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About Me

Melissa W. Hunter, author of What She Lost and other works, is a writer and blogger from Cincinnati, Ohio. She studied creative writing and journalism at the University of Cincinnati, receiving a BA in English literature and a minor in Judaic studies. She was awarded the English Department’s Undergraduate Essay Award and Undergraduate Fiction Award over two consecutive years. In her senior year, she received a grant to study and write about the Holocaust at the United States Holocaust Museum in Washington, DC. Her articles have been published on Kveller.com and LiteraryMama.com, Booksbywomen.org, and her short stories have appeared in the Jewish Literary Journal. She is a contributing blogger to the Today Show parenting community, and her novella Through a Mirror Clear was published as a serial installment on TheSame.blog, an online literary journal written for women by women (now available in its entirety on Amazon.com). Her novel What She Lost is inspired by her grandmother’s life as a Holocaust survivor. She works as a freelance writer and blogs about the writing process and motherhood.  When not at her computer, Melissa loves spending family time with her husband and two beautiful daughters.

 

From the Author: "Writing has always been an essential part of my life. I discovered my passion for writing when I was in the seventh grade. As a class assignment, we were told to keep a daily journal. After a few “Dear Diary” entries, I decided to try my hand at a story idea that had been brewing in the back of my mind. Putting pen to paper was a cathartic experience, helping me deal with the adolescent emotions I was feeling at the time. The words just seemed to flow! From that moment on, I was hooked." 

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WHAT SHE LOST

For thirteen-year-old Sarah Waldman, life in the small Polish town of Olkusz is idyllic, grounded in her loving, close-knit family and the traditions of their Jewish faith.  But in 1939, as the Nazis come to power, a storm is gathering—a relentless, unforgiving storm that will sweep Sarah and her family into the atrocities of the Holocaust, tearing them apart.

Will Sarah’s strong will and determination be enough for her to survive when everything she loves is taken from her?  Is it possible to resurrect a life—and find love—from the ruins?  Or will Sarah be forever haunted

by the memories of what she lost?


Part memoir, part fiction, What She Lost is the reimagined true-life story of the author’s grandmother growing into a woman amid the anguish of the Holocaust. It is a tale of resilience, of rebuilding a life, and of rediscovering love.

Watch the Interview 

"One afternoon nearly 20 years ago, I sat down with my grandmother and a video camera and recorded her story.  Here is a clip from the interview on which I based my novel. See more on my WHAT SHE LOST page."  

What Amazon readers have to say:

"Beautifully written, haunting and hopeful.

The beautifully written book captured me from the very beginning.  Haunting & hopeful at the same time.  I've never read a novel about these horrific times that explored the aftermath of the camps being liberated.  The 'rescue' so often ends the story.  But, (Hunter's) exploration of survival and moving forward after the camps was gut wrenching and moving.  I highly recommend this author and novel.  I can't wait to read more from Melissa W. Hunter!"

"Great story of love and perseverance!

This book kept my attention and was a great read!  It does a great job of showing the trying time period without being too horrific.  If you enjoyed The Nightingale or Lilac Girls, you will love this!"

"Captivating & sensitive, new voice for the world to hear so we never forget.

A captivating story about a Jewish girl coming of age in the midst of the Holocaust.  Beautifully and sensitively written in a way that makes the horrifying stories an easy, although certainly not a light read.  I was so wrapped up in the characters and Hunter's writing that my first tears were shed before page 25.  Based on the real life experiences of the author's grandmother, she brings honor to her family's legacy and brings  a new voice for the world to hear (so) we must never forget."

"Couldn't put it down!!"

Featured on Goodreads:

"How can a character be more real than when based on a real person?  Even real women can be told as one-planed and stereotypical, but fortunately for us, we get to experience Sarah's life through someone who saw the humanity and the growing girl beneath the overarching horrors of the Holocaust.  Hunter's retelling of her grandmother's story isn't just about growing up or the Holocaust, but understanding the incredible capacities of humankind - for compassion, strength, and survival as well as cruelty, cowardice, and complacency, as seen through the eyes of an incredible woman."

- Break the Bechdel with Strong Female Characters Syndicate Selection

Other reviews:

"She Lost and Gained.

An engrossing complex version of the plight of the Jewish community and the horrific lives they lived while in concentration camps. I have read mamny accounts of these horrors and this one was especially poignant."

- Five star review by Joyce Brown on Rakuten Kobo

"What She Lost by Melissa Hunter was a totally absorbing read. I love the way it went beyond and further than most Holocaust novels do to shed light on how survivors coped after their liberation. I would highly recommend this book!"

-Five star review by Cincy reader on Barnes and Noble

SHOP:

What She Lost

Find more information about my award-winning debut novel here.

generation to generation

Find more information about the documentary series here.

Read More >

Published works

Find a complete list of my published works here.

educators

Teachers and educators, learn more about my services and how I can collaborate with your students here.