The Tuesday Afternoon Book Club read a timely book about an epidemic – not what we’ve experienced the last two years – but the 1918 Spanish Flu Epidemic.
Ellen Marie Wiseman has written a page turning novel set in Philadelphia in 1918 – “The Orphan Collector”. It tells of 13 year old German immigrant, Pia Lange. She is struggling to keep her family together after her father enlists in the U S Army hoping to prove his loyalty at a time of anti-German sentiment in the country. But while he is gone, the deadly Spanish Influenza attacks the city spreading quickly. Soon dead and dying are everywhere. After Pia’s mother dies, Pia must venture out in search of food and supplies for her infant twin brothers.
The book also tells of Bernice Grove who is grieving the death of her baby, just days ago. When Bernice sees Pia leave her tenement across the street, she makes a decision that will lead her on a mission one couldn’t imagine. She uses the hardships and grief of the Epidemic for her own benefit.
The book takes us to the orphanages and streets of Philadelphia 100 years ago. It shares not only the grief of death but the issues of immigrants and the horrors of illness in 1918. Pia’s strength helps her to put the pieces of her life back together.
Pick up this well researched historical novel at the LeRoy Public Library. You won’t want to put it down