Thursday, July 23, 2015

Orphan Number Eight
by Kim van Alkemade

Publisher: William Morrow
Pages: 416
Format: ARC
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  In 1919, Rachel Rabinowitz is a vivacious four-year-old living with her family in a crowded tenement on New York City's Lower Eastside. When tragedy strikes, Rachel is separated from her brother Sam and sent to a Jewish orphanage where Dr. Mildred Solomon is conducting medical research. Subjected to X-ray treatments that leave her disfigured, Rachel suffers years of cruel harassment from the other orphans. But when she turns fifteen, she runs away to Colorado hoping to find the brother she lost and discovers a family she never knew she had.

Though Rachel believes she's shut out her painful childhood memories, years later she is confronted with her dark past when she becomes a nurse at Manhattan's Old Hebrews Home and her patient is none other than the elderly, cancer-stricken Dr. Solomon. Rachel becomes obsessed with making Dr. Solomon acknowledge, and pay for, her wrongdoing. But each passing hour Rachel spends with the old doctor reveal to Rachel the complexities of her own nature. She realizes that a person's fate--to be one who inflicts harm or one who heals--is not always set in stone.



Kritters Thoughts:  Rachel becomes an orphan in a very tragic way early in the book and from there the book swapped between chapters from her childhood and going forward to adulthood with chapters within her adulthood.  I loved how this author formatted the book and although sometimes the flow was hard, each chapter felt like a short story within a bigger story.  

Rachel was a great character, in that although she had a very hard childhood she didn't use it as an excuse to be a deadbeat adult, but instead she found a fire in herself and wanted to find her own true passion to get her out from under anyone.  I loved seeing her childhood and its impacts immediately in the adulthood chapters.  This book almost felt like a dual narrative but with Rachel narrating both her past and her present - I loved the intermix of the stories.

The other thing that stuck out for me in this book was the social issue of homosexuality and reading the reaction to this community in the time.  No matter how you stand on the issue it was interesting to read about how people were reacting to this way of life and how much the same arguments and thoughts are being used now.  

This was an unique historical fiction and after reading a lot of them this was felt different and I am so glad!  


Rating: absolutely loved it and want a sequel

Disclosure of Material Connection:  I received one copy of this book free of charge from TLC Book Tours.  I was not required to write a positive review in exchange for receipt of the book; rather, the opinions expressed in this review are my own.


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