The Orphan's Tale

The Orphan's Tale


Book - 2017
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Look for Pam Jenoff's new novel, The Woman with the Blue Star, an unforgettable story of courage and friendship during wartime.

A New York Times bestseller!

"Readers who enjoyed Kristin Hannah's The Nightingale and Sara Gruen's Water for Elephants will embrace this novel. " --Library Journal

"Secrets, lies, treachery, and passion.... I read this novel in a headlong rush." --Christina Baker Kline, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Orphan Train

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.

Don't Miss Pam Jenoff's new novel, The Woman with the Blue Star, a riveting tale of unfathomable sacrifice and unlikely friendship during World War II.

Read these other sweeping epics from New York Times bestselling author Pam Jenoff.

The Lost Girls of Paris

The Ambassador's Daughter

The Diplomat's Wife

The Kommandant's Girl

The Last Summer at Chelsea Beach

The Winter Guest
Publisher: Don Mills, Ontario :, Mira,, ©2017.
ISBN: 9780778319818
Branch Call Number: FICTION JEN
Characteristics: 344 pages ; 25 cm


From Library Staff

This powerful novel, set in
the world of a traveling circus
during the Second World War,
introduces two extraordinary
women and their harrowing
stories of sacrifice and survival.
Inspired by real people and

From the critics

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Mar 13, 2020

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.

Jan 27, 2020


Jan 06, 2020

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.

Aug 31, 2019

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.

Jul 27, 2019

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.

Apr 15, 2019

Good, fast read but not as good as the Lost Girls of Paris, read that one first

Feb 27, 2019

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.

Feb 22, 2019

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.

Jul 15, 2018

overall very good. At one stage, devolved into romance novel intentions, but overall a good story

Jun 23, 2018

Despite the tragedies in this story, it is told with absolute truth . We must never forget history lest we repeat it.

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