Touted as a combination of Water for Elephants and The Nightingale, Pam Jenoff ultimately has created a story about choosing a path and finding refuge in the family you make in
The Orphan’s Tale
Noa is a seventeen year old Dutch girl in the midst of occupation. But when she begins to show signs of her pregnancy by a German soldier, her parents force her out of the house, unwilling to bear her shame. Giving the child up for adoption, and needing to find shelter and support, Noa takes a job as a cleaner at a train station.
One night, she investigates a car on a train – and finds it laden with infants some barely surviving. The Germans are transporting the children further up the line to a concentration camp. But, Noa, stil mourning the loss of her own child steals a baby and heads off into the unknown.
One choice can change your life, and Noa’s choices have changed her inexorably. Leaving in the cold and snow with the stolen infant could have been the end of Noa’s story, but she is found by a traveling circus performer and brought to safety. With an odd collection of misfit performers, Noa must learn to perform on the trapeze if she is to remain safe within the circus, and to do that she must earn the help of Ingrid under the tutelage of Astrid. For Ingrid is also hiding in plain sight as a Jew in the circus,
What emerges is a tense and often harrowing read, beset on by German Soldiers, shortages of food, weather difficulties and a general watchfulness and mistrust from locals, this band of performers have formed bonds that will be tested repeatedly. The circus and the many personalities that make the show work become their own character in the story, dangers of performing never underplayed while the stress of the ever-mobile life weighs on everyone involved. With a support system that she has made through luck and much hard work, the growth of the relationship between Noa and Ingrid is clear and from tentative allies the two soon are friends, then almost sisterly in their concern and care for one another. Secrets can tear failies and bonds apart – but rather emblematic of the time, the secrets held by the players in this story are what bonds them together. A wonderful read that will demand careful consideration as the descriptions are vivid, the emotions viscerally present, and the tension palpable from the start.
Title: The Orphan's Tale
Author: Pam Jenoff
Genre: Family Saga, Historic Elements, Historical Fiction, Literary Fiction /Historical Setting, Multi-Cultural, World War II
Published by: Harlequin MIRA
Published on: 21 February 2017
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Audio Length: 10 Hours: 45 minutes
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The Nightingale meets Water for Elephants in this powerful novel of friendship and sacrifice, set in a traveling circus during World War II, by international bestselling author Pam Jenoff.
Seventeen-year-old Noa has been cast out in disgrace after becoming pregnant by a Nazi soldier during the occupation of her native Holland. Heartbroken over the loss of the baby she was forced to give up for adoption, she lives above a small German rail station, which she cleans in order to earn her keep.
When Noa discovers a boxcar containing dozens of Jewish infants, unknown children ripped from their parents and headed for a concentration camp, she is reminded of the baby that was taken from her. In a moment that will change the course of her life, she steals one of the babies and flees into the snowy night, where she is rescued by a German circus.
The circus owner offers to teach Noa the flying trapeze act so she can blend in undetected, spurning the resentment of the lead aerialist, Astrid. At first rivals, Noa and Astrid soon forge a powerful bond. But as the facade that protects them proves increasingly tenuous, Noa and Astrid must decide whether their unlikely friendship is enough to save one another—or if the secrets that burn between them will destroy everything.
A copy of this title was provided via Publisher via NetGalley for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.
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