Orphan #8: A Novel (Paperback)

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Liberty Bay Books - Poulsbo
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August 2015 Indie Next List


“In 1919, tragedy strikes in New York City and four-year-old Rachel is separated from her brother Sam and sent to a Jewish orphanage, where Dr. Mildred Solomon, in the name of research, subjects her to experiments with X-rays, leaving Rachel disfigured, bald, and the brunt of cruelty by other orphans. To Dr. Solomon, Rachel is just a number, Orphan Number Eight. Years later the tables are turned when Dr. Solomon ends up with cancer and reliant on morphine in Manhattan's Old Hebrews Home, where Rachel is the attending nurse. Will Rachel take her revenge or treat her patient with mercy? This powerful and stunning debut, based on a little-known true story, will remain with readers long after the last page is turned.”
— Karen Briggs (W), Great Northern Books and Hobbies, Oscoda, MI

Description


New York Times and USA Today Bestseller

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.

About the Author


Kim van Alkemade was born in New York. Her creative nonfiction has appeared in literary journals including Alaska Quarterly Review, So to Speak, and CutBank. She teaches writing at Shippensburg University of Pennsylvania.

Praise For…


“Kim van Alkemade has moxie. In her provocative novel, family is saturated with betrayal, care is interrupted by ambition and desire, and the past is intimately explored, invoking the abandoned child in all of us. Orphan # 8 brims with complicated passions and pitch-perfect historical details. A riveting, memorable debut.”
— Catherine Zobal Dent, author of Unfinished Stories of Girls

“Inspired by actual events, van Alkemade crafts a powerful story of festering vengeance and redemption that touches readers on many levels. Alkemade has managed to incorporate many emotions into her thoughtful debut, emotions that linger long after the last page is turned.”
— RT Book Reviews

“This book is utterly unputdownable. At once atmospheric, disturbing and absolutely engrossing, it poses a host of moral questions; I fully anticipate that it will become popular with book clubs.”
— Historical Novels Review

“A sure book club pick and a strong debut, this title functions well on multiple levels and will appeal to a broad readership.”
— Lambda Literary Review

Even non-aficionados of historical fiction will find much to savor in this remarkable novel. Its themes and artistry will linger in reader memory. Orphan #8 is a remarkable work, well rooted in some little-known history... a broad landscape of issues, superbly rendered.
— GLBT Reviews, American Library Association's LGBT Round Table

“…van Alkemade succeeds in bringing to light a fascinating and little-known chapter of history...she vividly chronicles her heroine’s pain, resilience and capacity to be honest with those who loved her, with those who betrayed her, and ultimately with herself.”
— Lillith Magazine


Product Details
ISBN: 9780062338303
ISBN-10: 0062338307
Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks
Publication Date: August 4th, 2015
Pages: 416
Language: English