This is historical fiction at its best! Set during the Spanish flu epidemic in the US in 1918, this book is hauntingly similar to what we're currently going through with the coronavirus - although the author finished it more than a year before COVID hit!
"The Orphan Collector" features a wonderful main character named Pia Lange, a 13-year-old German immigrant who faces incredible heartache when the flu hits Philadelphia where she lives with her mother and twin brothers (her father is fighting overseas in WWI). Once people begin dying around her, Pia is forced to make tough decisions to battle for her family's welfare. She's both smart and empathetic, making her the perfect narrator for the story. Her story is often tragic, but I loved that she never lost her will to fight.
I was completely captivated by this book - not only for the crazy similarities to our current story more than 100 years later (including a fight against a virus, rampant racism, and anti-immigrant sentiments), but also because Wiseman writes fiction like a suspense writer. Each chapter (even the particularly long ones) had me flipping pages to find out what would happen next to Pia and the other characters.
Any book that makes me want to stay up late reading is the sign of a great read - and "The Orphan Collector" made it almost impossible for me to turn my light off! I'm definitely recommending this one to everyone and I can't wait to read Wiseman's next book!
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