whose images she found in an old photo album. “She was your grandfather’s true love,” her grandmother said at the time and refused to answer any other questions. But with the help of the letters, Wildman started to piece together Valy’s story. They revealed a woman desperate to escape and clinging to the memory of a love that defined her years of freedom.

In the course of discovering Valy’s ultimate fate, Wildman was forced to reexamine the story of her grandfather’s triumphant escape and how this history fit within her own life. In the process, she rescues a life seemingly lost to history.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Wildman’s intimate and mesmerizing biography blends her family history into the larger framework of World War II and the Holocaust.”

    Publishers Weekly

  • “Wildman’s personal investment in this Holocaust-era narrative heightens the tension and raises the emotional stakes as her investigation unfolds.”


  • “A poignant and humane memoir.”

    Kirkus Reviews

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About the Author

Sarah Wildman has reported across Europe and the Middle East for the New York Times, Slate, and the New Yorker, among other publications. She received the Peter R. Weitz Prize from the German Marshall Fund of the United States “for excellence and originality in reporting on Europe and the transatlantic relationship,” for the series in Slate where Paper Love originated. Wildman lives in Washington, DC.