We are so excited to be a part of a 2-part tour for the release of best selling author Pam Jenoff’s new historical fiction title, The Orphan’s Tale!
Follow along the excerpt tour beginning in February, with long excerpts in consecutive order at each tour stop, followed by a review tour beginning on 2/21, release day! Check out the links below to follow the tour!
Author: Pam Jenoff
Date of publication: February 21, 2017
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.
Enjoy excerpt #3:
My time came on a cold October morning when I stood up from the breakfast table at the girls’ home and my water broke. The next eighteen hours were a blur of awful pain, punctuated by words of command, without encouragement or a soothing touch. At last, the baby had emerged with a wail and my entire body shuddered with emptiness, a machine shutting down. A strange look crossed the nurse’s face.
“What is it?” I demanded. I was not supposed to see the child. But I struggled against pain to sit upright. “What’s wrong?”
“Everything is fine,” the doctor assured. “The child is healthy.” His voice was perturbed, though, face stormy through thick glasses above the draped cream sheet. I leaned forward and a set of piercing coal eyes met mine.
Those eyes that were not Aryan.
I understood then the doctor’s distress. The child looked nothing like the perfect race. Some hidden gene, on my side or the German’s, had given him dark eyes and olive skin. He would not be accepted into the Lebensborn program.
My baby cried out, shrill and high-pitched, as though he had heard his fate and was protesting. I had reached for him through the pain. “I want to hold him.”
The doctor and the nurse, who had been recording details about the child on some sort of form, exchanged uneasy looks. “We don’t, that is, the Lebensborn program does not allow that.”
I struggled to sit up. “Then I’ll take him and leave.” It had been a bluff; I had nowhere to go. I had signed papers giving up my rights when I arrived in exchange for letting me stay, there were hospital guards… I could barely even walk. “Please let me have him for a second.”
“Nein.” The nurse shook her head emphatically, slipping from the room as I continued to plead.
Once she was out of sight, something in my voice forced the doctor to relent. “Just for a moment,” he said, reluctantly handing me the child. I stared at the red face, inhaled the delicious scent of his head that was pointed from so many hours of struggling to be born and I focused on his eyes. Those beautiful eyes. How could something so perfect not be their ideal?
He was mine, though. A wave of love crested and broke over me. I had not wanted this child, but in that moment, all the regret washed away, replaced by longing. Panic and relief swept me under. They would not want him now. I’d have to take him home because there was no other choice. I would keep him, find a way…
Then the nurse returned and ripped him from my arms.
“No, wait,” I protested. As I struggled to reach for my baby, something sharp pierced my arm. My head swam. Hands pressed me back on the bed. I faded, still seeing those dark eyes.
I awoke alone in that cold, sterile delivery room, without my child, or a husband or mother or even a nurse, an empty vessel that no one wanted anymore. They said afterward that he went to a good home. I had no way of knowing if they were telling the truth.
I swallow against the dryness of my throat, forcing the memory away. Then I step from the station into the biting cold air, relieved that the Schutzpolizei des Reiches, the leering state police who patrol the station, are nowhere to be seen. Most likely they are fighting the cold in their truck with a flask. I scan the train, trying to pinpoint the buzzing sound. It comes from the last boxcar, adjacent to the caboose—not from the engine. No, the noise comes from something inside the train. Something alive.
I stop. I have made it a point to never go near the trains, to look away when they pass by—because they are carrying Jews.
I was still living at home in our village the first time I had seen the sorry roundup of men, women and children in the market square. I had run to my father, crying. He was a patriot and stood up for everything else—why not this? “It’s awful,” he conceded through his graying beard, stained yellow from pipe smoke. He had wiped my tear-stained cheeks and given me some vague explanation about how there were ways to handle things. But those ways had not stopped my classmate Steffi Klein from being marched to the train station with her younger brother and parents in the same dress she’d worn to my birthday a month earlier.
The sound continues to grow, almost a keening now, like a wounded animal in the brush. I scan the empty platform and peer around the edge of the station. Can the police hear the noise, too? I stand uncertainly at the platform’s edge, peering down the barren railway tracks that separate me from the box¬car. I should just walk away. Keep your eyes down, that has been the lesson of the years of war. No good ever came from noticing the business of others. If I am caught nosing into parts of the station where I do not belong, I will be let go from my job, left without a place to live, or perhaps even arrested. But I have never been any good at not looking. Too curious, my mother said when I was little. I have always needed to know. I step forward, unable to ignore the sound that, as I draw closer now, sounds like cries.
