The Orphan Collector
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 Books
ISBN-139781496715869
Rating
GenreHistorical, Historical Fiction, Fiction, Adult Fiction, Suspense, Adult, Literature, 20th Century, Young Adult, Coming Of Age, Audiobook, Novels

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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  • Jennifer ~ TarHeelReader
    January 1, 1970
    When I was first offered this book, the coronavirus was barely a blip on the news. I don’t think I ever imagined how Covid 19 would affect our lives months later and continue to do so. I will be honest. I was hesitant to pick this book up, thinking it would hit close to home, but then I remembered that I’ve read other books by Wiseman. They are all sensitively told, and I got started with it. I think the historical time period of 1918 Philadelphia distinguishes it from what we experiencing now; When I was first offered this book, the coronavirus was barely a blip on the news. I don’t think I ever imagined how Covid 19 would affect our lives months later and continue to do so. I will be honest. I was hesitant to pick this book up, thinking it would hit close to home, but then I remembered that I’ve read other books by Wiseman. They are all sensitively told, and I got started with it. I think the historical time period of 1918 Philadelphia distinguishes it from what we experiencing now; however, the similarities were not lost on me. Make sure to swipe to see the fun and creative swag.Pia is a German immigrant living with her family in Philadelphia. Her father joined the army in hopes of proving his loyalty in the face anti-German sentiment at the time. The Spanish flu is rapidly spreading through the streets of Philadelphia, and Pia and her siblings are starving. When she returns home, her siblings are gone, taken by someone who wants to make them into “true Americans.”The Orphan Collector is a heartwrenching story. Bernice, the character involved in sinister actions, is a villain to match all villains. This is a book about family and love versus hate, and it has touches of mystery and romance. Pia is a character to cherish and champion, and overall, I enjoyed this beautifully-written book.I received a gifted copy. All opinions are my own.Many of my reviews can also be found on my blog: www.jennifertarheelreader.com and instagram: www.instagram.com/tarheelreader
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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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  • Angela M
    January 1, 1970
    3.5 stars. I had a feeling that a book about the Spanish Flu epidemic of 1918 wasn’t going to be an easy one to read during the current pandemic and that may be why I put off reading it. It was definitely difficult, not just because some things sounded eerily familiar, but because most of the story is pretty bleak and there are some pretty gruesome scenes. Wiseman Paints this bleak picture of the impact of the Spanish Flu epidemic in Philadelphia, in particular on an impoverished neighborhood wh 3.5 stars. I had a feeling that a book about the Spanish Flu epidemic of 1918 wasn’t going to be an easy one to read during the current pandemic and that may be why I put off reading it. It was definitely difficult, not just because some things sounded eerily familiar, but because most of the story is pretty bleak and there are some pretty gruesome scenes. Wiseman Paints this bleak picture of the impact of the Spanish Flu epidemic in Philadelphia, in particular on an impoverished neighborhood where many immigrants live. The focus of the story is on a young German immigrant girl, Pia, who out of desperation to find food for her baby brothers, leaves them in their apartment alone. Every possible thing goes wrong that one could imagine. Pia falls ill with the flu before she can get back to her twin brothers and they are gone when she is able to return. There’s another character who acts out of desperation, a desperation that comes from another place, one tinged with cruelty. Pia’s journey over the years is a sad one, filled with suspense and a mystery to solve as she never gives up on her search for her brothers.The story has a number of facets. It’s a depiction of a time and place where immigrants are not seen in the best light. It’s a historical look at a pandemic that ravaged so many lives. It’s a coming of age story of a resilient girl,a character to be remembered. While Wiseman says that the specifics of the story are imagined, it reminded me in a way of Before We Were Yours, which is based on true events. In her notes, Wiseman lists her sources and the novel appears to be very well researched. I have read several of Wiseman’s books and she doesn’t shy away from the difficult, the cruel, sometimes the gritty side of life and always taps into the emotional with characters that we can feel for. A little off of my rating of 4 stars because there were times when I felt it got a little melodramatic, but I rounded up because I had tears in my eyes when I read the last pages. Had to round up. I received a copy of this book from Kensington Books through NetGalley and Edelweiss.
