Pastel Orphans

  • by Gemma Liviero
  • Narrated by Whitney Dykhouse, Nick Podehl, Amy McFadden
  • 10 hrs and 7 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

In 1930s Berlin, young Henrik, the son of a Jewish father and Aryan mother, watches the world around him crumbling: people are rioting in the streets, a strange yellow star begins appearing in shop windows, and friends are forced to move - or they simply disappear.
After his father becomes gravely ill, Henrik and his little sister, Greta, are taken by their mother to Poland for safety. However, not even the pastoral surroundings of their new home can protect them from the terrors of war. When the Nazis invade and Greta is kidnapped, Henrik must shed his youthful innocence and search for his lost sister, a quest that will further reveal a harrowing landscape of violence and struggle - but also unexpected connections.
Uniquely told from the perspective of youth plunged into adult chaos, Pastel Orphans is a coming-of-age story that explores profound lessons in self-belief, kindness, and human endurance.
Revised edition: This edition of Pastel Orphans includes editorial revisions.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Powerful, tragic and beautiful story

Pastel orphans were children with strong Aryan appearances kidnapped by the Nazis for future breeding of the Aryan race.

This novel is about the Salomon family in Germany starting in 1931 and except for the final chapter ending at the end of WWII. The settings are Germany and Poland. The Salomon's are a German Jew husband, his German Aryan wife and their son Henrik and their daughter Greta. Henrik is 7 years older than Greta. Rebecca, a German Jewish girl who befriends Henrik, is also a main character. Greta, who resembles her Aryan mother with light skin, blond hair and blue eyes, is kidnapped by the Nazis and is one of the pastel orphans. The novel is beautifully written.

The story is told in the first person first of Henrik, then Rebecca, and finally Greta. The two women narrators are flawless. Nick Podehl, the voice of Henrik, takes on the almost impossible task of doing his voice from early childhood to early adulthood. Although I'm not particularly fond of the early childhood voice, Podehl does a remarkable job.

This is a great book for all ages from elementary school to age 100. I recommend this book without reservation.
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- Wayne "I love espionage, legal, and detective thrillers but listen to most genres. Very frequent reviews. No plot spoilers! Please excuse my typos!"

Told by Children of War, During War, Powerful

A very different tale of life for Jews during WWII . . . Pastel Orphans, told in the voices of the children who are running, who are hiding . . . and one who has been snatched by the SS to become one of their "super race" . . . is a chilling story of what human beings can do to one another . . . and what love and mercy can ultimately bring to willing hearts . . . a side note, I almost stopped listening when Henrik's parents brought home their new baby girl, Greta, and Henrik's jealousy over his new sister seemed over the top, and even unnatural. I didn't like the dialog, which seemed to go beyond sibling rivalry, and I wondered what kind of monster this boy would grow up to be . . . I drew a sigh of relief when the story took a drastically different turn, as the persecution of the Jews worsened . . . I need not to have worried. Henrik grew into a most honorable man . . . The story and conclusion were excellent (but for the detracting bit mentioned) . . . well worth a listen . . .
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- Debbie "Retired CFO, Army wife, Mom of five, Grandma of six, two sons who served in combat, love to read books that reflect my values and faith, love mysteries, historical, military stories, and books that don't waste my time . . . if it doesn't have an ending that was worth the wait, I'm not a happy camper."

Book Details

  • Release Date: 06-02-2015
  • Publisher: Brilliance Audio