Or the tiny foot that is visible through the open door of the railcar.
I pull back the door. “Oh!” My voice echoes dangerously through the darkness, inviting detection. There are babies, tiny bodies too many to count, lying on the hay-covered floor of the railcar, packed close and atop one another. Most do not move and I can’t tell whether they are dead or sleeping. From amid the stillness, piteous cries mix with gasps and moans like the bleating of lambs.
I grasp the side of the railcar, struggling to breathe over the wall of urine and feces and vomit that assaults me. Since coming here, I have dulled myself to the images, like a bad dream or a film that couldn’t possibly be real. This is different, though. So many infants, all alone, ripped from the arms of their mothers. My lower stomach begins to burn.
I stand helplessly in front of the boxcar, frozen in shock.
“I read this novel in a headlong rush, transported by the relationship between two vastly different women during World War II: a Jewish circus aerialist and a teenage runaway with a baby. Deftly juggling secrets, lies, treachery, and passion, Pam Jenoff vividly brings to life the agonizing choices and life-or-death consequences for a hardy band of travelers under Nazi occupation.”—Christina Baker Kline, New York Times bestselling author of Orphan Train
“Readers who enjoyed Kristin Hannah’s The Nightingale and Sara Gruen’s Water for Elephants will embrace this novel.”—Library Journal
“In prose that is beautiful, ethereal, and poignant, The Orphan’s Tale is a novel you won’t be able to put down.”—Bustle
“A gripping story about the power of friendship to save and redeem even in the darkest of circumstances, The Orphan’s Tale sheds light on one of the most colorful and inspiring stories of heroism in Nazi Germany. This is a book not to be missed.”—Melanie Benjamin, New York Times bestselling author of The Swans of Fifth Avenue and The Aviator’s Wife
“Jenoff expertly performs a pirouetting tale worthy of a standing ovation. A circus of hidden Jews, a powerful friendship, The Orphan’s Tale proves that the human spirit defies hate, fear, and gravity with a triumphant ta-da!”—Sarah McCoy, New York Times bestselling author of The Mapmaker’s Children
About Pam Jenoff
Pam Jenoff is the author of several novels, including the international bestseller The Kommandant’s Girl, which also earned her a Quill Award nomination. Pam lives with her husband and three children near Philadelphia where, in addition to writing, she teaches law school.
Connect with Pam
THE ORPHAN’S TALE Excerpt Tour:
Monday, February 6th: The Sassy Bookster
Tuesday, February 7th: Just Commonly
Wednesday, February 8th: From the TBR Pile
Thursday, February 9th: Chick Lit Central
Friday, February 10th: Bibliotica
Monday February 13th: Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers
Tuesday, February 14th: Read Love Blog
Wednesday, February 15th: The Lit Bitch
Thursday, February 16th: Book Reviews and More by Kathy
Friday, February 17th: Books a la Mode
THE ORPHAN’S TALE Review Tour:
Monday, February 20th: A Chick Who Reads
Monday, February 20th: Barbara Khan
Tuesday, February 21st: Savvy Verse and Wit
Wednesday, February 22nd: Caryn, The Book Whisperer
Thursday, February 23rd: West Metro Mommy
Friday, February 24th: Reading is My SuperPower
Friday, February 24th: A Bookish Affair
Monday, February 27th: Building Bookshelves
Monday, February 27th: Just Commonly
Tuesday, February 28th: Bibliotica
Wednesday, March 1st: Kahakai Kitchen
Wednesday, March 1st: Susan Peterson
Thursday, March 2nd: A Literary Vacation
Friday, March 3rd: Cindy Burnett
Monday, March 6th: Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers
Monday, March 6th: Literary Quicksand
Tuesday, March 7th: The Lit Bitch
Wednesday, March 8th: The Romance Dish
Thursday, March 9th: Just One More Chapter
Friday, March 10th: Suzy Approved
Monday, March 13th: Reading Reality
Monday, March 13th: Diary of an Eccentric
Tuesday, March 14th: Patricia’s Wisdom
Wednesday, March 15th: Bibliophiliac
Thursday, March 16th: The Maiden’s Court
Friday, March 17th: View from the Birdhouse
Monday, March 20th: A Bookish Way of Life
Tuesday, March 21st: Write Read Life
Wednesday, March 22nd: 100 Pages a Day
Thursday, March 23rd: Silver’s Reviews
Friday, March 24th: Not in Jersey
Friday March 24th: SJ2B House of Books
Tuesday, March 28th: Travelling Birdy