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I enjoyed this book. The characters of Noa and Atrid were well developed and I thought the author did an excellent job of building the relationship between the two. The earlier relationships between Astrid and her first husband and between Noa and her father were fairly sketchy but I was fine with that as these relationships were important to the story but did not need to be fully developed to have bring their importance to the main story. The same goes for the hard work involved in Noa learning to become an aerialist. The important part was the building relationship between Astrid as teacher and Noa as student through this exercise. I was really worried about how this book would end but was ultimately satisfied with the ending as it applied to all of the major characters.
Jenoff explores hidden bits of World War II through the eyes of two women who end up in an unlikely place. Noa, a 17-year-old Dutch girl, finds herself in Germany when her family kicks her out for becoming pregnant by a German soldier. Astrid finds herself back in Darmstadt when her SS husband divorces her for being Jewish. When both are taken in by the Neuhoff Circus, their paths collide. Told through alternating viewpoints, their fates intertwine until a fatal accident separates them forever. Jenoff uses deft characterization and rapid plotting to illustrate how war changes lives forever. This book is the January 2020 selection for the Willa Cather Book Club.
I did not enjoy reading it. I felt like the author could have used certain character elements to build suspense, and create character depth but instead used long, over-detailed sentences. I did not make it past the first chapter.
Although I found some parts of the book drawn out, it was interesting to learn of the life in the circus during war-torn Europe. Several of these family-owned circuses harbored serval Jews, several of them whose lives were saved. The main character, Ingrid (a.k.a. Astrid) and her friend Noa, develop a complicated and yet deep relationship. In fact, the orphan Theo is not the main character. The story is about the two women who save him. The ending is unexpected and does not reveal itself until the end of the novel. Quick read.
Good, fast read but not as good as the Lost Girls of Paris, read that one first
A poorly-written story that seems to have been written only to swing along on the popularity of "Orphan Train" (a similar cover and title, and I would hope, a much better book) and the popularity of World War II stories in general, with a nod to the circus backdrop of the also-popular "Water For Elephants".
There's barely any mention of the particular orphan in this story; it seems more like a heartwarming and handy lure to have an orphan kicking around, just to get people to read the story.
The last few pages are a comically desperate attempt to wrap everything up.
I did enjoy a different aspect of this time in history with the circus acts, the rough life and how they hid Jewish people among them. It was a nice read, but the story somehow never really grabbed me.
overall very good. At one stage, devolved into romance novel intentions, but overall a good story
Despite the tragedies in this story, it is told with absolute truth . We must never forget history lest we repeat it.
Did not like this at all. Guess in these scary times, stories happier, and lighter, are much more welcome.
The story is a tale of survival, friendship and building trust by two women whose livelihoods are as arialists in a travelling circus in Vichy France during WWII. Both women from disparate
backgrounds are united by having been rejected by people they most loved in the world,
and their tenuous attempts to survive. Despite these backgrounds, they learn that the only way they can ultimately survive is to trust and rely on each other.
I really loved this book. It was an easy read and page turner. It is about 2 women working in a circus in the middle of World War II and the sacrifices they make for each other. I highly recommend!
Enjoyable reading mostly of the lives of two women during WW2 and the hardships they overcame. The understanding of the title doesn't come until the end. This is another view of some unforgotten people who survived or died during this war time. Easy read in large print.
Babies given up and stolen. Circus performers who are best friends and bitter rivals. And Nazis.
A captivating tale about two souls, with different pasts and struggles, who must join together to overcome their internal and external problems. I am absolutely blown away by this beauty; it really reached down and squeezed my heart at the end. I really don't know how to put it into words, but this book was "good for the soul." It really opened up the world of those living during the harsh world of World War II, and I truly hope it blows up and gets more recognition. (Additionally, I liked what the author did with the prologue and epilogue, as it gave the reader closure but also a spark of mystery). 5/5 stars
- @Siri of The Hamilton Public Library's Teen Review Board
Seems like I'm reading a lot of books these days about young women being forced to give up their babies -- this one, The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane, and The Aquariums of Pyongyang. Also, several unlikely "joining the circus" books. This was an engaging book written by a most accomplished woman. Her bio states that she's written numerous books, is a lawyer, and mother of three. Sheesh.
The Orphan's Tale is about a young woman, Noa, who got pregnant by her Nazi boyfriend. She was cast out by her family and forced to give up her baby. When she heard babies' cries coming from a train car, and realized they were bound for extermination, she took one and claimed it as her brother. She was taken in by a traveling circus under the condition that she become a part of their act; she was to become an aerialist, i.e., a flying trapeze artist. Pretty far-fetched, but the author made it work.
The author knows the right buttons to push to engage the reader and advance the story. But she did not find any new buttons; I did not feel a sense of discovery or insight in reading her book. It was simply enjoyable reading.
A powerful story of friendship and the courage of regular Germans who found ways of saving Jewish lives during World War II. A Jewish acrobat is “hidden” in a gentile circus during Hitler’s regime, along with a young Dutch girl who has saved a Jewish baby from death. This is a page-turner as the reader follows the circus into France and the eventual survival of one friend and the death of the other.
An emotional , heartwarming and heartbreaking novel.....a tale about a traveling circus in
Europe during WW11....friendship and sorrow of 2 women aerialist performers from the
Wonderful read! From the very beginning the author captivated my interest. Enjoyed how the author switched between both Noa and Astrid with each chapter, getting both sides of the story. Some devastating experiences that left me thinking about the book long after I had put it down. Definitely recommended! Looking forward to reading more by this author.
I agree totally with Jeanie123, below. This story sounded right up my alley, but the characters were poorly developed and the storyline jumped around too much. Barely finished it.
Despite my avid interest in the subject matter, I found this to be a very poorly-written novel. In my opinion, if you loved The Nightingale you will cringe along with me at the drivel presented in this book. The writer changed details in the plot several times without going back to edit or correct earlier events. It was confusing to me and I kept asking "how could that happen when just a few pages ago she said something else happened?" Many of the events in the ending seemed so extremely unlikely to have succeeded in this time and this regime that I found it implausible and ridiculous.
This was a wonderful read. Deceptively simple in story line, I found the characters compelling and quite an interesting situation. Highly recommended.
I love how authors can take an unknown almost-anecdotal history footnote and turn it into fiction. I read this on a snowy afternoon. If you liked The Nightingale, try this.