Author: Pam Jenoff
Title: The Orphan’s Tale
Genre: Historial Fiction
Theme: Love, friendship, war
Noa is thrown out of her house at just 16, after she becomes pregnant out of wedlock. After her baby boy is taken from her, she finds herself working at a train station for next to nothing.
Astrid is a Jewish circus performer who got her ticket out by marrying a German officer. When the order comes through for German men to divorce their Jewish wives, she is cast-out, left with no home.
Noa and Astrid both find refuge at one of the only circuses still open, and the bonds that tie them together are simply too strong to break. Nothing will prepare them, however, for the nightmares of war and their past, making it too dangerous for them to continue performing.
Will they be able to make it to the next town safely? What should happen if they need to make a quick getaway – will they be able to survive until they can get help? These are the questions that drive the whole novel until its final pages.
I received this book as an ARC at an event from HarperCollins Canada. This in no way influences my opinion.
I honestly wasn’t expecting too much from “The Orphan’s Tale.” I was expecting a nice, easy read to occupy me through Reading Week (because who wants to do homework, right?) Instead, I got more than what I could bargain for. I got a well-written, intriguing book that had me feeling all sorts of feels. Pam Jenoff effortlessly interweaved the two very different lives of Noa and Astrid into one, and she’s created this world perfectly – I honestly felt like I was in the middle of war, and I found that I wanted to escape into Pam’s world just to absorb every detail and feeling.
As some of you may already know, I LOVE when a book switches to a different POV in each chapter, and “The Orphan’s Tale” did just that! It was perfect. And it’s strange, because usually I feel like I want to know more about one character, so I’ll rush through the chapters that don’t feature them; but I took my time with this book. I was genuinely interested in what both Noa and Astrid were thinking about and experiencing, so that was a very nice surprise. Right from the start I definitely loved Astrid more and found myself connecting to her story, but as Noa evolves and becomes her own, independent girl, I also grew to love her story and what she stands for.
As someone who hasn’t read Pam Jenoff before, or read historical fiction in general, I was very happy (and surprised) by how much I was able to connect to the characters. This book definitely isn’t easy to read because of the dark content and very sad situations, so I can only imagine how hard it must have been for Pam to write this and share this story with us. I’m really happy she did, and I can’t wait to read more.
Personal Opinion: 5/5. I honestly couldn’t think of anything to critique this book on! It is so similar to the feeling I get whenever I reread “My Sister’s Keeper.”
Technical Opinion: 5/5. The setting, the characters, the emotional times…everything speaks to what must have been going through the minds of those who were living during the time of World War II.