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.
Sabrina-Kate - 4 Star
This book was not my usual fare though I felt myself compelled to keep reading and very much drawn into this novel based on actual events. I have always been a person interested in the psychological aspect of life and specifically how our childhoods shape us, so this book greatly interested me as it showed how the main character, Rachel developed over time.
The story bounces back and forth as does a typical story of this genre, which I enjoy quite a bit since it gives a good perspective on things. The story was easy to follow along despite the back and forth which I felt was the only way that this story could have been told properly in my opinion.
Having learnt that this was based on actual historical events broke my heart somewhat as I cannot imagine being an orphan and also having to go through what Rachel and the other children did. I find it amazing how resilient humans are and what they can accomplish despite great tragedy which this book strongly illustrated.
A heartwrenching, captivating utterly compelling book, I could not put it down and would recommend it to anyone who has a heart and doesn't mind shedding a tear or two.
Thank you to William Morrow for our review copy. All opinions are our own.
Connect with Kim van Alkemade: