The Orphan Collector
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.

The Orphan Collector Details

TitleThe Orphan Collector
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseJul 28th, 2020
PublisherKensington Publishing Corp.
ISBN-139781496715869
Rating
GenreHistorical, Historical Fiction, Fiction

The Orphan Collector Review

  • Crumb
    January 1, 1970
    FULL REVIEW NOW UP!As I write this review, I'm in awe. In awe of this novel, of Ms. Wiseman's writing, and of this story. First, however, let me back up.It starts with a simple itch in the throat. Suddenly you get a cough. But it's not a regular cough, no. It starts in the bottom of your belly and tears through your chest. Suddenly your hacking. Struggling for air. The next thing you know, your skin is turning a bluish-purple. Then you are dead.I'm referring to the deadly, catastrophic Spanish I FULL REVIEW NOW UP!As I write this review, I'm in awe. In awe of this novel, of Ms. Wiseman's writing, and of this story. First, however, let me back up.It starts with a simple itch in the throat. Suddenly you get a cough. But it's not a regular cough, no. It starts in the bottom of your belly and tears through your chest. Suddenly your hacking. Struggling for air. The next thing you know, your skin is turning a bluish-purple. Then you are dead.I'm referring to the deadly, catastrophic Spanish Influenza of 1918. There were murmurings of this sickness, yet life went went on. The Liberty Loan Parade was a much anticipated affair. While it was well-known that subways and crowded areas carried the most risk for infection, This event was not to be canceled or missed, despite warnings from the city's health director in the Philadelphia Inquirer. This pandemic ravaged Philadelphia, Pennsylvania immediately following the Liberty Loan Parade, where overwhelming crowds gathered in Center City to cheer and celebrate their veterans. Pia, 13, and her mother found themselves swept up in the excitement of the day. Or at least Pia tried to feign excitement.Brushing up against strangers always triggered a curious sensation within her, something that brought her feelings of great shame. She always wanted to be normal, but wasn't. Finn was the one friend she could count on and confide in. With a host of worries and anxieties, Pia wanted to leave the parade and escape to the safety of their modest apartment, where she could cuddle her infant twin brothers. After the parade, crepes appeared on what seemed like every door knob. Grey signified the death of an elder, black a middle aged adult, and white for the most innocent of the population. Fear gripped Pia and her mother. While her mother struggled to maintain a courageous, brave face, Pia couldn't help but notice the fear that was beginning to seep inside of their home. However, Fear wasn't the only trespasser. . .Prepare yourself for my gushworthy statements in. . .The The Orphan Collector was brilliance personified. In the beginning of the review I mentioned I was in awe of this novel. After I read every book by Ms. Wiseman, I have a mixture of intense emotions. You may relate to this. I have a feeling of immense gratitude for the written word, followed by a crushing sense of impending doom. As a reader, I'm acutely aware of this struggle. The pursuit of that one perfect book that triggers the type of feelings that every reader so desperately yearns. The novels that take your breath away. That remind you why it is you love to read and continue to read. And I'm pleased to say that The Orphan Collector will remain one of those *special* books forever.Many thanks to Kensington for providing me with a galley in return for an honest review
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  • Ellen Wiseman
    January 1, 1970
    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 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.
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  • Ellen Wiseman
    January 1, 1970
    I can’t wait for everyone to meet Pia Lange, a young immigrant living in the slums of Philadelphia who loses her mother during the deadly Spanish flu epidemic of 1918 and is left to take care of her twin baby brothers until her father returns from the war. When they run out of supplies, Pia must leave her brothers alone to search the quarantined city for food, with no idea they will be gone when she returns…
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  • Elizabeth of Silver's Reviews
    January 1, 1970
    It’s 1918, and the Spanish flu is running rampant. Family members are passing away right in front of their loved ones' eyes, food is scarce, and the living conditions in the tenement and slums are deplorable.The flu took Pia’s mother, and then Pia is left with the care of her twin infant brothers since her father was fighting in the war. Pia was doing well until she needed to leave the house to find food. She didn't take her brothers because they would be too much to carry, but she wouldn’t be g It’s 1918, and the Spanish flu is running rampant. Family members are passing away right in front of their loved ones' eyes, food is scarce, and the living conditions in the tenement and slums are deplorable.The flu took Pia’s mother, and then Pia is left with the care of her twin infant brothers since her father was fighting in the war. Pia was doing well until she needed to leave the house to find food. She didn't take her brothers because they would be too much to carry, but she wouldn’t be gone long.We then meet Bernice. Bernice is a distraught mother in another building whose baby had passed away from the flu and who saw Pia leaving without her twin brothers and decided she would take them for her own.We follow Pia as she struggles with her life and the guilt about leaving her brothers. You will feel sorry for Pia. You will not feel sorry for Bernice because of her deceitful, unethical, uncaring ways.Ms. Wiseman's description of the plight of the people of Philadelphia during the pandemic is exceptional. You will feel every emotion the characters are feeling.THE ORPHAN COLLECTOR is an outstanding novel that touches on human empathy as well as people taking advantage of others. You will see the similarities to the pandemic of 2020 but hope something good happens to Pia. THE ORPHAN COLLECTOR is heart wrenching but will have you glued to the pages as well as have you wondering what evil deed Bernice will do next.A highly recommended book for historical fiction and suspense fans. 5/5 This book was given to me by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Teresa
    January 1, 1970
    Riveting Story for Current TimesSet in pandemic-stricken Philadelphia in 1918, The Orphan Collector is the story of Pia Lange, the daughter of German immigrants trying to Americanize themselves at a time when Germans were not welcome by many. Her father is off fighting the war in Europe, her mother doing her best to hold the small family together in the city. People are dying all over the city from the Spanish Flu and Pia’s mother does not escape that fate. With no family to turn to, thirteen-ye Riveting Story for Current TimesSet in pandemic-stricken Philadelphia in 1918, The Orphan Collector is the story of Pia Lange, the daughter of German immigrants trying to Americanize themselves at a time when Germans were not welcome by many. Her father is off fighting the war in Europe, her mother doing her best to hold the small family together in the city. People are dying all over the city from the Spanish Flu and Pia’s mother does not escape that fate. With no family to turn to, thirteen-year-old Pia is left to take care of her infant twin brothers.Pia must make the gut-wrenching decision to leave the four-month-old twins in the apartment to go out and scavenge for food. While she is out, she becomes sick and by the time she can return to her home the babies are gone. She is heartbroken and devasted and feels she has let her family down. A neighbor, Bernice Groves has lost her own child and husband and sees Pia leave the apartment. She is a very bitter woman and blames all immigrants for her misfortune. She decides to do something about it and evolves into the Orphan Collector.Wiseman’s storytelling is so vivid and thrilling, it takes you to a time you may have heard of before but could have never truly imagined. While reading this book I could not help but compare what was happening then to what is happening now. There are similarities to be sure, but the hardships then were so much more to bear. The author has created such rich characters, especially Pia who must survive somehow. She has lost everyone including her best friend and she suffers greatly, but she perseveres. Many thanks to the author, Bookish First and the publisher for the chance to read and review this wonderful story that will stay with me for a long time.
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  • Melissa
    January 1, 1970
    I am such a fan of Ellen Marie Wiseman's writing that I will read her books without even checking the synopses anymore. I just know they'll be great. This time around, I didn't check the synopsis before adding The Orphan Collector to my TBR pile, only to pick it up around the same time as the Coronavirus was starting to make its way around the US. Talk about a timely read! This is Ellen's best novel to date! While we're complaining about being stuck at home with our kids for the next couple of m I am such a fan of Ellen Marie Wiseman's writing that I will read her books without even checking the synopses anymore. I just know they'll be great. This time around, I didn't check the synopsis before adding The Orphan Collector to my TBR pile, only to pick it up around the same time as the Coronavirus was starting to make its way around the US. Talk about a timely read! This is Ellen's best novel to date! While we're complaining about being stuck at home with our kids for the next couple of months, it's sobering to read about the living conditions back in 1918 while the Spanish Flu was in full force and people were struggling to survive and feed their families. I had no idea how bad the disease truly was until now. My heart went out to Pia throughout the story, especially over the guilt she was feeling regarding her baby brothers. I really wanted to see something good happen for her. While I felt bad for Bernice's situation initially, she turned out to be a horrible person and Ellen did a great job writing her as a villain. We get to see her perspective at times, but later it tapers off to just show how everyone else sees her (those who think highly of her and those who have been hurt by her actions). Ellen made great use of descriptions and characterizations to bring this novel to life. It was such an interesting and thoughtful story that was difficult to put down! I only hope that by the time of its release in late July, our lives will be back to normal. Movie casting suggestions:Pia (early teens): Oona LaurencePia (late teens): Eliza ScanlenBernice: Harley Quinn SmithDr. Hudson: Spencer Treat ClarkMrs. Hudson: Rose McIverFinn: Levi MillerMother Joe: Frances McDormand
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  • Karen Kay
    January 1, 1970
    I received this from Netgalley.com for a review. "In the fall of 1918, thirteen-year-old Pia Lange longs to be far from Philadelphia’s overcrowded streets and slums, 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."Put this one on your TBR, it's a must read. Showing the fears and mindsets of that era, this very readable story has interesting characters an I received this from Netgalley.com for a review. "In the fall of 1918, thirteen-year-old Pia Lange longs to be far from Philadelphia’s overcrowded streets and slums, 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."Put this one on your TBR, it's a must read. Showing the fears and mindsets of that era, this very readable story has interesting characters and a believable story.4.25 stars
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  • Sue
    January 1, 1970
    Readers can always depend on Ellen Marie Wiseman to bring them a emotional, well researched novel with characters so well written that they aren't soon forgotten. Her newest book checks off all the boxes and her exquisite writing takes us to a time in history that will be new to many people.The year is 1918 and the people of Philadelphia are all crowded together to see the Liberty Loan Parade, where overwhelming crowds of over 200,000 are gathered in Center City to cheer their WWI veterans, buy Readers can always depend on Ellen Marie Wiseman to bring them a emotional, well researched novel with characters so well written that they aren't soon forgotten. Her newest book checks off all the boxes and her exquisite writing takes us to a time in history that will be new to many people.The year is 1918 and the people of Philadelphia are all crowded together to see the Liberty Loan Parade, where overwhelming crowds of over 200,000 are gathered in Center City to cheer their WWI veterans, buy war bonds and show their patriotism. Pia didn't really want to go to the parade with her mother and infant twin brothers but at 13, she was too young to stay home alone in the rough part of town they lived in. Pia and her parents had immigrated from Germany several years earlier and there was currently a very strong sentiment against Germans. Her father had joined the army to show his patriotism and her mother believed that they needed to show their patriotism by going to this parade. Many of the people of Philadelphia had heard about the flu but the newspapers had assured them that the influenza posed no danger to them as long as they "kept their feet dry, stayed warm, ate more onions and kept their bowels and windows open." The crowds weren't aware that the flu was ramping up and that it would spread quickly and many of them would get sick and die. Soon after the parade, Pia's mother died of the flu and Pia was left to take care of her infant brothers. She waits as long as she can, but they are out of food and she must get some food to keep them alive. She wraps her brothers in blankets and leaves them behind to try to find food. While Pia is struggling, her neighbor Bernice, is mourning the death of her infant son. Bernice is a critical, mean hearted woman who hates immigrants and she reasons by stealing the young bothers, she can raise them as good Americans. The lives of Pia and Bernice intersect several times over the years as Pia continues to look for her missing brothers.Pia is a wonderful character. Despite the hardship that she faced, she remained brave and determined to find her brothers. At the extreme opposite is Bernice, a hateful and prejudiced woman who doesn't care how many people she hurts. Pia was one of those characters that you think about long after the last page of the book.The Orphan Collector is a wonderful book. It has love and family, hate, mystery and romance. It's a book that I wanted to read fast to find out how it ends but I also wanted to read it slowly to enjoy the exquisite writing. I can't wait until it is published in July to discuss it with more people. In my opinion, this book is going to be one of the most popular books of the summer.Thanks to the publisher for a copy of this book to read and review. All opinions are my own.
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  • Susan Peterson
    January 1, 1970
    Ellen Marie Wiseman has written a sensational, emotionally intense novel, combining the best of humanity with the worst, amidst a world war and a pandemic of staggering proportions.Pia is 13 when influenza strikes Philadelphia, loving and bright, and with an uncanny ability to detect sickness by sheer touch. She is lonely and poor, but she is lit from within by sheer determination, bravery, and a resourcefulness beyond her years. Bernice is a grieving mother, driven to do the unspeakable, poison Ellen Marie Wiseman has written a sensational, emotionally intense novel, combining the best of humanity with the worst, amidst a world war and a pandemic of staggering proportions.Pia is 13 when influenza strikes Philadelphia, loving and bright, and with an uncanny ability to detect sickness by sheer touch. She is lonely and poor, but she is lit from within by sheer determination, bravery, and a resourcefulness beyond her years. Bernice is a grieving mother, driven to do the unspeakable, poisoned by prejudice and loss. I experienced a roller coaster of emotions—heartache, relief, dismay, hope, hate and love. Pia is an extraordinary character, grief-stricken and desperate, but finding an inner strength to get her through the most horrible of times—Pia is going to live in my heart for a very long time. This book is ideal for fans of Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate, As Bright As Heaven by Sue Meissner, and The Orphan Train by Christina Baker-Kline.
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  • Jenny Belk
    January 1, 1970
    As I expected-another five star read. I am a die hard fan of Ellen Marie Wiseman's books. This one kept me up late reading and I didn't mind a bit. The author's trademark for drama and suspense held me captive all the way to the last page. With characters that tug at your heart and some who raise your blood pressure, this story tells the heartbreaking results of the Spanish flu that left parents with no children and thousands of children without parents or a home. It is also a story of unconditi As I expected-another five star read. I am a die hard fan of Ellen Marie Wiseman's books. This one kept me up late reading and I didn't mind a bit. The author's trademark for drama and suspense held me captive all the way to the last page. With characters that tug at your heart and some who raise your blood pressure, this story tells the heartbreaking results of the Spanish flu that left parents with no children and thousands of children without parents or a home. It is also a story of unconditional love, regrets, survival, and determination to never give up when seeking answers when you are desperate to find them. For anyone who loves stories of the heart, this one certainly delivers what you want. Excellent read.
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  • Courtney
    January 1, 1970
    If you haven't read Ellen Marie Wiseman's work before, you're in for a treat with her latest, The Orphan Collector. Wiseman is a master of spinning tales, but more notably, a gifted historian and researcher. Each of her books are packed full of factually accurate details that will wow you, and this is no exception. A big fan of dystopian literature and historical fiction, this book is squarely in my alley. Although it can't really count as true dystopian, Wiseman paints the Spanish Flu in such v If you haven't read Ellen Marie Wiseman's work before, you're in for a treat with her latest, The Orphan Collector. Wiseman is a master of spinning tales, but more notably, a gifted historian and researcher. Each of her books are packed full of factually accurate details that will wow you, and this is no exception. A big fan of dystopian literature and historical fiction, this book is squarely in my alley. Although it can't really count as true dystopian, Wiseman paints the Spanish Flu in such vivid prose that you'd believe this is some horrific, fictional future disease that will wipe out America. Unbelievably, that's what really happened - back in 1918. Little is noted or written in this arena, at least in popular fiction, which has earned it the appropriate nickname, "the year of forgotten death."Like Wiseman always does, through her extensive research, she has created a world surrounding a period of history that the reader becomes immersed in. Pia, our heroine, leads us on an unforgettable journey through a death-laden time period of our nation's history with a cast of characters not soon forgotten. From loveable Finn, to her German-born mother, Mutti, and all those she interfaces with across the novel, you're swept away to 1918 and on a perilous journey. This book has it all - mystery, love, death, and triumph. You're left guessing some details until the final pages, not unlike many of my favorite thrillers. And Wiseman is masterful with her writing, which makes the journey that much more enjoyable.The Orphan Collector is out on 7.28.20, so put it on your TBR and preorder now! You won't regret it.
