Friday, September 15, 2017

The orphan's Tale- a book review

The Orphan's TaleThe Orphan's Tale by Pam Jenoff

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This was a good story, sometimes as dark and disturbing as life under the influence of the Third Reich would have been and it was enriched by the convergence of several personal recoveries from hurt and tragedy.

We read the book alternating two first person voices and this device was the cause of some frustration for me. I found the dialogue a bit clunky, mixed as it was with personal thoughts and feelings and I fear that there was insufficient contrast between the two voices to allow me to identify with each narrator as we changed chapters.

For me the strongest prose and the most convincing revelation of character was in the epilogue. In this a single voice ties the whole story together from the recollection of a much older person. This final chapter helped overcome some of my negative feelings.

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The blurb on Goodreads:

A powerful novel of friendship set in a traveling circus during World War II, The Orphan's Tale introduces two extraordinary women and their harrowing stories of sacrifice and survival.

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.

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