Historical Fiction

Book Review – Orphan’s Tale by Pam Jenoff

Goodreads Synopsis:

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.

My Opinion:

Orphan’s Tale by Pam Jenoff is about friendship. An unlikely friendship between a Dutch girl and a Jewish woman, during WWII, at a German family owned circus.

Noa is a 16 year old girl from Holland and was kicked out of her parents’ home after getting pregnant by a Nazi soldier. She seeks refuge in a home for girls and is forced to give up her baby and leaves shortly afterwards. She finds work and is living in a train station when she sees a railroad car full of abandoned babies. Thinking of her own baby she has lost, she takes one and is on the run from the authorities.

Astrid is in her late 30’s, Jewish, and has fallen in love with and married a German officer. She decides it’s time to leave the family circus and move to Berlin with her new husband. They were very happy until the day he came home from work and told her he wanted a divorce – German officers with Jewish wives could no longer be married. Not knowing what else to do she returned home to find her family no longer living there. Having no other place to go, she seeks refuge with Herr Neuhoff, her family’s circus rival. He accepts her with open arms and gives her work once again as an aerialist in his circus.

Noa is found in the woods and brought to Herr Neuhoff where he offers her work and shelter if she will train to become an aerialist. Astrid has six weeks to train her before the circus hits the road and she’s not too happy about it.

I enjoyed this book and found the friendship between Astrid and Noa inspiring. The two form an unbreakable friendship during a time of so much hate in the world. Neither their age difference nor where they came from make any difference. They confide in each other, share secrets that no one else knows, and will do anything to protect each other.

Rating: 4/5

Genre: Historical Fiction

Series: None

Publisher: Mira

Publication Date: 2/21/2017

Pages: 368 (ebook)

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Happy Reading!

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