Book Review: The Orphan*s Tale by Pam Jenoff

Title:  The Orphan's Tale
Authors: Pam Jenoff
Publisher: MIRA
Release Date:  February 21, 2017 
Genre: Historical Fiction

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. 

If there ever was a World War II novel that engages your emotions, The Orphan's Tale by Pam Jenoff is among the select few. The reality of life as a Jew or even a German soldier during this tumultuous time in Eastern Europe is disheartening and hardening. The author penned a story of unlikely friendships and mutual trust mixed with uncertainty that was beautifully crafted with distinct points of views, and characterizations. I was surprised by my continued interest page after page, especially when I'm not the biggest fan of both main characters, but it was so well written, I needed to know the answers, their history and their continued story.  Both Noa and Astrid are phenomenal characters, with depth and grit that you can't help but be enthralled by. 

The author's craft in presenting the story the way she did, readers can read and sense all the historical research that went into The Orphan's Tale. Not only the history of the war, the cultural tension and the heritage of one's identity, but also the lives of performers, namely in a circus. And that ending. How shall I put it? I can't put it in words, but I will tell you, this is a story that you'll want to go back and reread, and see if you've missed anything. That is because The Orphan's Tale isn't just taken from one perspective, but it can revolve.  I didn't expect that ending, nor did I expect that last detail - an answer that may be too late for some, but it's an answer. When I go back and read it, will I see more to it?  A poignant tale of life, love and who we are. Be prepare to let your heart, your mind and your tears be absorb by this tale. 

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the author/publisher. I was not required to write a positive review, and have not been compensated for this. This is my honest opinion.

For my review policy, please see my Disclosure page.



Photo by Mindy-Schwartz-Sorasky

Pam Jenoff is the author of several novels, including the international bestseller The Kommandant's Girl, which also earned her a Quill Award nomination. Pam lives with her husband and three children near Philadelphia where, in addition to writing, she teaches law school.

TO CONNECT WITH THE AUTHOR:  Website | Facebook | Goodreads | Twitter

Check out the full tour schedule for more information! Click on the image below to take you there.




  1. excellent review! Echoes my own feelings too!

    1. =) Thanks, my friend. I think we need to talk about combining our reviews!! ahhahah

  2. Beautiful review for a wonderful book.

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

    I LOVED the book.


    1. Thank you, Elizabeth!! This was a FABULOUS book. Days after, and I'm still thinking about it!!

    2. I did the same thing. Stuck with me.

  3. I've read a lot of WWII era books and I generally enjoy them. This book seems like something quite special though.

    Thanks for being a part of the tour!


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