Orphan Number Eight

Orphan Number Eight Review

In this stunning new historical novel inspired by true events, Kim van Alkemade tells the fascinating story of a woman who must choose between revenge and mercy when she encounters the doctor who subjected her to dangerous medical experiments in a New York City Jewish orphanage years before.

In 1919, Rachel Rabinowitz is a vivacious four-year-old living with her family in a crowded tenement on New York City’s Lower Eastside. When tragedy strikes, Rachel is separated from her brother Sam and sent to a Jewish orphanage where Dr. Mildred Solomon is conducting medical research. Subjected to X-ray treatments that leave her disfigured, Rachel suffers years of cruel harassment from the other orphans. But when she turns fifteen, she runs away to Colorado hoping to find the brother she lost and discovers a family she never knew she had.

Though Rachel believes she’s shut out her painful childhood memories, years later she is confronted with her dark past when she becomes a nurse at Manhattan’s Old Hebrews Home and her patient is none other than the elderly, cancer-stricken Dr. Solomon. Rachel becomes obsessed with making Dr. Solomon acknowledge, and pay for, her wrongdoing. But each passing hour Rachel spends with the old doctor reveal to Rachel the complexities of her own nature. She realizes that a person’s fate—to be one who inflicts harm or one who heals—is not always set in stone.

Lush in historical detail, rich in atmosphere and based on true events, Orphan #8 is a powerful, affecting novel of the unexpected choices we are compelled to make that can shape our destinies.

Title:Orphan Number Eight
Edition Language:English

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    Orphan Number Eight Reviews

  • v

    On the back cover the publisher describes this as "A stunning debut novel of historical fiction set in the forgotten world of New York City's Jewish orphanages". And while this novel does deliver a de...

  • Angela M

    A book inspired by true events is always intriguing to me because as I'm reading it I can't help but wonder about the specifics . Who of the characters is based on real people and how much of the plot...

  • Nancy

    Great historical snapshot of orphanages and the medical experimentation occurring on the orphans at the time. Told in two timelines; when Rachel is 4 and enters the orphanage and experimentation begin...

  • Jennifer

    Orphan #8 is a standalone, historical fiction novel written by English professor and now author: Kim van Alkemade. This is her first published novel. The synopsis of Orphan #8 immediately intrigued me...

  • Ashley

    I really enjoy historical fiction books that expose me to real history I never knew about. I can't say that I'm surprised that medical professionals exploited orphans for medical research. It's much e...

  • Alison

    Seems to me that the jacket summary of a book should include the major themes of the book, but this one does not. The fact there is a major lesbian story line in this book isn't a spoiler but should b...

  • Raven Haired Girl

    I was hoping the narrative would concentrate primarily on Dr Solomon and Rachel’s encounter along with flashbacks to her orphanage days, instead it laid a heavier hand on Rachel and her relationship...

  • Amy

    Although I give credit to van Alkemade for bringing history to light, this book would have been so much better in the hands of an author such as Kristin Hannah or Jodi Picoult - an author who can tell...

  • Connie G

    Author Kim van Alkemade was researching her own family history when she came across a purchase for wigs for eight young children who had lost their hair after X-ray treatments in a New York Jewish orp...

  • Maya White-Lurie

    Though I was initially startled by the switch in point of view, the narrative has great flow. Characters are complex, and I was kept in suspense.Also, it's excellent to see some lesbian representation...