The Orphan's Tale
by Pam Jenoff

Published: 2017-02-21
Paperback : 368 pages
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Recommended to book clubs by 2 of 2 members

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 ...

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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.

Editorial Review

No editorial review at this time.


They will be looking for me by now.
I pause on the granite steps of the museum, reaching for the railing to steady myself. Pain, sharper than ever, creaks through my left hip, not perfectly healed from last year’s break. Across the Avenue Winston Churchill, behind the glass dome of the Grand Palais, the March sky is rosy at dusk. ... view entire excerpt...

Discussion Questions

• Noa and Astrid’s rivalry changes into a close friendship despite significant differences in age and circumstances. How did this evolution happen? What do you think it was that drew them together? Have you ever found yourself in such a close but unlikely friendship?
• Even in WWII-torn Europe, the circus was still allowed to perform. Did this surprise you? How did the setting impact your reading of the novel? What deeper meaning do you think there is behind the circus burning down in the end?
• Who did you initially think was the narrator in the opening chapter? How did the opening chapter shape your reading experience?
• With whom did you identify more closely, Astrid or Noa? Why? What were Noa’s and Astrid’s greatest strengths and their greatest flaws? Were there choices you wish Astrid and/or Noa had made differently throughout the book?
• Noa is disowned by her family and in turn has her child ripped from her arms. Astrid leaves her family for a husband who abandons her. How do you think Astrid and Noa were each defined by their pasts? What role does the notion of family play throughout the story? What are some of the other themes in the book?
• What do you think drew Astrid and Peter together so powerfully? Noa and Luc? How do these two relationships differ from one another? Do you think either of these relationships could have lasted a lifetime under different circumstances?
• What do you think of Peter’s decision to continue with his mocking act toward the Reich? How do you think the story would have differed if Peter had refrained from doing the act?
• How did you feel about the ending? Were you surprised? Satisfied?
• What will you remember the most about The Orphan’s Tale?

Notes From the Author to the Bookclub

No notes at this time.

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Member Reviews

Overall rating:
  "The unspeakable horror of the Holocaust is never ending!"by thewanderingjew (see profile) 04/03/17

The Orphan’s Tale, Pam Jenoff, author, Jennifer Wydra, Kyla Garcia, narrators
The familiar theme of the Holocaust is placed into an unfamiliar venue, that of a traveling circus. The novel
... (read more)

  "The Orphan's Tale"by Silversolara (see profile) 03/23/17

Noa was thrown out of her parents' home because she had become pregnant to a German soldier but needed to leave after the Germans took her baby. As Noa made her way out of town, she came
... (read more)

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