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  • Steven Zacharius
    January 1, 1970
    They don’t get any better than this wonderful story.
  • Nancy Bilyeau
    January 1, 1970
    I'll add my review closer to pub date!
  • ROBIN RUIZ
    January 1, 1970
    Reading a Ellen Marie Wiseman book is a treat. It transports you to that time period, you are sitting in that room, in that house. This book is set during the Spanish influenza, I was in the room, smelling the smells, seeing the sick, hearing the anguish .Pia lives in the poor district, her mother passes from the plague, her dad is off fighting the war,she leaves the apartment to get food for her twin baby brothers. Bernice lost her baby son and her husband to this plaque, she sees Pia leave and Reading a Ellen Marie Wiseman book is a treat. It transports you to that time period, you are sitting in that room, in that house. This book is set during the Spanish influenza, I was in the room, smelling the smells, seeing the sick, hearing the anguish .Pia lives in the poor district, her mother passes from the plague, her dad is off fighting the war,she leaves the apartment to get food for her twin baby brothers. Bernice lost her baby son and her husband to this plaque, she sees Pia leave and goes to investigate and finds/ steals the babies. Bernice makes it her mission bring immigrant children to the orphanages, so In her mind they can be raised as she believes that should be raised to be “good Americans” also placing children into her choice of homes. She takes all this upon herself posing as the Red Cross We watch as Pia and Bernice days intersect around each other. A true Ellen Marie Wiseman book that is truly written with her entire soul , and a book you will not forget anytime soon. This will stay with you. I am a huge fan of this author ,always have been and always will be.
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  • Nita
    January 1, 1970
    Five Million Stars and beyond! Every book that Ellen Marie Wiseman writes, I say it's her best! But this book is her Masterpiece! Beautifully written! Pia Lange captured my heart from the beginning! Her story shattered my heart and her strength and courage is inspiring! A book that can make me cry and have all the stormy emotions is a good book!But not only is this a good book, it is a great book in that it makes a time in history come alive and relevant to today! This is a book not to be missed Five Million Stars and beyond! Every book that Ellen Marie Wiseman writes, I say it's her best! But this book is her Masterpiece! Beautifully written! Pia Lange captured my heart from the beginning! Her story shattered my heart and her strength and courage is inspiring! A book that can make me cry and have all the stormy emotions is a good book!But not only is this a good book, it is a great book in that it makes a time in history come alive and relevant to today! This is a book not to be missed. A Five Star Gold!
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  • Donna Hines
    January 1, 1970
    The world will be forever changed and altered as we know it!It begins in 1918 during the Spanish Flu which has killed millions and many more orphaned.Pia was just 13 years old when she lost her mother Mutti while her father worked long hours away.To save the family she must do whatever she can for survival such as eating violets and wearing masks while rummaging through the homes of those who passed for specs of food left behind.It's a cruel-cruel-world!She must save her baby brothers (twins) Ol The world will be forever changed and altered as we know it!It begins in 1918 during the Spanish Flu which has killed millions and many more orphaned.Pia was just 13 years old when she lost her mother Mutti while her father worked long hours away.To save the family she must do whatever she can for survival such as eating violets and wearing masks while rummaging through the homes of those who passed for specs of food left behind.It's a cruel-cruel-world!She must save her baby brothers (twins) Ollie and Max!Strict rules and guidelines are being enforced all around the nation. It's here! It's deadly!"Why weren't the children dying?"'Don't spit' signs are everywhere but should've been printed in every language.The catastrophic magnitude was written on every sleeve and felt through the eyes and souls of those in need.Would Vater (father) ever come back?Keep in mind there's three waves to this flu -what if it came back again?As she tries to address her needs and that of her brothers she's fallen ill and must leave for supplies.Upon leaving the boys are stolen and upon her return she's frantic to find them.Door to door, seeking every clue, wondering the streets alone in dark of night she tries in vain to find them.Perhaps, Bernice who transformed immigrants into 'True Americans' will be able to assist her.What if it's too late?Could the kids have been sold for profit?Could they have died without her acknowledgement?As the story progresses we get that sense of urgency, of despair, of the pure need for survival in every written word.It's a strange and surreal feeling to be living fiction in real time with Covid 19 a global pandemic.As we embrace these characters we see they are truly struggling & as the reveals become known we understand the power plays, the backgrounds, the history, and the unique situations in which they were placed & for which mistakes were made in the decision process on not only how to move forward but how to simply survive.The ending was beyond mere words because it was a fascinating reveal of tragedy, triumph, and rebirth. The sense of we will be stronger, we will move forward, we will recoup, recover, and rebuild, the economy will be back on track, those loved ones lost will always be forever remembered - is one hell of a powerful statement and when all you have is hopes, prayers, and empty dreams it's a must to maintain the mental alertness, the physical stamina, and the emotional ties that bond.I pray for all those affected in today's pandemic and hope everyone finds their own paths to stability.God bless!Thank you to Ellen, the pub, NetGalley, Kindle for this ARC in exchange for this honest review.
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  • Marisa
    January 1, 1970
    This is a historical fiction story that instills hope. Written about the 1918 Spanish flu pandemic in philly, I was a little apprehensive to read this novel at this point In time - the convid 19 pandemic and I live outside of Philly. This novel was beautifully written about a hard topic. I loved the intertwining of the orphan train and this pandemic. I cried multiple times but it also opened my heart. While I usually read historical fiction at a slower pace I was immediately hooked by this novel This is a historical fiction story that instills hope. Written about the 1918 Spanish flu pandemic in philly, I was a little apprehensive to read this novel at this point In time - the convid 19 pandemic and I live outside of Philly. This novel was beautifully written about a hard topic. I loved the intertwining of the orphan train and this pandemic. I cried multiple times but it also opened my heart. While I usually read historical fiction at a slower pace I was immediately hooked by this novel. Coming this summer!
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  • Debra
    January 1, 1970
    Ellen Marie Wiseman, with her gift of very descriptive writing and such detailed research, easily transports the reader to this horrible time in history when the deadly Spanish flu was spreading so quickly. She makes you feel like you are there! In the midst of these horrors is a young girl, battling to protect her family as she is confronted by so many villains. Again, Ellen has written a book that you will not be able to put down until the end! In my opinion, this is Ellen Marie Wiseman’s Best Ellen Marie Wiseman, with her gift of very descriptive writing and such detailed research, easily transports the reader to this horrible time in history when the deadly Spanish flu was spreading so quickly. She makes you feel like you are there! In the midst of these horrors is a young girl, battling to protect her family as she is confronted by so many villains. Again, Ellen has written a book that you will not be able to put down until the end! In my opinion, this is Ellen Marie Wiseman’s Best.Book.Ever! The Orphan Collector will be released July 28, 2020. It is available for pre-order now at most book sources.
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  • Kelly
    January 1, 1970
    Thank you to Goodreads and to Kensington Books for giving me this ARC in exchange for an honest review.Wow! This book was fantastic. I feel that historical novels set in the WWII era flood the market a bit, so I am always excited to read about other historical times. The Orphan Collector is set in Philadelphia in 1918, when what we now call The Spanish Flu began to cause havoc. At this time, we are introduced to Pia. She is a German immigrant who lives with her mother and infant twin bothers, he Thank you to Goodreads and to Kensington Books for giving me this ARC in exchange for an honest review.Wow! This book was fantastic. I feel that historical novels set in the WWII era flood the market a bit, so I am always excited to read about other historical times. The Orphan Collector is set in Philadelphia in 1918, when what we now call The Spanish Flu began to cause havoc. At this time, we are introduced to Pia. She is a German immigrant who lives with her mother and infant twin bothers, her father having been shipped off to fight in the war. As the flu starts claiming it's victims in mere hours, Pia is soon forced to leave her twin brothers alone in their apartment to go out in search of food, for fear that if the flu doesn't come for them, starvation will. Pia begins to show symptoms of The Spanish Flu on her trek for food, and passes out in the street. Pia awakes six days later and is distraught knowing that she has left her infant brothers alone. Before Pia is forced into an orphanage, she makes her way back to her apartment only to find that her brothers are gone. Pia never stops thinking about her brothers and feels the guilt crush in on her. She must know what happened to her brothers.We are also introduced to a second POV, a woman that lives across the lane from Pia named Bernice. For the sake of keeping spoilers out of this review I will simply say: THIS WOMAN IS ABSOLUTELY VILE. I cannot tell you how many times my jaw actually dropped at the end of her chapters and I audibly said "Oh My God." In the top 10 list of characters I feel actual repulsion and hatred for, Bernice is up at the top of it! I truly love when a book gives me such strong feelings about a character, as I believe that is an indicator of excellent writing.This book is a heartbreaking adventure that ends on a happy note. I did not know much about The Spanish Flu prior to this novel, but I am very interested in reading more about it. Wiseman did her research on the subject and it all felt very authentic. My only criticism of this book is that it started to feel a little too on the nose at the end for Pia. Things just really happened to start falling into place for her with no real work on her part and that's always a little disappointing for me. All of that being said, I would give this book a true 4.5 rating but I always round up on Goodreads for author support. I think this is a wonderful historical fiction novel and one that I will be recommending to my book club and fellow reading friends!
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  • Kate
    January 1, 1970
    The timing of the release of this book will make a big difference in the interest and relatability of it's readers. Today, May 11th, I finished reading this and we are right in the middle of the Corona virus pandemic. I was drawn into this book because of the historical relevance to today's events.When this book hits the shelves in September it will either be even more relevant or the hype of Corona will have dissipated. I wish it could be released sooner because reading it now creates a stronge The timing of the release of this book will make a big difference in the interest and relatability of it's readers. Today, May 11th, I finished reading this and we are right in the middle of the Corona virus pandemic. I was drawn into this book because of the historical relevance to today's events.When this book hits the shelves in September it will either be even more relevant or the hype of Corona will have dissipated. I wish it could be released sooner because reading it now creates a stronger connection to the story. Either way, it is a great read. There is so much more to this book than the 1918 flu. That is the setting and the impetus for the events that occur, it is what initially pulls the reader in. But it is the torture, heartache, desperation and resilience that make you keep turing page after page. I loved these characters. Even the ones I hated I enjoyed reading about. The author did a great job building and defining my relationships with each one. This was a great read and one that I will continue to reflect on as we keep battling our own pandemic.
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  • Karla Jay
    January 1, 1970
    *I received this ARC from NetGalley. Thank you to the publishers for this early look. Reading a book about the 1918 pandemic during a pandemic? I thought it would be too hard but I found Miss Wiseman's book to be well-researched and a compelling read. She skillfully demonstrates that during a time of crisis in American history, the 1918 flu epidemic, people made choices out of fear, ignorance, and misinformation. This leaves devastating consequences on families and children, who too often are th *I received this ARC from NetGalley. Thank you to the publishers for this early look. Reading a book about the 1918 pandemic during a pandemic? I thought it would be too hard but I found Miss Wiseman's book to be well-researched and a compelling read. She skillfully demonstrates that during a time of crisis in American history, the 1918 flu epidemic, people made choices out of fear, ignorance, and misinformation. This leaves devastating consequences on families and children, who too often are the pawns of amoral adults. Wiseman takes us into the lives of two women, one an immigrant trying to find what is left of her family, and another, with a misguided, yet often accepted mindset of how American needs to be cleansed. Even as I found Pia's inner thoughts at times too repetitive, the story was a page-turner for me.Highly recommended historical fiction that is as important today as one hundred years ago in studying the behavior of people when society faces grave challenges.
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  • Mary Bidwell
    January 1, 1970
    Ellen is one of my favorite authors. I was so excited to read an AR copy of her latest book, The Orphan Collector. I was in awe of this book. I didn't want to read more, but I couldn't put it down. The story is so timely, the characters so real, the circumstances so tragic, and amid all of the loss and betrayal in her life, Pia, the 13-yr old heroine manages to keep both herself and hope alive. Please put this on your 'to read' list.
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  • Kaylyn Magee
    January 1, 1970
    This book was an absolute thrill to read. It was a masterpiece from page one- I could hardly put it down. I just finished it and I am already wishing I could forget it in order to re-read it and be amazed again. This book is incredibly timely considering the current events, but it paints a very beautiful, heart-wrenching picture of the plague of the past. There had better be a movie made of this book, and if there is, I would want to be a part of it. The Orphan Collector is a fantastic, stunning This book was an absolute thrill to read. It was a masterpiece from page one- I could hardly put it down. I just finished it and I am already wishing I could forget it in order to re-read it and be amazed again. This book is incredibly timely considering the current events, but it paints a very beautiful, heart-wrenching picture of the plague of the past. There had better be a movie made of this book, and if there is, I would want to be a part of it. The Orphan Collector is a fantastic, stunning read. I wish I could rate it 10 stars!
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  • Joy
    January 1, 1970
    I was so excited to win this book in a Goodreads giveaway!This is a very powerful novel. The characters are rich and deep, you may love them or hate them, but either way you feel for them. This novel brought up many emotions for me. It’s not a light read, but captivating and I couldn’t put it down. It’s also a timely story. There are many parallels to current events, I’m sure the author had no way to predict what 2020 had in store, but it’s a striking coincidence.
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  • Anne Marie
    January 1, 1970
    Disclaimer- I did receive this book from Goodreads. I read this book in just a few days. I couldn’t walk away from it. The characters were well developed and I cared what happened to them. The chapters were told from the view of the two main characters- Pia and Bernice. The contrast in their stories and their intertwined destinies was an emotional ride. I HIGHLY recommend this book. The timing of its debut in the middle of the Covid 19 pandemic may make the story unsettling for some. If so, put Disclaimer- I did receive this book from Goodreads. I read this book in just a few days. I couldn’t walk away from it. The characters were well developed and I cared what happened to them. The chapters were told from the view of the two main characters- Pia and Bernice. The contrast in their stories and their intertwined destinies was an emotional ride. I HIGHLY recommend this book. The timing of its debut in the middle of the Covid 19 pandemic may make the story unsettling for some. If so, put it on your want to read list and come back to it later. You won’t regret it!
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  • Linda Zagon
    January 1, 1970
    Linda’s Book Obsession Reviews “The Orphan Collector” by Ellen Marie Wiseman, Kensington Publishing, July 2020WOW!!! Ellen Marie Wiseman, author of “The Orphan Collector” has written an enthralling, memorable, riveting, captivating, intense, intriguing, heart-breaking, and thought-provoking novel. The genres for this novel are Historical Fiction, Fiction, with Suspense. The timeline for this novel is around 1918 and goes to the past when it pertains to the events or characters. The story takes p Linda’s Book Obsession Reviews “The Orphan Collector” by Ellen Marie Wiseman, Kensington Publishing, July 2020WOW!!! Ellen Marie Wiseman, author of “The Orphan Collector” has written an enthralling, memorable, riveting, captivating, intense, intriguing, heart-breaking, and thought-provoking novel. The genres for this novel are Historical Fiction, Fiction, with Suspense. The timeline for this novel is around 1918 and goes to the past when it pertains to the events or characters. The story takes place mostly in Philadelphia during the deadly Spanish Flu Pandemic and around the time of World War One. The author describes her characters as complex and complicated. There are contrasts between good and evil, wealth and poverty, and helpful people vs. those who use the circumstances for their own benefits or believes. This was also a time of fear, and bigotry against immigrants.The author describes her dramatic characters as trying to survive terrible obstacles. Between the epidemic of the flu, poverty, loss of family, and war these were tragic times. Some people were brave, courageous, and kind, and other people were mean-spirited, selfish, and bigoted. Many were frightened.Ellen Marie Wiseman vividly describes the tragic pandemic and effects on families and society. Unfortunately, this hits so close to home today. I have fears of seeing how people behaved at the Philadelphia Parade and pray that this doesn’t happen again in modern times.Pia Lange is a German immigrant who lives in a poor area in Philadelphia. Her German father is fighting for the U.S. Army in the war. Pia is left with her two twin baby brothers and is forced to look for food. Bernice Groves is a widowed neighbor who has lost her baby to the Spanish Influenza. Bernice blames all the immigrants for her problems. Bernice sees Pia leave her apartment. Bernice comes up with an unscrupulous, immoral, and sinful plan, that affects so many lives.I highly recommend this thought-provoking and intriguing novel, especially for readers who enjoy Historical Fiction.
