Every Friday for the last 25 years of her life, I had lunch with Charlotte and each week she told me more of her extraordinary story.

To all appearances, she was a strong and dignified survivor, with old-world courtesies, a twinkling sense of humor and a lilting Austrian syntax. Yet deep within, she’d been scarred by a profound personal trauma.

Finally, just before she died at the age of 91, she chose to entrust me with this dark secret and all at once I understood how it had affected her entire adult life.

This is not just the true story of a remarkable woman and our extraordinary friendship but also an epic saga set against the backdrop of history.

Author’s note

This memoir was something I just had to do.

I must admit that my passion for writing is generally more predisposed towards fiction but after such an unusual friendship spanning a quarter century, I felt I not only had to set it all down but that I had to do so accurately. Every word had to reflect the spirit, the experience and the extraordinary life of Charlotte herself. 

Every aspect is just as she related it to me, yet it wasn’t an easy project. Charlotte told me her anecdotes haphazardly over a quarter century, a piece here, a fragment there, sometimes repeating herself, sometimes going back to correct herself. That’s why I asked one of the curators at the Montreal Holocaust Center, Julie Guinard, to check the first draft to see if it all made sense and it was her feedback that encouraged me to finish it up. 

In addition to writing, it was also a great honor to narrate the audio book and I’m indebted to my longtime friend, Serge Laforest, and his team at Audio Z in Montreal for their enthusiasm and patience.

It's a real pleasure to read such a well-written story. I like the way the story alternates between the past and the meetings with Charlotte. It gives me a good idea of Charlotte as a person and not only as a character in a book. It also gives the text a real energy. I find that the description of the ‘moods' of the different eras is well conveyed and I'm impressed by the descriptions of life in Vienna and in London. It does not feel invented but real.”

Julie Guinard, Montreal Holocaust Memorial Centre

“I was truly touched by it. Thanks for bringing her story to life.”

Marie-Claude Ducas, Info-Presse

“I was moved by Mrs. Urban’s ability to adapt to every situation thrown her way. Her life was not easy and continued to be a challenge. I shed tears at the end, my heart going out to the woman who merely wanted to find a place of belonging. With so much taken from her, Charlotte persevered. Lunch with Charlotte is an inspiring tale and very well worth a read.”

Heather Osborne, Readers’ Favorite

“Kudos for a biography that, at its conclusion, left it hard to return to the more mundane aspects of ordinary life. That is powerful testimony to the emotions of Charlotte’s story.” 

Roger Radford, former foreign correspondent, Reuters.

“Lunch with Charlotte is one of the most powerful and moving books I’ve ever read. Tragedy, loss, heartache... and through it all, dignity and courage. This is a tale not to be missed. Fantastic!”

Jason Kristopher, author of “Dying of the Light.”

Over 400 5-Star reader reviews Amazon / Goodreads

"Well-written and lovingly told."

“Very touching.”

"I laughed and shed tears, felt outraged and happy."

"I enjoyed this book tremendously."

"I cried through most of it, with periods of happiness and hope."

"This book had me on an emotional roller-coaster."

"This is a wonderful book… a heritage of mankind."

"I really felt that I knew Charlotte… A definite read!"

"A valuable as well as a riveting narrative."

"I would recommend this to anyone.”

“A great read and very moving.”

“Emotionally packed, I went from laughing to crying to amazed.”

More praise for Lunch With Charlotte - click here


Grey Gecko Press, U.S.

Audio book producer

Audio Z, Canada


Hard cover, paperback or Kindle ebook, click on: / / / barnes&noble / grey gecko press

Audio book, narrated by the author, click on: / / iTunes / barnes&noble / grey gecko press

First chapter FREE

Read the first chapter courtesy of the publisher, click here.

Photo: Serge Laforest

The author with Charlotte

at age 85.

Amazon #1 bestseller / Over 50,000 sold / Winner, Kindle Indie Awards / Winner, Independent Authors’ Network Awards / 5-Star Readers’ Favorite / Venture ‘Book of the Moment’

The true saga of an extraordinary woman, set against the backdrop of history

New 2nd edition with photo archive