Hiding in the spotlight: The Orphan’s Tale reviewed

30971090

The Orphan’s Tale by Pam Jenoff: 3/5 stars

I read a taster section of this book in the February Buzz Books Monthly from Netgalley and was immediately intrigued, so requested the full book. Overall, it’s still a good story, but not as captivating as the opening few chapters.

The setting of the book, in the circus was interesting and I really wanted to get an understanding of what it might have been like for showpeople in the Reich. I know that Roma and Sinti were targeted in the same way as Jews, and at least in the UK, there is some crossover between showpeople and those groups, so how did they fit? I didn’t really find out. The circus folk stayed away from the communities that they performed for, but I wasn’t really clear on whether this was because they always had, or because of the war.

Astrid/Ingrid was a very magnetic character. She’s one of those characters where even if she isn’t doing much in a scene, her thoughts and emotions are loud enough to almost take physical form. I liked her a lot and found her struggle to keep a lid on her feelings to protect herself and others really relatable. However, I did find that she tended to overpower the other main character, Noa. In what I think is supposed to be a two-hander, it quite often felt like the Astrid show, with Noa being reactive to Astrid rather than an independent person with her own decisions and motivations. I did find this a bit of a shame because she began as such a determined, brave and impulsive girl.

What I did like very much about The Orphan’s Tale was its examination of family. Who makes up your family and why? Is it possible to move on from your biological family to fully build a family of choice or will you always be trapped in the habits and expectations of how you grew up? These questions are played with but prescriptive answers aren’t given, because if there’s one thing that’s certain in the lives of these circus performers, it’s that there is no such thing as permanence. All you can do is make the best of the life you have.

As an aside, if you’re looking for a Mothers’ Day gift for a non traditional family setup, this might fit the bill. Despite the bleak setting in WW2 occupied territory, it celebrates the power of mothering and motherly love, whether it comes from a birth mother or other mother figure.

Find out more about The Orphan’s Tale:

Title and ISBN: The Orphan’s Tale (ISBN 978-0778319818)
Author: Pam Jenoff
Published on: 23 February 2017
Published by: Mira/Harper Collins
Buy it: Hive

Advertisements

I love all things fantasy, from fiction to films to games. Mostly books though. I also love cooking and plus size fashion. Find recommendations for great fantasy reads and general fangirling here! If you want to get in touch with me, the quickest way is by Twitter @dorristheloris

Tagged with: , , , , , ,
Posted in book review, fantasy fiction, reviews

What's on your mind?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Follow Dorristheloris on WordPress.com
What I’m reading now
%d bloggers like this: