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The Orphan's Tale by Pam Jenoff

The Orphan's Tale

by Pam Jenoff

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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5304727,086 (4.04)20



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Showing 1-5 of 47 (next | show all)
This one was so good! I didn't want it to end. I will be looking for more from this author. ( )
  TeresaChristensen | May 8, 2018 |
If Noa and/or Astrid start to get annoying to you, hold out ... it's so worth it!

Adrianne ( )
  Adrianne_p | Apr 23, 2018 |
AMAZING!!! I'm so glad my book club chose this because I would not have bumped it up on my TBR otherwise. This had everything I love. WWII, the circus, angst, love, heartbreak, happiness... you name it. By far the best book I have read so far this year. Jenoff captured me and didn't let go. I will be thinking about this one for a while. 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟 for sure. ( )
  karenvg3 | Mar 19, 2018 |
I think NPR said it best: "Christina Baker Kline's ‘Orphan Train’ has collided with the circus caravan from Sara Gruen's ‘Water for Elephants,’ and out of wreck has come Pam Jenoff's ‘The Orphan's Tale.’ The novel is a magical carnival saga, a bit grittier than either of its antecedents, and with more at stake...Jenoff has written a tribute to the human spirit that soars in the midst of epic despair."

And I ask you, “How could I pass this up?” In short, I didn’t. I quickly moved this one up to the top of my TBR pile and dug right in.

We start with a prologue where an elderly woman makes her way into a new exhibit on European circuses. Based on the dust jacket, I know that it’s either Noa or Astrid. By the time I reached the prologue’s end, I was hooked. Then the story moves back in time to Germany, 1944.

When Noa is sixteen, she is kicked out of her parents’ home when she discovers she is pregnant by a German officer. While we only see her after she has given up her baby, we see that she has lost none of that innocence that got her in the family way. Noa is cleaning a train station and lives in a closet. One night, a train pulls in. Thinking she hears a baby crying, Noa inspects the boxcars and finds a horrific sight. One of the cars’ floor is covered with babies, none more than two years old. Most are dead, frozen, but she pulls one out.

Taking the child, she runs away in the middle of a blizzard. She is found by Astrid and is taken in. Astrid is one of Europe’s leading aerialists, but with a war raging, she is not with her family circus. Instead, she is with her neighbor’s family circus.

The Neuhoff Circus needs another aerialist, so Noa must take to the trapeze to earn her place in these strangers who become family. The young women become close. Almost as if they were sisters, watching out for each other. Noa kept the baby she stole and named him Theo. One of the major hurdles that they face, is that Astrid is Jewish.

The story is the tale of the circus and its people. I loved reading about how Astrid trained Noa and circus life in the 1940s. The book ends with an epilogue that gives complete closure to all the supporting characters. It was nice to learn their fate.

The story did get sluggish in the bottom part of the first third. I wanted to give The Orphan’s Tale receives 6 stars, but that blip caused me to award 5 out of 5 stars in Julie’s world. ( )
  juliecracchiolo | Mar 6, 2018 |
notes for myself: listened on audio book. was glad they had two women to help separate the two maiin characters. the ending a little drawn out but otherwise really liked story. ( )
  dawnlopez29 | Feb 21, 2018 |
Showing 1-5 of 47 (next | show all)
This is the heartbreaking tale and breathtaking story of 17 year old Noa, who is living in Holland during the Nazi occupation and is ostracized by her after becoming pregnant by a soldier...Noa is a vivid character who shows the true type of of inner strength such horrendous events inspired in real people. .......her writing is much of a gift as her public service.
added by vancouverdeb | editThe Globe and Mail (Canada) ( press reader)
Hounded by the Nazi menace, the Circus Neuhoff travels to a refuge in occupied France. Both Noa and Astrid find men whom they love and whom they must struggle to save. Through the darkness of war, the circus lights twinkle on, the circus family lives and loves and laughs, all while beautiful athletes fly high above the crowd. It may seem a bit too neat and Hallmarkian to some, but Jenoff has written a tribute to the human spirit that soars in the midst of epic despair.

» Add other authors (2 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Pam Jenoffprimary authorall editionscalculated
Garcia, KylaNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Wydra, JenniferNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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For my family.
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Prologue --Paris------- They will be looking for me by now.
Noa --Germany, 1944-------The sound comes low like the buzzing of the bees that once chased Papa across the farm and caused him to spend a week swathed in bandages.
Never assume that you know the mind of another.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0778319814, Paperback)

The Nightingale meets Water for Elephants in this powerful novel of friendship and sacrifice, set in a traveling circus during World War II, by international bestselling author Pam Jenoff. 

Seventeen-year-old Noa has been cast out in disgrace after becoming pregnant by a Nazi soldier during the occupation of her native Holland. Heartbroken over the loss of the baby she was forced to give up for adoption, she lives above a small German rail station, which she cleans in order to earn her keep.  

When Noa discovers a boxcar containing dozens of Jewish infants, unknown children ripped from their parents and headed for a concentration camp, she is reminded of the baby that was taken from her. In a moment that will change the course of her life, she steals one of the babies and flees into the snowy night, where she is rescued by a German circus. 

The circus owner offers to teach Noa 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 unlikely friendship is enough to save one another—or if the secrets that burn between them will destroy everything.

(retrieved from Amazon Fri, 27 May 2016 22:34:24 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

Sixteen-year-old Noa, forced to give up her baby fathered by a Nazi soldier, snatches a child from a boxcar containing Jewish infants bound for a concentration camp and takes refuge with a traveling circus, where Astrid, a Jewish aerialist, becomes her mentor.… (more)

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