Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Monthly Library Read- The Orphan's Tale by Pam Jenoff

Pam Jenoff is another of my favorite authors she specializes in WWII era novels. Her road to authordom came as a result of her time spent working on Holocaust preservation while working for the State Department at the U.S. Consulate in Krakow developing close relations with Jewish survivors.
The Orphan's Tale was a runaway bestseller and spent 5 weeks on the NYT bestseller list.

We had a lively discussion and Pam called in to make it even more special.
I personally listened to the audible version which I luckily picked up as a daily deal for a steal.


Publisher: Harlequin Audio
Release Date: 2-21-2017
Length: 12hours-52 minutes
Source: Audible purchast
Buy It: Audible/Kobo

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.

Listen to a sample

My Review:

The Orphan’s Tale
Pam Jenoff

Jenoff’s The Orphan’s Tale, set in 1940’s occupied Europe is a poignant and realistic reminder of just how dangerous the times were during Hitler’s reign of terror and not just for Jews. Unbelievably the Nazis permitted certain gentile owned circuses to roam across the continent during WWII allowing for them to become perfect underground railroads hiding and transporting Jews and sympathizers under the radar of the SS. It’s also about family, friendships and special relationships like that of Astrid and Noa and the author uses both of their voices to tell her heartbreaking tale. The story begins with a cryptic prologue alighting the curiosity of readers from the very start. Then with a powerful narrative this incredible storyteller brings to the forefront the absolute terror this monstrous regime inflicted but also highlights the color and beauty of the circus and its rag tag cast of performers and workers. The characters are amazing each and every one and both Astrid and Noa stand out just as intended imprinting themselves on the hearts and souls of the audience and leaving an impression that will last long after “The End”. Fans of WWII fiction, historical fiction and literary fiction will love this story, just be sure to keep the tissue box close!

On a personal note: I have read each and every novel this amazing author has written but this novel is a stand out for me because of the intense realities of the war I experienced and the impassioned emotion I felt while reading it. These types of stories are so important now that there are so few left who were part of this unimaginable time. And kudos to people like Pam who keep it alive in our hearts!

Narration: 5
The dual narration of
Jennifer Wydra and Kyla Garcia is exceptional giving the audience a fuller appreciation of the surroundings and happenings that reading it just couldn’t do. The accents and emotions were flawless flinging listeners back to a time most of us didn’t experience first hand but that none of us should ever forget!

Her name isn’t really Astrid Sorrell, she was once part of an internationally renowned circus family and flew from the trapeze. Then she grew up and married a German officer until the Reich forbade them being married to Jews. Now she once again flies from the trapeze having been taken in by her family’s circus rival given a job, a home and hope and a feat of teaching an urchin who has no apparent talent how to fly. How is she supposed to do all this when she’s in constant fear of being discovered?
Noa Weil was thrown out of her home when her parents learned she was impregnated by a German solider, she found refuge in a Lebensborn unwed mother’s home then tossed out when the baby was born. One night while working at a train depot she hears a pitiful cry and rescues a baby she assumes to be Jewish from certain death. With nowhere to hide she takes him and runs – right to the Neuhoff Circus where she and the child are rescued, given an home and a job working on the trapeze but its obvious her trainer, a fabulous flyer can’t stand her.
Herr Neuhoff once presided over a Circus of world renown now he has a rag-tag group of performers, but these refugees need him just as much as he needs them. He knows he’s taking a huge chance traveling through occupied Europe with people the Reich would just as soon crunch under their boots than look at but he’s determined to make a difference however he can.

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Meet Pam:

Pam Jenoff was born in Maryland and raised outside Philadelphia. She attended George Washington University in Washington, D.C., and Cambridge University in England. Upon receiving her master’s in history from Cambridge, she accepted an appointment as Special Assistant to the Secretary of the Army. The position provided a unique opportunity to witness and participate in operations at the most senior levels of government, including helping the families of the Pan Am Flight 103 victims secure their memorial at Arlington National Cemetery, observing recovery efforts at the site of the Oklahoma City bombing and attending ceremonies to commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of World War II at sites such as Bastogne and Corregidor.
Following her work at the Pentagon, Pam moved to the State Department. In 1996 she was assigned to the U.S. Consulate in Krakow, Poland. It was during this period that Pam developed her expertise in Polish-Jewish relations and the Holocaust. Working on matters such as preservation of Auschwitz and the restitution of Jewish property in Poland, Pam developed close relations with the surviving Jewish community.
Pam left the Foreign Service in 1998 to attend law school and graduated from the University of Pennsylvania. She worked for several years as a labor and employment attorney both at a firm and in-house in Philadelphia and now teaches law school at Rutgers.
Pam is the author of The Kommandant's Girl, which was an international bestseller and nominated for a Quill award, as well as The Winter Guest, The Diplomat's Wife, The Ambassador’s Daughter, Almost Home, A Hidden Affair and The Things We Cherished. She also authored a short story in the anthology Grand Central: Original Postwar Stories of Love and Reunion. She lives outside Philadelphia with her husband and three children.

Pam's books




  1. Never read her...I was sure I had

    1. hmmm, well this is a good one to get started Blodeuedd

  2. I listened to this one on audiobook too and agree it was amazing and the tissues were certainly needed. Difficult but excellent.

  3. That sounds like an emotional book. Sounds really good though.

  4. This sounds like a really deep book, and I enjoy novels from that era. What an amazing job to have,and to have the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of so many people. I definitely plan to pick this one up! Hugs...RO

  5. I really enjoyed this when I read it. Wonderful review Debbie.

  6. Hers always sound well done. I need to give her a try. Lovely covers, too.