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Summary

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 thrilling novel as suspenseful as it is poignant, set amid one of history's deadliest pandemics. 

In the fall of 1918, 13-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 US 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.

©2020 Ellen Marie Wiseman (P)2020 Recorded Books

What listeners say about The Orphan Collector

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kept on reading

loved it.... kept me gripped throughout the book to find out what is about to happen next and whether she will find her brothers.

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  • Nicole Newman
  • 06-08-20

Author is an AMAZING storyteller!

I have read all of Ellen’s books and each one is fantastic. What I love about this book in particular, is that she kept expanding the storyline. I never could predict what would come next. I wish this book would turn into a movie.

17 people found this helpful

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  • Paula W
  • 13-12-20

Excellent story

I enjoyed this story immensely, perhaps because the main character, Pia, was the same age and nationality as my mother in 1918. The story brought to life some of the memories that my mother had shared with me, including how her own German family and a neighboring Irish family worked together to keep both families safe in Connecticut. This story had a well written plot, and strong characters that practically leapt to life off the pages. It was especially poignant to read during the COVID-19 pandemic of 2020.

15 people found this helpful

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  • S Clements
  • 11-12-20

Great story but narrator struggled

The narrator has a lovely voice but there were numerous instances when it clearly sounded as though she was reading a script, turning pages, or lost her place. It was distracting

11 people found this helpful

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  • Dolly Ferguson
  • 06-01-21

Too slow...

I couldn't get into the story...just felt like the story would never truly start... Ended up returning this title. Maybe if I could have survived a bit further, it would have kept my attention.

10 people found this helpful

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  • Texanna Bossoff
  • 15-02-21

Worst Book Ever!

The narrator was terrible and and sounded like a child learning how to read with awkward pauses everywhere! The story so ridiculous and so repetitive. You could play a drinking game or bingo with all of the repetitiveness! No wonder it was on sale for $6! Don't waste a credit on this book!

8 people found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 26-05-21

Don’t waste your time or money!

I was so disappointed in this book! Due to the Covid-19 pandemic of 2020, I was interested in what happened in 1918 with the Spanish flu. Instead this book is overly dramatic at every turn and gives a constant barrage of Anti-immigrant lecturing from the so-called Good American “heroine” in the story, who is so despicable it is difficult to continue reading the book. I’m not sure if there was an intended underlying theme of of showing how prejudice Americans are or if this aspect was thrown in, but whatever it was, it did not help make this book a good one. The worst book I’ve “read” in awhile.

6 people found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 04-11-20

A great (and timely) read

I chose this book as it was our book club selection, and I’m glad I did. The story was fascinating, with enough historical fact to make it plausible and frightening. The reader did a phenomenal job: her voice was never annoying or tedious, and I enjoyed her rendition.

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  • MaryAnn
  • 17-08-20

I learned a lot about the 1917 Spanish Flu. It’s surprising how

One recognizes things from today. The fear, the isolation. Of corse 1917 was much worse than anything we’ve ever experienced.
The narrator was exceptionally good. The main character goes through hell but the Ms Botchan manages to keep the story moving along despite having to struggle intensely just to stay alive.

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  • A concerned consumer
  • 13-08-20

read it

this book was heartbreakingly wonderful, I didn't want it to end. the narration was perfect, this book will haunt me for quite some time. Would be an excellent movie

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  • Audrey Rohde
  • 18-05-21

Author must be a relative of Dr Fauci and Karl Marx!

How odd to read such a blatant propaganda piece trying to persuade the uninformed using the critical race theory ad nauseum! And just like Covid’s fake death numbers the Spanish flu story later revealed a large number of deaths were caused by over prescribing fatal doses of aspirin and sick patients gulping down kerosene. Fear mongering at its worst!

2 people found this helpful