Title: The Orphan Collector
Author: Ellen Marie Wiseman
ARC provided by the publisher through BookishFirst.
The Orphan Collector is a captivating story about the Spanish Influenza outbreak of 1918, and eerily timely giving the events of today. The author weaves together a story that is poignant, heartbreaking, and thrilling. I was absolutely glued to the pages and found it difficult to put the book down.
“A hollow draft of fear swept through her. It felt like the end of the world.”
Many of the events that occur during this time period are, unfortunately, relevant to the events going on around the world regarding COVID-19. When I first read the excerpt of The Orphan Collector on BookishFirst back in March, it felt like some of the passages could have been pulled from current headlines, and it sent chills down my spine.
“The churches and schools are to be closed. All places for gathering, even the factories and moving picture houses, will not be open. No funerals are to be allowed either. Many people are getting sick, so everyone is to stay home.”
It was impossible not to feel for Pia. The poor girl knows nothing but hardship and heartbreak from the first chapter of this book. Just when you think things are about to get better, another wrench is thrown into her search for her twin brothers. I wanted nothing more to than to have her happy and reunited with her loved ones by the end of the book, and while it wasn’t all sunshines and daisies, I do believe she is give the (mostly) happy ending that she deserved.
The book is also told through the point of view of Bernice, a grieving mother. As a reader, we start out feeling sorry for her situation, but very quickly those feelings change. I can honestly say I don’t think I’ve hated a character as much as I hated Bernice. I must give kudos to the author for writing such a well-written villain.
The Orphan Collector is an extremely poignant and vivid recollection of one the worst periods of time. Ellen Marie Wiseman excelled at writing the story in a way that the fear and confusion were palpable to the reader. I highly recommend this book to any fan of historical fiction. You will not be disappointed by Pia Lange’s journey.