Tuesday, August 4, 2020

Release Day! The Orphan Collector by Ellen Marie Wiseman ~ My Thoughts #TheOrphanCollector


The Orphan Collector by Ellen Marie Wiseman
Print & e-book, 390 pages
Published August 4, 2020 by Kensington Publishing Corp.

Ellen Marie Wiseman, acclaimed author of What She Left Behind and The Life She Was Given, weaves the stories of two very different women into a page-turning novel as suspenseful as it is poignant, set amid one of history’s deadliest pandemics.

In the fall of 1918, thirteen-year-old German immigrant Pia Lange longs to be far from Philadelphia’s overcrowded streets and slums, and from the anti-German sentiment that compelled her father to enlist in the U.S. Army, hoping to prove his loyalty. But an even more urgent threat has arrived. Spanish influenza is spreading through the city. Soon, dead and dying are everywhere. With no food at home, Pia must venture out in search of supplies, leaving her infant twin brothers alone . . .

Since her baby died days ago, Bernice Groves has been lost in grief and bitterness. If doctors hadn’t been so busy tending to hordes of immigrants, perhaps they could have saved her son. When Bernice sees Pia leaving her tenement across the way, she is buoyed by a shocking, life-altering decision that leads her on a sinister mission: to transform the city’s orphans and immigrant children into what she feels are “true Americans.”

As Pia navigates the city’s somber neighborhoods, she cannot know that her brothers won’t be home when she returns. And it will be a long and arduous journey to learn what happened—even as Bernice plots to keep the truth hidden at any cost. Only with persistence, and the courage to face her own shame and fear, will Pia put the pieces together and find the strength to risk everything to see justice at last.

My thoughts about The Orphan Collector ~~ 

(I love to note the first lines of the books I'm reading. First lines can really grab a reader's attention and I love seeing where the author takes the reader after their first line.)

First line—"September 28, 1918: The deadly virus stole unnoticed through the crowded cobblestone streets of Philadelphia on a sunny September day, unseen and unheard amidst the jubilant chaos of the Liberty Loan parade and patriotic marches of John Philip Sousa."

Oh. My. Gosh! I had no idea that I would love this book as much as I did. Did I really want to read this daunting book about a pandemic, when we are living in one right now?

Let me tell you, I was sucked in from the very first chapter and I couldn't stop. I continued reading in disbelief as the author wrote about this historic time in our history—wearing masks, remaining in their homes to stay safe from the virus (sound familiar?)—with so many people dying horrible deaths within hours of falling ill.

The Orphan Collector story is centered around Pia, an immigrant who, at the age of thirteen, finds her life starting to fall apart. Hunger and death are everywhere and she is just trying to survive and find food for her brothers. Then things start spiraling downward for her

It was gut-wrenching to read one thing after the other go wrong for this strong, resilient girl. It just never seemed to stop for her. But I couldn't look away. I had to keep reading to make sure Pia was going to be okay. The drama of her life is what made this wonderful book a page-turner for me. 

I highly recommend The Orphan Collector. You will not be able to put it down!

I received The Orphan Collector from the publisher and this is my honest opinion.

About the author

Ellen Marie Wiseman

A first-generation German American, Ellen Marie Wiseman discovered her love of reading and writing while attending first grade in one of the last one-room schoolhouses in NYS. She is a bestselling author whose novels have been translated into eighteen languages. Her debut novel, THE PLUM TREE, is loosely based on her mother’s stories about growing up in Germany during the chaos of WWII. THE PLUM TREE received much praise for its depiction of WWII and was named by Bookbub as One of Thirteen Books To Read if You Loved ALL THE LIGHT WE CANNOT SEE.

Ellen’s second novel, WHAT SHE LEFT BEHIND, was named a Huffington Post Best Books of Summer 2015. Her third novel, COAL RIVER, was called "one of the most "unputdownable" books of 2015" by The Historical Novel Review. Her fourth novel, THE LIFE SHE WAS GIVEN, was named A GREAT GROUP READS Selection of the Women’s National Book Association and National Reading Group Month, and a Goodreads Best of the Month for July.

Her newest novel, THE ORPHAN COLLECTOR, comes out on August 4th, 2020. Ellen lives on the shores of Lake Ontario with her husband and two spoiled Shih-tzus, Izzy and Bella. When she’s not busy writing, she loves spending time with her children and grandchildren. ~ Goodreads

Connect with Ellen


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