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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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  • Rebecca
    January 1, 1970
    Set during the 1918 Spanish Flu epidemic, 13 year old German immigrant Pia must care for her twin baby brothers after her mom dies mere hours after showing flu symptoms. Meanwhile, neighbor Bernice is overcome with grief and anger after the loss of her baby son, Wallis, and makes a couple of rash, disturbing decisions that forever alter the lives of herself, Pia, and countless others. "When the flu first broke out, it was a horrible, terrifying time. It felt like the world was coming to an end." Set during the 1918 Spanish Flu epidemic, 13 year old German immigrant Pia must care for her twin baby brothers after her mom dies mere hours after showing flu symptoms. Meanwhile, neighbor Bernice is overcome with grief and anger after the loss of her baby son, Wallis, and makes a couple of rash, disturbing decisions that forever alter the lives of herself, Pia, and countless others. "When the flu first broke out, it was a horrible, terrifying time. It felt like the world was coming to an end."Well, wow. With the current COVID-19 pandemic, we can all relate to that quote; am I right? It felt almost surreal reading this book as the parallels to the current pandemic are astounding: racism, anti-maskers, gathering areas closed, misinformation, etc. Just like real life, this book provided a look at both the evil and the good that exists in human nature. Parts made me tear up but overall, it's a timely and endearing story of love, hope, and resilience during hard times. Lastly, for even more information about the Spanish Flu, be sure to read the discussion questions at the end.If you enjoyed this book, then I would highly recommend What She Left Behind (4 stars) by the same author about the horrific conditions at asylums in the 1930s. If you're looking for another book about the Spanish Flu, then I would highly recommend As Bright as Heaven (4.5 stars) by Susan Meissner.Location: 1918 Philadelphia, PennsylvaniaI received an advance copy of this book. All opinions are my own.
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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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  • Penny lurkykitty
    January 1, 1970
    The Orphan Collector begins with the Liberty Loan Parade in the city of Philadelphia in 1918. Pia, a 13 year-old German immigrant attends the parade with her mother and twin baby brothers, while her father fights in the war overseas. Her mother subsequently succumbs to influenza which has been ravaging the city. Pia attempts to survive with her brothers in their apartment until their food runs out. She leaves to get food, intending to be gone only a short time, while the babies remain in the apa The Orphan Collector begins with the Liberty Loan Parade in the city of Philadelphia in 1918. Pia, a 13 year-old German immigrant attends the parade with her mother and twin baby brothers, while her father fights in the war overseas. Her mother subsequently succumbs to influenza which has been ravaging the city. Pia attempts to survive with her brothers in their apartment until their food runs out. She leaves to get food, intending to be gone only a short time, while the babies remain in the apartment. Pia falls ill with the flu and is taken to a church. When Pia leaves, her neighbor Bernice Groves, who has recently lost her own baby to the flu, decides to take Pia's brothers. The story focuses on Pia's long journey to find her brothers, through her recovery from the flu, her stay at an orphanage and at a family's home. The parallel story is that of the bigoted and xenophobic Bernice who commits heinous acts with regard to the city's immigrant children. The Orphan Collector is well-written, emotional and suspenseful. The characters are created with depth and complexity. The story is so relevant to today's pandemic in terms of the loss and devastation caused by the virus, compounded b social injustice and poverty. The themes of prejudice and xenophobia are also echoed in today's events. The Orphan Collector is a must-read.
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  • Mairy
    January 1, 1970
    ExceptionalThis book was beyond anything I ever imagined. I am so full of emotions as I have just finished reading it. It is July 2020 and I couldn’t help comparing and contrasting the 1918 epidemic with what we are experiencing now.The characters were all written so perfectly, some I was absolutely in love with like protagonist Pia Lange or the Hudsons, others I just despised beyond words could ever explain (Nurse Wallis). It’s going to take a while to get over this novel. I recommend to anyone ExceptionalThis book was beyond anything I ever imagined. I am so full of emotions as I have just finished reading it. It is July 2020 and I couldn’t help comparing and contrasting the 1918 epidemic with what we are experiencing now.The characters were all written so perfectly, some I was absolutely in love with like protagonist Pia Lange or the Hudsons, others I just despised beyond words could ever explain (Nurse Wallis). It’s going to take a while to get over this novel. I recommend to anyone enjoying the historical fiction genre.Thank you Goodreads and Kensington Books for this e-ARC in exchange for my honest review.
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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!
