Pam Jenoff is the international bestselling author of several novels, including The Kommandant’s Girl (MIRA), a finalist for the Quill awards and shortlisted for the Sophie Brody Medal for Jewish Literature. Jenoff’s newest book, The Orphan’s Tale (MIRA) will debut February 2017.
The Orphan’s Tale is a powerful novel of friendship and sacrifice, set in a traveling circus during World War II. Sixteen-year-old Noa has been cast out in disgrace after becoming pregnant by a Nazi soldier during the occupation of her native Holland. Heartbroken over the loss of the baby she was forced to give up for adoption, she lives above a small German rail station, which she cleans in order to earn her keep. When Noa discovers a boxcar containing dozens of Jewish infants, unknown children ripped from their parents and headed for a concentration camp, she is reminded of the baby that was taken from her. In a moment that will change the course of her life, she rescues one of the babies and flees into the snowy night, where she is rescued by a German circus. The circus owner offers to teach Noa the flying trapeze act so she can blend in undetected, spurning the resentment of the lead aerialist, Astrid. At first rivals, Noa and Astrid soon forge a powerful bond. But as the facade that protects them proves increasingly tenuous, Noa and Astrid must decide whether their unlikely friendship is enough to save one another—or if the secrets that burn between them will destroy everything.
Jenoff speaks across the country to various audiences, including community reads programs, libraries and friends of library patrons, reading groups, Jewish organizations, women’s clubs, literary events, historical societies, conferences, and more. She earned her Juris Doctor degree from the University of Pennsylvania, her Masters degree in history from Cambridge University and her Bachelors degree in international affairs from The George Washington University. Jenoff served as the Special Assistant to the Secretary of the Army at the Pentagon and as a Foreign Service Officer with the U.S. State Department. She has also worked as an attorney at a large firm and in-house.
Currently, Jenoff lives outside Philadelphia with her husband and three children and is on the faculty of Rutgers School of Law.
Praise for The Orphan’s Tale:
“I read this novel in a headlong rush, transported by the relationship between two vastly different women during World War II: a Jewish circus aerialist and a teenage runaway with a baby. Deftly juggling secrets, lies, treachery, and passion, Pam Jenoff vividly brings to life the agonizing choices and life-or-death consequences for a hardy band of travelers under Nazi occupation.”
--Christina Baker Kline, New York Times bestselling author of Orphan Train
"In prose that is beautiful, ethereal, and poignant, The Orphan's Tale is a novel you won't be able to put down."
“A gripping story about the power of friendship to save and redeem even in the darkest of circumstances, The Orphan's Tale sheds light on one of the most colorful and inspiring stories of heroism in Nazi Germany. This is a book not to be missed." --Melanie Benjamin, New York Times bestselling author of The Swans of Fifth Avenue and The Aviator's Wife
“Jenoff expertly performs a pirouetting tale worthy of a standing ovation. A circus of hidden Jews, a powerful friendship, The Orphan's Tale proves that the human spirit defies hate, fear, and gravity with a triumphant ta-da!"
--Sarah McCoy, New York Times bestselling author of The Mapmaker's Children
“The Orphan's Tale is a wonderfully compelling story set in Europe under the Nazis, and with a beautiful, complicated friendship between two women at its heart. The story grips from the very first page, and the characters are utterly believable-flawed, yet capable of great generosity and courage, so the darkness of the setting is pierced by shafts of light. And the atmosphere of the circus is entrancing-so vividly evoked that you can smell the animals and feel all the terror and thrill of the flying trapeze."
--Margaret Leroy, author of The Soldier's Wife
“The Orphan's Tale begins with the most riveting first chapter I've ever read. With deftness and emotion, Jenoff sets in motion a compelling story of friendship and courage during the Second World War."
--Charles Belfoure, author of The Paris Architect and House of Thieves
“A beautiful and heart wrenching novel that weaves the story of two women's fight for survival against incredible odds, The Orphan's Tale gripped me from the first page. Jenoff mesmerizes with her ability to weave in historical detail with a story that explores love, friendship, and the endurance of the human spirit. A marvelous and satisfying read!"
--Alyson Richman,bestselling author of The Lost Wife