Thursday, March 9, 2017

Review: The Orphan's Tale by Pam Jenoff

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.

A powerful novel of friendship set in a traveling circus during World War II, The Orphan's Tale introduces two extraordinary women and their harrowing stories of sacrifice and survival .

 Sixteen-year-old Noa has been cast out in disgrace after becoming pregnant by a Nazi soldier and being forced to give up her baby. She lives above a small rail station, which she cleans in order to earn her keep… When Noa discovers a boxcar containing dozens of Jewish infants bound for a concentration camp, she is reminded of the child that was taken from her. And in a moment that will change the course of her life, she snatches one of the babies and flees into the snowy night.

 Noa finds refuge with a German circus, but she must learn 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 friendship is enough to save one another—or if the secrets that burn between them will destroy everything.

Paperback, 368 pages 
Published February 21st 2017 by Mira

While I love reading HF with a WW 2 setting there are times I look for something new and out of the ordinary.  With The Orphan's Tale taking place within a circus it fits the bill for something different, in fact I didn't even know this was taking place while the war was going on.  Promising the likes of The Nightingale, which was an absolute favorite of mine I jumped.

Astrid and Noa are two characters with completely different personalities and backgrounds.  Each with baggage they are unwilling to share, during this time period it is better not to reveal too much anyways.  What I enjoyed here was watching the friendship between these two develop.  It wasn't all rosy to begin with, but as time goes by they are ultimately forced to confide and trust each other.

While I struggled at times to connect with Noa, I found her to be immature and while she speaks of her love and devotion to Theo I didn't always feel it.  But then again she is only 16 years old working with Astrid who is older and wiser to the dangers of the war.  While there is romance here it was nice that it wasn't center stage but rather The Orphan's Tale was a story of survival, friendship and realizing that you are stronger than you think.

I was first introduced to Pam Jenoff with her novel. The Last Summer at Chelsea Beach and really enjoyed it.  The amount of research she does is evident within the pages and her writing is engaging.  I liked how she takes an unknown part of history and brings it front and center.  The author's notes at the end highlight her passion and motives for writing this book, a fitting conclusion in my eyes.

Thank you to TLC Tours for an advanced copy (via Netgalley) and invite to be part of this tour.

Pam Jenoff is the author of several novels, including the international bestseller The Kommandant’s Girl, which also earned her a Quill Award nomination.

Pam lives with her husband and three children near Philadelphia where, in addition to writing, she teaches law school.

Connect with Pam

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  1. It was something different. I never knew about this.

    I love Ms. Jenoff's books...I ALWAYS learn something after reading her books.

    Thanks for a wonderful review.