  • 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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  • 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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  • Cheryle
    January 1, 1970
    Go out right now and purchase this book! The author instantly transports the reader to an earlier time and place and does so with great descriptions. Philadelphia in 1918 becomes what is familiar to todays reader, a virus pandemic which is killing people instantly and with no respect to class or money. Thousands of immigrants from many countries have flocked to Philadelphia for work. They live in the tenement houses and struggle to make ends meet. Pia's family immigrated from Germany and many lo Go out right now and purchase this book! The author instantly transports the reader to an earlier time and place and does so with great descriptions. Philadelphia in 1918 becomes what is familiar to todays reader, a virus pandemic which is killing people instantly and with no respect to class or money. Thousands of immigrants from many countries have flocked to Philadelphia for work. They live in the tenement houses and struggle to make ends meet. Pia's family immigrated from Germany and many look down on them as lower class. Pia's father has enlisted in the military and has been sent to France leaving behind his wife, daughter Pia, and twin sons who are four months old. The mother is suddenly striken with the flu and dies leaving Pia to try to keep them alive. In desperation she goes in search of food leaving the twins locked in a cubby in the bedroom so they will not get hurt. While knocking on doors with no response to her pleas for food she also becomes sick with the flu. She is taken to a hospital and she eventually regains her health. But she has the guilt of leaving the twins for so long and goes back to their apartment only to find someone else living there and no twins. Pia's neighbor, who has a hatred for immigrants, has found the twins and has moved with them to another part of town. She hopes to replace her son who has died of the flu. Her motives and the unspeakable things she does takes up most of the remaining part of the books. We also follow Pia who is taken to an orphanage and eventually is endentured to a wealthy family where she is to help take care of their children.This book really pulls the reader in to the story and is one you don't want to put down until you find out what happens to each of the characters. This author has a tremendous talent to take difficult situations and in difficult times to show the human spirit of love, determination, and grit.
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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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  • 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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  • 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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  • Barbara White
    January 1, 1970
    Ellen Marie Wiseman's skill is to transport you into a dark moment in history and take you on a suspenseful journey set against tragedy and brutality, but filled with hope and courageous characters. Thirteen-year-old Pia Lange, the heroine of THE ORPHAN COLLECTOR, might be the bravest of them all. Even when she has lost everything, and is filled with self-recrimination, she never sees herself as a victim. She is a true survivor with a huge heart.When we meet Pia, she has already learned to conce Ellen Marie Wiseman's skill is to transport you into a dark moment in history and take you on a suspenseful journey set against tragedy and brutality, but filled with hope and courageous characters. Thirteen-year-old Pia Lange, the heroine of THE ORPHAN COLLECTOR, might be the bravest of them all. Even when she has lost everything, and is filled with self-recrimination, she never sees herself as a victim. She is a true survivor with a huge heart.When we meet Pia, she has already learned to conceal her difference, both as an immigrant and as someone with an unwanted, clairvoyant gift that means she avoids touching people. Pia and her mother are trying to raise Pia's baby twin brothers in the slums of Philadelphia while her father is away fighting the war (to prove his patriotism as a German immigrant). But it's September 1918, and when the Spanish flu ravages the city and takes her mother, Pia is forced to shelter-in-place and care for her brothers with no help. When supplies run out, she makes the life-altering decision to venture beyond their tiny apartment in search of food, but leave the babies behind--somewhere safe. Unbeknown to Pia, her bitter and grieving neighbor, Beatrice, who is mourning the death of her family and blames Pia's father for taking her husband's job, watches Pia leave. What kind of mother would let her child go out alone? Where are the babies? As Beatrice investigates, she makes her own life-altering decision: to collect immigrant orphans and children and turn them into true Americans. She starts with Pia's brothers.The two storylines cross and collide as Pia refuses to give up the search for her brothers, despite the brutality she faces in an orphanage, and Beatrice will go to any lengths to protect her own secrets. Especially from Pia. The suspense builds to a heart-thumping, emotional climax and leaves you with an unforgettable story. I would give this more than 5 stars if I could.
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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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  • Janis Alberry
    January 1, 1970
    Another Ellen Marie Wiseman novel. I was fortunate enough to get the advanced copy of this from the author. I can't thank her enough!! What I can tell you is to order this book NOW. Right from page one Ellen grabs your emotions and takes them on a full journey of pain, compassion, fear, and the unknown. This time frame is during the Spanish Influenza of 1918. Knowing the author did so much research (it shows!!) the past couple of years for this novel, it will absolutely floor you the similaritie Another Ellen Marie Wiseman novel. I was fortunate enough to get the advanced copy of this from the author. I can't thank her enough!! What I can tell you is to order this book NOW. Right from page one Ellen grabs your emotions and takes them on a full journey of pain, compassion, fear, and the unknown. This time frame is during the Spanish Influenza of 1918. Knowing the author did so much research (it shows!!) the past couple of years for this novel, it will absolutely floor you the similarities between then and today's COVID pandemic that she includes as if she wrote this yesterday. Even hatred for the human race than may not be exactly like yourself, being in a non-escaping situation during a killer virus, and how we can learn from a 13 year old woman-child that is stronger & more adept than most adults. BUY THE BOOK!!!
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