Orphan #8; Kim van Alkemade
William Morrow - 2015
The story centers around Rachel Rabinowitz who was placed in an orphanage, the Hebrew Infant for Jewish children, at the age of four in 1919 in NewYork City. Rachel was one of several children used in medical experiments by Dr. Mildred Soloman. Rachel is used as Dr. Soloman’s test case for new X-ray equipment. She’s continuously overexposed to radiation which left her bald, browless and disfigured. When she get’s a bit older she is sent to another home, the Orphaned Hebrews Home, where she is taunted by other children.
As an adult Rachel works in the nursing profession back in New York. As a nurse at the Hebrew home for the elderly she crosses paths with Dr. Soloman who now happens to reside there. Forced to relive the past Rachel must decide whether to make peace with the past or seek revenge.
I’m not a huge fan of historical novels but, coming of age and orphan stories do have some appeal with me. Overall, Orphan #8 a tough read. In retrospect, I should have picked a more upbeat story. This one just made me angry at times especially after learning that it was in part based on true happenings.
(print version sent by publisher)