Kim van Alkemade
William Morrow, 2015 (2015)
Reviewed by Mary Ann Smyth
n 1919 four-year-old Rachel Rabinowitz is placed in the Hebrew Infant Home. With her parents both dead and separated from her brother Sam, she lives in a regimented facility that cares for her until she is a young adult.
he charity that took her in was well regarded. The inmates were passed from one institution to the next as they matured. Jewish charities kept these places running by donating the money needed. Rachel was well cared for, except by Dr. Mildred Solomon who used eight orphans for medical research. Dr. Solomon felt that X-ray treatments would eliminate the need for surgery to remove tonsils. X-ray being new at the time, she was reckless with it and unknowingly caused lifelong side effects.
hat mattered to this doctor was that she would make her name in the medical field by her innovative treatment. Fast forward to 1954 when Dr. Solomon becomes a patient of Rachel's, who is now a registered nurse. Rachel has the woman at her mercy. How can she punish this elderly creature for the past? Should she? Will she?
uthor Kim van Alkemade came across photos of the various homes that housed these orphaned children and uses them to tell her story. She does it well.
is an intriguing tale of the workings of the human heart and the emotions that carry us through life. It also portrays the tenacity needed to cling to life no matter the circumstances.
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