Tue 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
About the Book:
A story of hope and resilience, THE ORPHAN COLLECTOR follows a young German immigrant in Philadelphia struggling to protect her family at a time when more Americans were dying in our nation’s streets and homes than on the battlefields of WWI. Making the agonizing decision to leave her baby brothers alone while she ventures into the eerily deserted city in search of food, Pia Lange isn’t aware that she herself will soon fall dangerously ill. She doesn’t know that after waking in a makeshift hospital, she’ll be forced into an orphanage, and even as she runs away to find her brothers, an evil woman who is perhaps a greater threat than the virus itself will plot to keep them separated…Powerful, harrowing, and ultimately exultant, THE ORPHAN COLLECTOR is a story of love, resilience, and the lengths we will go to protect those who need us most.
At this moment in time, it’s a strange comfort to read about how America survived the last major global pandemic in 1918. The Spanish Flu ended up killing more people than any other illness in recorded history, including the Black Death in the 14th century and AIDS in the 20th century. It was undoubtedly terrifying, but reading THE ORPHAN COLLECTOR also highlights how far we’ve come and how much more capable we are to deal with the current virus.
During this virtual event, Ellen Marie Wiseman will discuss the parallels between her novel and today’s reality, the 1918 flu’s devastating impact on the immigrant population, the strange cures and preventive “medicines” used during that time (Formaldehyde tablets! Sugar cubes soaked in gasoline! Onions!), and the role of the Visiting Nurse Society of Philadelphia.