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  • Jackie
    January 1, 1970
    A first by me by this amazing author will not be my last. This book based on The Spanish Flu in 1918 in Philadelphia. I absolutely love historical books based on true events. This book is based also in my hometown and includes many places that were right down the street from me. Pia’s story of such sadness and amazing courage during such a tragic moment in life brought me to tears. Once her mother died suddenly she had to care for her 2 infant twin brothers with no means to do so as they were po A first by me by this amazing author will not be my last. This book based on The Spanish Flu in 1918 in Philadelphia. I absolutely love historical books based on true events. This book is based also in my hometown and includes many places that were right down the street from me. Pia’s story of such sadness and amazing courage during such a tragic moment in life brought me to tears. Once her mother died suddenly she had to care for her 2 infant twin brothers with no means to do so as they were poor immigrants. On her search for food she becomes sick and her brothers seem lost forever. Pia is put into a unkind orphanage and lives every day looking for the brothers she lost. She comes across a strange nurse whose own story is similar as she lost her husband and infant to this terrible sickness. Years go by and Pia is finally placed in a home with a family that loves her. Pia and the nurse Bernice have more things in common and find that they will forever be intwined together. This story is of a true historical event with fictional characters and a story that will pull your soul. I read this book just weeks after the epidemic of COVID 19 facing my beautiful city and the entire world. I did not feel triggered by reading this book during this time of crisis in the world as the knowledge and historical events of the past showed me to have faith and how far our world has come in medical advancement by the day. I won’t let what is going on stop my love of reading historical books or events and recommend others don’t let it stop them from reading this book either. I loved it and highly recommend this book to all lovers of historical and mystery novels! I found a new favorite author and can’t wait to read all the books she wrote!! Thank you so much Kensington Publishing for my ARC copy in exchange for my honest review. All thoughts are mine and mine alone.
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  • Marilyn
    January 1, 1970
    One Child's Moving and Heartfelt Story During the Spanish Flu EpidemicI have read several of Ellen Marie Wiseman's books over the years, so when I saw that she had written a new book I knew that I just had to own it and read it. Although it took an extraordinarily long time for this book to be delivered to my home, it was well worth the wait. Ellen Marie Wiseman's new book, The Orphan Collector, captured my attention from the very beginning. I could not put this book down. The timing of this nov One Child's Moving and Heartfelt Story During the Spanish Flu EpidemicI have read several of Ellen Marie Wiseman's books over the years, so when I saw that she had written a new book I knew that I just had to own it and read it. Although it took an extraordinarily long time for this book to be delivered to my home, it was well worth the wait. Ellen Marie Wiseman's new book, The Orphan Collector, captured my attention from the very beginning. I could not put this book down. The timing of this novel could not have been more coincidental. It coincided with the outbreak of the Coronavirus in the United States and worldwide. Although I heard the Coronavirus being compared to the Spanish Flu, I did not know a lot about the Spanish Flu and that time in our history. It was surely a very sad and devastating time. The way the Spanish flu attacked children, adults, families, babies and life in general will break your heart. The characters in The Orphan Collector were brilliantly developed and made a lasting impression on me. If you enjoy reading historical fiction that is well researched, The Orphan Collector will not disappoint. In my opinion, The Orphan Collector was Ellen Marie Wiseman's best book that I have read.Pia Lange was a thirteen year old girl when the Spanish Flu struck in September of 1918. She was living in the city of Philadelphia in the Fifth Ward. She was very poor. Pia lived with her Mutti (mother) and two twin baby brothers, Oliver and Maxwell or Ollie and Max for short. Her Vater (father) had enlisted in the army and was off fighting in the war. Pia's family had immigrated to the United States from Germany when she was a four year old girl. Since the war began, German-American citizens were not looked on kindly. Some companies even stopped employing Germans. Pia's Mutti lost her job at a textile mill as a result. With all the anti-German feelings Mutti tried very hard not to speak any German words in public. They did not have a lot of friends as a result. Everyone was wary of anyone from Germany that were now living in the United States. When Mutti heard about the Liberty Loan parade she was determined to attend. She knew she could not afford to buy Liberty loans or to give a donation to the Red Cross so this was the best way she could show her patriotism. Over 200,000 people gathered for the parade on that fateful day in 1918. Everyone was there to support the troops, buy war bonds and show their patriotism. The mayor had been warned to cancel the parade but he paid no mind to the warnings. The day before the parade it was reported that over 200 people had been admitted to the hospitals. Pia was gifted with the ability to detect illness. She was able to tell when someone was sick just by touching them. As Pia came into contact with several people during the parade she could sense that something was very wrong. Little did she know that her life would be altered drastically as a result of attending that parade.As tragedy hit Pia's family, Pia was forced to make extremely difficult decisions. The flu had taken Mutti's life. Mutti was dead. Ollie and Max were now dependent upon Pia for their care and survival. As their food dwindled and became non-existent, Pia had to decide if she should leave the apartment to look for food or wait for someone to come and help them. She was afraid the twins would starve. Her mind was made up. She would leave the twins in the apartment and go to find food. Her