Historical Fiction

Book Review – The Orphan Collector by Ellen Marie Wiseman #20booksofsummer20 #netgalley @KensingtonBooks

Book Details
Genre: Historical Fiction
Series: None
Publisher: Kensington
Publication Date: 7/28/2020
Pages: 399 (eBook)

Goodreads Synopsis –

In the fall of 1918, thirteen-year-old German immigrant Pia Lange longs to be far from Philadelphia’s overcrowded streets and slums, and from the anti-German sentiment that compelled her father to enlist in the U.S. Army, hoping to prove his loyalty. But an even more urgent threat has arrived. Spanish influenza is spreading through the city. Soon, dead and dying are everywhere. With no food at home, Pia must venture out in search of supplies, leaving her infant twin brothers alone . Since her baby died days ago, Bernice Groves has been lost in grief and bitterness. If doctors hadn’t been so busy tending to hordes of immigrants, perhaps they could have saved her son. When Bernice sees Pia leaving her tenement across the way, she is buoyed by a shocking, life-altering decision that leads her on a sinister mission: to transform the city’s orphans and immigrant children into what she feels are “true Americans.” As Pia navigates the city’s somber neighborhoods, she cannot know that her brothers won’t be home when she returns. And it will be a long and arduous journey to learn what happened—even as Bernice plots to keep the truth hidden at any cost. Only with persistence, and the courage to face her own shame and fear, will Pia put the pieces together and find the strength to risk everything to see justice at last.

My Opinion –

This book had me completely immersed from start to finish! It is captivating, heartbreaking, and eye-opening.

This story takes place in Philadelphia in 1918 during the Spanish Flu. As you can imagine this setting hits a little too close to home at the moment. While the book opens with the flu as the main focus, before long it does get pushed more into the background of the story, rather than front and center.

First of all I found this book to be very interesting to learn how they handled the flu. Like we did, they closed everything up and told everyone to stay home and if you are out to wear a face mask. Some of the odder pieces of advice were to wear garlic or camphor balls in cheese cloths around your neck. Can you imagine the smell? There were a number of medicine suggestions, one of which was to take a little bit of kerosene. Yikes!

There was also a really good mystery element to this story. I am going to be a bit vague here because I do not want to spoil the story. Let’s just say that Bernice Groves AKA Nurse Wallis is a horrible person! I could not believe the way she would insert herself into the lives of innocent people because of her prejudices. What she did was unthinkable and incredibly sad.

This is a book that will stay with me for quite some time for many reasons. If you love historical fiction I strongly encourage you to give this book a try!

*Thank you Kensington for the opportunity to read and review this book via NetGalley for my honest opinion.

*Book 11/20 in the 20 Books of Summer reading challenge.

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15 thoughts on “Book Review – The Orphan Collector by Ellen Marie Wiseman #20booksofsummer20 #netgalley @KensingtonBooks

  1. I have this on my TBR, but had forgotten about it. Thanks for the reminder and with your great review, I will try and get to it soon. I especially like how it ties in with what is happening now.


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