by Pam Jenoff
Genres: Historical Fiction
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
Make THE ORPHAN’S TALE by Pam Jenoff your next one-click. Grab your favorite comfort food (truffles), maybe a glass of wine and travel to WWII as we join the traveling circus train. I love fictional novels set against the backdrop of WWII. These stories inspired by historical events and people often showcase the heroes, and survivalist during the darkest of times.
The story told from two female perspectives is a powerful one. The first is Noa, a sixteen-year-old girl, who is kicked out of her home when her father discovers she has is expecting. We travel with Noa, weep when she is forced to give her baby away and work cleaning the railroad station. When a boxcar containing hundreds of Jewish infants stops on its way to the concentration camp, she spies a young baby who reminds her of the child she lost. Panicked, she snatches the baby and hides from the Nazi’s before flees into the woods. The weather is brutal, and both are poorly dressed.
Astrid is a Jewish trapeze artist who spent her life on the circus train, traveling from city to city to perform. When she married, she thought she had escaped that life, but the war soon has her separating from the man she loves and seeking safety in the only place she truly knows.
When Noa and the tiny baby are given refuge from the circus, she must work to earn their keep. Astrid is assigned to teach Noa the trapeze. Slowly though trust and confessions they build a powerful bond that readers will connect with. I soon found myself swept up in circus life, the dangers surrounding them and the risks they take.
THE ORPHAN’S TALE was well researched historically, and while Jenoff certainly took liberties, the circus train and its role during WWII is very real. This lent an authenticity to the story, shedding light on their role during the war. Her characters, the circus, the towns, checkpoints and more all carefully depicted the period. She shed light on the risks people took to help others, and the desperation Jews faced. Readers cannot help but become emotionally invested in these characters, to have their hearts race during inspections and to fear the worst. I held my breath, wiped tears and questioned again the why’s and how’s of this dark period.
The ending was both heartbreaking and rewarding. Jenoff’choice of setting for the ending and the way in which she tied up loose ends worked brilliantly.
THE ORPHAN’s TALE was a compelling story whose characters will stay with you long after the story has ended, I recommend this to everyone, young and old.The Orphan's Tale by Pam Jenoff delivered a powerful story of friends amidst WWII #mustread Click To Tweet
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