Thursday, July 30, 2015

Review: Orphan #8

Orphan #8
by Kim van Alkemade

Why did you choose this book? great cover and interesting synopsis
When did you read this book? July 2015
Who should read this book? readers of historical fiction with something new
Source: TLC Book Tours
Here is a synopsis of Orphan #8 from TLC Book Tours

A stunning debut novel of historical fiction set in the forgotten world of New York City’s Jewish orphanages.

In 1919, four-year-old Rachel Rabinowitz is placed in the Hebrew Infant Home where Dr. Mildred Solomon is conducting medical research on the children. Dr. Solomon subjects Rachel to an experimental course of X-ray treatments that establish the doctor’s reputation while risking the little girl’s health. Now it’s 1954, and Rachel is a nurse in the hospice wing of the Old Hebrews Home when elderly Dr. Solomon becomes her patient. Realizing the power she holds over the helpless doctor, Rachel embarks on a dangerous experiment of her own design. Before the night shift ends, Rachel will be forced to choose between forgiveness and revenge.

Inspired by true events, Orphan #8 is a powerful novel about the human capacity to harm—and to love.

My Review

I love the cover on this one, and doesn’t the synopsis pull you right in? I have to admit that during the first chapter, I was a little worried that I would struggle to finish, but pretty quickly that changed! This one really kept me turning the pages!

As the story begins, we meet Rachel, a four year old with a temper, and her brother, Sam, who knows how to calm her. When tragedy strikes and family circumstances change, the siblings find themselves orphaned and sent to different orphanages. The book reminded me a little of Orphan Train with the setting and the hardships placed on the orphans. There is a compassionate social worker who really tried hard to help these kids, much like the social worker in Necessary Lies.

As in Orphan Train the story is told in alternating time periods, which really worked well for me! We follow Rachel and Sam as they experience many of the historical events of the first half of the twentieth centure; the orphanage, the depression, WWII, and now the post-war period. Grown-up Rachel is a nurse working in a home for the elderly on floor 5, where it is understood patients come to spend their final days. When Dr. Mildred Solomon appears as one of her patients, Rachel recognizes her as the doctor who ‘treated’ her at the orphanage. Meeting the doctor again triggers painful memories for Rachel and leads to ethical decisions she must make as she faces her past.

This book will make a fantastic book club selection! There are so many discussion points a group can touch on; medical experimentation, gay marriage, foster care, the Holocaust and Nazis, and Israel and Palestine, to mention just a few. The book touches on many of the same issues that were touched on in All I Know and Love, but in my opinion, this one did it so much better! The author has background information and discussion questions on her website.

I don’t give out 5 star reviews very often, and almost NEVER two in a row, but try as I might, I can’t find anything I didn’t like about this one….so 5 stars it is! Enjoy!

About Kim van Alkemade

Kim van Alkemade was born in New York. Her creative nonfiction has appeared in literary journals including Alaska Quarterly Review, So to Speak, and CutBank. She teaches writing at Shippensburg University of Pennsylvania.

Find out more about Kim at her website, and connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

My Rating:  ★★★★★    5 Stars

This book review is included in a tour by TLC Book Tours. I was provided a copy for review purposes.

Kim’s Tour Stops
Thursday, July 9th: Raven Haired Girl
Tuesday, July 14th: No More Grumpy Bookseller
Monday, July 20th: Peeking Between the Pages
Tuesday, July 21st: From the TBR Pile
Wednesday, July 22nd: Novel Escapes
Thursday, July 23rd: Kritters Ramblings
Friday, July 24th: As I turn the pages
Friday, July 24th: A Literary Vacation
Monday, July 27th: The Reader’s Hollow
Tuesday, July 28th: Mel’s Shelves
Wednesday, July 29th: Bibliophiliac
Thursday, July 30th: Svetlana’s Reads and Views
Thursday, July 30th: Time 2 Read
Friday, July 31st: FictionZeal
Monday, August 3rd: Cold Read
Thursday, August 6th: Books on the Table
TBD: Kahakai Kitchen

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  1. This isn't a sequel is it? It does sound good.

    1. No, not a sequel. This is the author's debut novel!

  2. This book is high on my TBR list - it looks SO good!

    Thanks for being a part of the tour.

  3. I usually haven't heard of most of the books you review, but this is one I had. I'm not sure it's the book for me, but it had already caught my attention and now your review is making me think about giving it a try.

    The author's picture reminds me a little of Sara Gilbert (Darlene from Roseanne, now on The Talk).

    1. are absolutely right. I kept trying to figure out why she looks familiar!