bravery, determination, resourcefulness and intuition were commendable. Pia had to make decisions that no thirteen year old child should have been forced to make. After finding and deciding on a safe place to leave Ollie and Max in their apartment, Pia set off to find food for them. Her plan was for her not to be out of the apartment for any significant length of time. She did not want to leave her brothers for longer than she had to. She was feeling guilty as it was for leaving her brothers in the cubby in her parent's bedroom. Pia knew that they would be safe there but she didn't like leaving them there. She had no choice. As kind, caring and accepting as Pia's Mutti had been, Pia's neighbor Bernice Groves was the exact opposite. Bernice was a twenty year old woman who had recently lost her husband in the war and tragically lost her infant son, Wallis, to the flu. Bernice lived on the same street as Pia but in a different building. She grieved for her son to the extent that she thought about ending her own life. Bernice's life was dominated by extreme prejudice. She could not tolerate the idea of so many poor immigrant families living in America and taking jobs away from "real" Americans. This hatred and bigotry led Bernice to do so many unspeakable things throughout the book. Bernice had no redeeming qualities. The Orphan Collector told the story of how so many children became orphaned during the Spanish flu epidemic. The orphans were not always treated so kindly. Many ended up in orphanages but others were sent on Orphan Trains to the west to live and work on farms. So many people struggled to feed their families and tried desperately to avoid the hands of the deadly flu. I learned so much about this time in our history. I came to love the characters of Pia, Finn and Dr. and Mrs. Hudson as I hope you will too after reading The Orphan Collector by Ellen Marie Wiseman. The descriptions throughout the book were detailed and really made this story easy to visualize. The themes in the story were numerous. It explored, above all, the tragedies associated with the Spanish flu, the fate of all the orphaned children, survival, determination, hope, love, kindness, and ultimately never to give up on something you believe in and want so badly. Following Pia along her moving and perilous journey in 1918 made me very emotional. I cried, smiled, laughed, became angry and sad. Ellen Marie Wiseman's writing was well-researched and masterful. This was one of my favorite books I have read this year. The Orphan Collector will be published on July 28, 2020. I highly recommend this book.I received a complimentary copy of The Orphan Collector in a Bookish First raffle using my own points to obtain it. A special thank you to Vida Engstrand, Director of Communications at Kennsington Publishing Corp. for sending me a special boxed edition of this book when the book I won never came, Ellen Marie Wiseman, Kennsington Publishing Corporation and to Bookish First. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.
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  • Jane
    January 1, 1970
    The Orphan Collector by Ellen Marie Wiseman is Historical Fiction about the Spanish Flu and World War I that took place over a hundred years ago. Realistic descriptions of sounds, sights and smells of a plague with cries to bring out your dead to be picked up by collectors. All of these deaths at the same time as World War I, another tragedy of death that impacted so many. People take advantage of others in unexpected ways especially the weak and orphans. Evil and greed abound with an ease that The Orphan Collector by Ellen Marie Wiseman is Historical Fiction about the Spanish Flu and World War I that took place over a hundred years ago. Realistic descriptions of sounds, sights and smells of a plague with cries to bring out your dead to be picked up by collectors. All of these deaths at the same time as World War I, another tragedy of death that impacted so many. People take advantage of others in unexpected ways especially the weak and orphans. Evil and greed abound with an ease that seems unimaginable. I did not want this book to end because the history, woven into the character’s stories, seemed very real. I especially enjoyed the historical information, research notes and suggested reading.What a pleasure to be an early reader of this newest historical fiction by Ellen Marie Wiseman. Don’t miss any of her books if you love historical fiction. I highly recommend every book she has written.I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own. I appreciate the opportunity and thank the author and publisher for allowing me to read, enjoy and review this book. 5 Stars
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  • N
    January 1, 1970
    The Orphan Collector by author Ellen Marie Wiseman chronicles the devastation of the Spanish flu in 1918 Philadelphia. Many men were overseas fighting in WWI in Europe. Many of them were immigrants trying to prove their patriotism and commitment to the country. This left many families fending for themselves including Pia Lange and her family. This is a historical novel and in addition, a coming of age story. After the death of her mother from the flu Pia is left to care for her four month old tw The Orphan Collector by author Ellen Marie Wiseman chronicles the devastation of the Spanish flu in 1918 Philadelphia. Many men were overseas fighting in WWI in Europe. Many of them were immigrants trying to prove their patriotism and commitment to the country. This left many families fending for themselves including Pia Lange and her family. This is a historical novel and in addition, a coming of age story. After the death of her mother from the flu Pia is left to care for her four month old twin brothers. As the story evolves Pia becomes ill, ends up in an orphanage and eventually begins a quest to find her missing brothers. I couldn’t put this book down and finished it in one day. It is extremely immersive and is filled with everything you could want in a book......heartbreak, suspense, factual history, very believable characters, tears and triumphs. This is a great book and in my estimation I feel that it will be one of the best (if not the best) to come out this year. This was a win from BookishFirst and is an unbiased review. Thanks to Kensington Books for providing a copy and especially to Ellen Marie Wiseman for writing it.
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