Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Review: "The Orphan's Tale" by Pam Jenoff

From Goodreads: 

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 Thoughts:  I love Pam Jenoff's books.  They're so good and The Orphan's Tale is no exception.  I really enjoyed this story.  I've read a lot of books set in World War II and I thought that this was really unique and made for an interesting story.
All of the characters in this story were fascinating and very well-developed.  Noa and Astrid were so complex and they each grew so much throughout the story.  I found the discussion of Astrid's first marriage to be interesting and something that I haven't seen in a work of fiction before.  I loved Noa; despite everything that had happened to her, she retained the naivete of a young girl.  It got her in trouble a bit but I liked that she wasn't portrayed as being 'old' for her age.

I'm not usually that into the circus but I loved the circus setting in this book.  Everyone seemed so much like a family and each performer had their own little eccentricities and story.  I really enjoyed reading about how Noa was trained to perform on the trapeze and the kinds of tricks Astrid had perfected.

I don't know if it was intentional or not but I felt like the author conveyed a kind of urgency throughout the story.  It was almost like you knew from the beginning that time was going to run out for these people and big and scary changes were coming.  I think that urgency definitely sucked me in.  The ending was a huge surprise to me! I didn't expect it all but I think it worked really well.  There was one loose end that I know couldn't have really been tied up but I still kind of wondered about it.  

Overall, this was a great book and I would definitely recommend it to anyone who enjoys reading about this period in history. 4 stars.

I received this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

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