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About The Author:

"Writing has always been an essential part of my life. I first discovered a passion for the written word when I was in the seventh grade. Mrs. Williams (shout-out to amazing teachers everywhere!) assigned our class a daily journal, and after a few “Dear Diary” entries, I decided to try my hand at writing a short story. This sparked a flood of creativity and excitement for me. The words just seemed to flow! From that moment on, I was hooked. Putting pen to paper was also a cathartic experience during those tumultuous teen years, helping me deal with the adolescent emotions I was feeling at the time. Over the years, I've written everything from science fiction and fantasy to historical fiction to romance, yet writing about my family and my personal experiences is what I enjoy most. And I am never without a cup of coffee or my little dog Kugel when I sit down to write!"

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 and,, 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, an online literary journal written for women by women (now available in its entirety on

She also works as Assistant Editor for The American Israelite, the oldest Jewish newspaper in the United States, covering local, national, and international stories. Her award-winning novel What She Lost is inspired by her grandmother’s life as a Holocaust survivor. Her latest novel, Eight Wishes, is a holiday romance that unfolds over the eight nights of Hanukkah.  When not at her computer, Melissa loves spending family time with her husband and two beautiful daughters, and she is never without a cup of coffee in her hands!


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I'm always looking for new and exciting opportunities to connect. I am available for the following:

  • Book Signings

  • Film Discussions

  • Book Clubs

  • School and Library Engagements

  • Speaker's Bureaus

  • Holocaust and Humanity Center Tours.

Feel free to contact me with any questions or to arrange a speaking engagement.
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"A poignant story, it details the horrors of the Holocaust, the unimaginable pain, suffering, and fear in the Jewish ghettos, and the cruelty that people suffered at the hands of the Nazis. It is a page-turner that will keep you reading to the very end, and one that will stay with you even after you read the last page. It's thought-provoking and a remarkable tale of survival against the odds, a story that elicits every emotion you can think of. The characters' stories will resonate with you in a haunting, moving, beautifully told tale that, if nothing else, should teach us all that this kind of horror should never be allowed to happen again."



                                      FEATURED WORK: WHAT SHE LOST (CYNREN PRESS)                             

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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

What She Lost

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

Generation to Generation

Find more information about the documentary series here.


Find my blog page here.

Teachers and educators

Find out more about opportunities to have me speak to your students here.

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