The Orphan’s Tale


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.



Emotional, stirring and beautiful!  I am not a fan of nonfiction so when I get the opportunity to learn about history through fiction I grab it.  The Orphan’s Tale by Pam Jenoff is a compelling story about love, friendship and family. The writing is powerful and intense with descriptions that draw the reader into the novel immediately.  .

The story takes the reader to WWII Germany where 16 year old Noa is kicked out of her house and forced to stay in a girl’s home until her baby is born.  While working in a train station, Noa is drawn to a loud wounded sound coming from one of the boxcars.  She wanders toward it and is shocked to find babies, too many to count.  One of the baby’s stirs, raises its arms, and without thinking, Noa grabs it and runs into the cold night.

Astrid, a famous aerialist for her family’s circus left her family and legacy to marry a German officer.  Soon after their marriage, Erich, Astrid’s husband informs her that they must divorce because she is Jewish.  Given no choice, Astrid signs the papers and leaves.  Unable to find her family, Astrid joins a rival circus, own and run by Herr Neuhoff.

The circus is a great equalizer, though; no matter class or race or background, we are all the same here, judged on our talent.

Risking his life for many, Herr Neuhoff gives refuge to Noa and the baby, the one condition being that she perform.  The circus is in need of a new aerialist and Astrid is required to train her.

This book is phenomenal, the writing, the story, the history all woven together to tell a stunning story.  I highly recommend this book to anyone who loves beautiful words and stories.

5/5 stars

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