Wednesday, May 2, 2018

"The Orphan's Tale"
by Pam Jenoff
May 3, 2018


WWII, the Nazis...and a traveling circus! Quite a combination and a recipe sure to arouse curiosity and did for me! THE ORPHAN'S TALE is a powerful novel of friendship, bravery and loyalty set in a 1940's moving circus in Germany and France.  
I found the circus theme very informative and fascinating. I enjoyed the characters and the setting was very real! I could smell the animal scented hay and see the tent poles being pulled up to hold the giant big top. The sequins, the trapeze artists' leotards, the elephants, lions and tiger as well as the littered floor of the Big Top all helped to focus the imagery. 
After having read so many books with WWII as a background, I enjoyed discovering a completely different wartime perspective, where circus owners and performers took major risks hiding Jews within their acts and in the backstage staff, knowing they could be searched and found out at any random checkpoint along their travels.
THE ORPHAN'S TALE follows two women... flying trapeze artists... who each had something serious to lose during this time of violence and persecution. Their roles within the circus provided them a place of safety and solace, but they were both willing to sacrifice everything for each other and for the one little orphaned Jewish baby boy whom they both grew to love. To be clear, this is a story about the two women and not the orphaned baby (although the baby is definitely an ever- present character,) so the book's title is a bit misleading. Not to worry, though...the story did come full circle in the end! 
The author, Pam Jenoff, tells THE ORPHAN'S TALE in praise of the traveling circuses that persevered despite hunger, poverty and war. They provided refreshment for the body and soul in spite of the extreme oppression and the horror surrounding them and the communities they entertained...and the performers' death-defying feats offered the kind of adrenaline rush that created wide-mouth smiles instead of fear.
After finishing a novel like this and reading The Author's Note, it seems to make the book even better to know that the story was inspired by real people and events.
LOVED this book and definitely recommend it!

Until soon...thanks for stopping by.
Big Hugs,

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