3.5 Stars

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The Orphan's Tale - Unique WWII Fiction.

The Orphan's Tale is a unique story of WWII that takes place in a German circus.  Noa is cast out of her home when she becomes pregnant by a Nazi soldier.  Her baby is cruelly taken from her and she ends up working at a train station.  One day she discovers a train car full of abandoned babies on a train that is bound for a death camp.  Wanting to save at least one of them, Noa swipes a baby boy from the train and runs off with him.  She and the baby are found in the woods a few days later by some members of a traveling circus who welcome Noa into their "family."  To earn her keep, Noa is paired up with Astrid, a trapeze artist, who has also been recently cast aside.  Astrid, a Jew, had been married to a German soldier, until all marriages between Germans and Jews were nullified.  A previous circus performer, Astrid returns to the life she knows, where she eventually falls in love with Peter, a Russian clown.  Noa and Astrid become close when Astrid trains Noa as an aerialist.  They share their secret pasts and protect each other whenever German soldiers come through looking for Jews.  When it becomes too dangerous to stay with the circus, Noa and Astrid begin planning a way out, but then a tragedy strikes that will change both of their lives forever.  As with many war stories, The Orphan's Tale is rather dark. There are themes of love and friendship, however, the predominant feelings are sadness and desperation. Even though Noa and Astrid become friends, I never felt a true connection between them until the very end.  While this book kept my interest, I would recommend other WWII fiction over this one.  Try The Kommandant's Girl or The Nightingale for a more riveting story.