The Orphanmaster by Jean Zimmerman

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The Orphanmaster is a deft and descriptive narrative of madness, murder, and love set against the background of the impending English-Dutch war.
-NY Journal of Books

Synopsis

From a debut novelist, a gripping historical thriller and rousing love story set in seventeenth-century Manhattan

It’s 1663 in the tiny, hardscrabble Dutch colony of New Amsterdam, now present-day southern Manhattan. Orphan children are going missing, and among those looking into the mysterious state of affairs are a quick-witted twenty-two-year-old trader, Blandine von Couvering, herself an orphan, and a dashing British spy named Edward Drummond.

Suspects abound, including the governor’s wealthy nephew, a green-eyed aristocrat with decadent tastes; an Algonquin trapper who may be possessed by a demon that turns people into cannibals; and the colony’s own corrupt and conflicted orphanmaster. Both the search for the killer and Edward and Blandine’s newfound romance are endangered, however, when Blandine is accused of being a witch and Edward is sentenced to hang for espionage. Meanwhile, war looms as the English king plans to wrest control of the colony.

Jean Zimmerman brings New Amsterdam and its surrounding wilderness alive for modern-day readers with exacting period detail. Lively, fast paced, and full of colorful characters, The Orphanmaster is a dramatic page-turner that will appeal to fans of Hilary Mantel and Geraldine Brooks.

 

About Jean Zimmerman

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Jean Zimmerman is the author of four previous books, including The Women of the House: How a Colonial She-Merchant Built a Mansion, a Fortune and a Dynasty. She earned an MFA in writing from the Columbia University School of the Arts and has published her poetry widely in literary magazines. She lives with her family in Westchester County, New York.
 
Published June 19, 2012 by Penguin Books. 429 pages
Genres: History, Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Literature & Fiction, Romance. Fiction
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Critic reviews for The Orphanmaster
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NY Journal of Books

Good
Reviewed by Toni V. Sweeney on Apr 30 2013

The Orphanmaster is a deft and descriptive narrative of madness, murder, and love set against the background of the impending English-Dutch war.

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