Monday, January 23, 2017

The Orphan's Tale by Pam Jenoff

A special thank you to NetGalley and Harlequin Canada MIRA for an ARC in exchange for an honest review. 

The story opens with a 90-year-old woman visiting a museum exhibit that transports her back in time to war-torn Europe in 1944.  

After becoming pregnant by a Nazi solder at sixteen, Noa is forced to give up her baby and shunned by her family. She lives above a rail station that she cleans in order to earn her keep. A boxcar with dozens of Jewish infants stops at her station en route to its final destination, a concentration camp. Noa, in a moment of weakness and thinking of the child she lost, grabs one of the babies and flees into the snowy night.  

Astrid is a Jewish wife of a German officer that has been forced to divorce her. She has no papers and has lost the whereabouts of her family. Having grown up in the circus, she is able to fall back on her professional aerialist training and joins a German circus that will keep her secret. Noa is rescued by a member of the same travelling circus that provided refuge for Astrid fourteen months earlier. In order to blend in, Noa must learn to be part of the flying trapeze act. The head aerialist, Astrid, is her teacher and mentor after finding herself demoted to catching the aerialist. The two women are thrown together—rivals at first, Noa and Astrid form an unlikely pairing and an unbreakable bond.

Described as Water for Elephants meets The Nightingale, I was hesitant to request this book because both titles are so unforgettable. I had nothing to worry about—Jenoff’s writing is superb! She deftly segues between voices/perspectives and time. 

Her relationships and struggles are believable with the exception of Not and Luc. I found their connection happened so quickly and as a result, Noa was impulsive. I did want Luc to be more a little more developed like the other characters. Because he was not, this made Noa’s attraction to him seem a bit contrived.

This book is a solid 4 stars for me and I would absolutely recommend it.

PAM JENOFF is a New York Times bestselling author of several novels including The Kommandant's Girl, which received widespread acclaim, earned her a nomination for the Quill Awards and became an international bestseller. 

She previously served as a Foreign Service Officer for the U.S. State Department in Europe, as the Special Assistant to the Secretary of the Army at the Pentagon and as a practicing attorney.  

Jenoff received her juris doctor from the University of Pennsylvania, her masters degree in history from Cambridge University and her bachelors degree in international affairs from The George Washington University. 

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

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