WATERTOWN — Ellen Marie Wiseman, whose historical fiction novels have been published in 19 foreign languages, has literally hit the Target with her latest accolades.
Mrs. Wiseman’s latest novel, “The Orphan Collector,” released Aug. 4, has been selected by Target to be its Book Club Pick for the month of August.
The novel is being sent automatically to Target Book Club members and will be carried in its stores for a minimum of 11 months. Mrs. Wiseman has also signed 8,500 copies that the retail chain will sell as exclusive editions.
The Three Mile Bay novelist has received several accolades for her novels, but she said the Target selection is especially gratifying.
“When my editor called to tell me, he asked if I was sitting down,” Mrs. Wiseman said. “So yes, it’s right up near the top.”
But the Target selection isn’t the only accolade “The Orphan Collector: A Heroic Novel of Survival During the 1918 Influenza Pandemic” has received.
Mrs. Wiseman said the book was chosen as a Publisher’s Marketplace Buzz Books selection, an Editor’s Choice for Historical Novels Review magazine and a MaryJanes Farm Book Club Pick.
“The Orphan Collector,” Miss Wiseman’s fifth novel, is set in Philadelphia in 1918. As America celebrated the end of World War I, a plague called the Spanish Flu broke out, taking more lives than the war itself. It has been cited as the most deadly epidemic the world has known.
Philadelphia, Pa., where the “Orphan Collector” is set, was a hot spot for the Spanish Flu. The novel opens on September 1918 when people flock to a Liberty Loan parade that promoted government bonds. The crowd, ignoring reports of the flu’s spread in other parts of the country and the need to take precautions, was estimated at 200,000 people.
The nurse, or rather the character who pretends to be a nurse in “The Orphan Collector,” is lost in grief and bitterness when her baby dies of the Spanish Flu. She heads out on a sinister mission to transform the city’s orphans and immigrant children into what she feels are true “Americans.”
Mrs. Wiseman said an automatic reaction may be to assume “The Orphan Collector” was selected by Target to be its August Book Club pick because of the 1918 pandemic theme and how situation relates to the current pandemic.
“However, it was selected back in early March before most of us had even heard of COVID-19,” Mrs. Wiseman said. “So I’d like to think it was chosen because my narrator’s voice struck a chord with the selection committee, and because it’s a compelling story. ‘The Orphan Collector’ also focuses on our treatment of immigrants, which is obviously a relevant topic too.”
Thus far, foreign language rights for “The Orphan Collector” have been sold in Turkey, the Czech Republic, the Netherlands and Spain.
Mrs. Wiseman’s books are published by Kensington Publishing Corp. Her first, “The Plum Tree,” was released in 2012. It was followed by “What She Left Behind,” “Coal River,” “The Life She Was Given” and “The Orphan Collector.”