Why are we so hard on one another? I wonder. Hadn’t the world already given us challenges enough?” -THE ORPHAN’S TALE
As you all know by now, I love World War II historical fiction, and this one has been on my TBR for a while. THE ORPHAN’S TALE follows Noa, a sixteen-year-old girl who recently bore a child by a Nazi and was forced to give it up for adoption. When she comes across a train car full of Jewish babies, she recalls the child she lost. She snatches a baby up and runs away. She’s taken in by a German circus, where a woman named Astrid teaches her to perform the trapeze act. Astrid is a Jewish woman who was once married to a German officer and subsequently divorced when the war broke out. Astrid doesn’t like Noa, but soon the two form a unique bond as they travel with the circus and try to escape Nazi detection.
Between the two females, I preferred Astrid. I thought she was a strong, complex, fascinating character, but Noa was a bit lacking for me. I empathized with Noa, but I empathized with Astrid more, and I can’t quite figure out why. She left her husband while Noa gave up her baby. Both are terribly sad, and it’s awful to compare them, so I don’t know why I felt worse for Astrid. Another place I cared more for Astrid was in the relationships they form with men. When we meet Astrid, she’s in a casual relationship with a fellow performer, and as the story progresses, I felt I understood and appreciated that relationship. Noa, on the other hand, falls for a boy she meets through the circus travels. That relationship felt a little underdeveloped to me. I wasn’t convinced she knew enough about this boy to love him like she claimed.
Even though I preferred Astrid to Noa, I loved their bond. They start out as enemies, but the relationship evolves into a mutual respect. Also, they each grow to love the baby Noa saves, Theo. By the end of the story, they care deeply for one another and would do anything to keep the other safe. Their friendship is a beautiful bond.
THE ORPHAN’S TALE was an easy read and wonderful for historical fiction fans. The end was sweet and sad and beautiful, and I thought it tied the story together perfectly. If you’re a WWII histfic fan, add this one to your TBR.
*side note* I’ll be taking a bit of a hiatus next week to celebrate Christmas with my family! No new blog post next weekend, but I should be back into the swing of things after that. I hope y’all have a wonderful holiday season!
There is so little one can be certain of these days… But finding a hand to hold while we walk this path makes even the most difficult of times better and the strangest of villages home…” -THE ORPHAN’S TALE