Imagine yourself as a scared 4-year-old girl.
Your mother is dead.
Your father abandoned you and your brother.
You and your sibling are sent to separate orphanages.
Unfortunately, one of the "orphanages" is really just a front for a doctor to turn young kids into human guinea pigs.
You survive the horrors of the orphanage.
You become an adult.
As fate would have it, you cross paths with your tormentor. If given the chance, would you take a shot at revenge? Or would you learn to forgive? Nurse Rachel Rabinowitz is faced with that tough decision in Orphan #8 by Kim van Alkemade.
It's beyond disgusting to think doctors would use children for their medical experiments, but it happened. The Hebrew Orphan Asylum opened in the late 1800s and closed in 1941. Author Kim van Alkemade used the real-life experiences to create an engrossing piece of fiction.
In an instant, Rachel Rabinowitz and her brother, Sam, lose everything. Their parents, Visha and Harry, were once a happy couple. Harry paints himself as a family man, but when his lies are exposed they have deadly consequences. Rachel is deeply attached to her parents. She's deeply attached to Sam. The family knows how to calm her down. The family knows how to show her love. What will happen when all of that is taken away. A social worker tried her best to to keep the kids together, but to no avail. The orphanage Rachel is sent to is nothing but a sham. Each child that comes in is just another test subject, yet the outside world doesn't know what's really going on.
Rachel went in healthy, but came out scarred physically, mentally, and emotionally. When she ages out of the home, and is reunited with Sam at another orphanage, Rachel's life isn't much better. As an adult, she seems to have it together. She becomes a nurse, working at a rest home. As fate would have it, Dr. Mildred Solomon -- the leader of all the experiments -- ends up as one of Rachel's patients. At first glance, Rachel isn't sure who the doctor is but can't shake the feeling that she knows this person. When she knows for sure, Rachel is faced with a tough choice. Revenge? Or forgiveness?
The book alternates between the past and present. The book slows down a little, when veering off to Rachel's love life. The book still would have been good without it. Some parts were hard to read. Some parts made me mad. My modern brain can't fathom incidents like this. But I'm a fan of historical fiction, so of course I kept going. It's an emotional roller coaster, but it's worth it. Start reading!
Note: I received a copy of the book from the publisher (HarperCollins) as part of a blog tour with TLC Book Tours.