Five children left at the Little Tulip Orphanage, Amsterdam – all in strange circumstances. Fast forward 12 years and the same five children are still there – seemingly unadoptable. That is, until a strange and sinister man comes to visit; to take them away.
In ‘the Unadoptables’, Hana Tooke’s characters are wonderful individuals, each with their own unique qualities. These talents come to serve them well as they flee from Matron Gassbeek and Meneer Rotman.
Even though Rotman offers them a home on his ship together, Milou feels there is something foreboding about his manner and the deal he strikes with Matron. Thus, she convinces the other four – Sem, Lotta, Egg, and Fenna – that they need to escape from the orphanage into the icy streets of Amsterdam and beyond.
Amsterdam, its canals and the surrounding countryside are features of the tale as the children flee. The city is dark and threatening as they hide from Rotman, much like the grim orphanage they are glad to leave behind. The canals, though icy and challenging, aid their escape. And the countryside of polders and windmills may offer a safe haven.
Using some of their individual skills and the strong belief of Milou that they can find her parents, they venture towards a better life. But can five orphans really track down a notional home, with very limited clues, then survive the suspicion of local residents? Their combined resourcefulness will be tested and their skills will become crucial.
Readers of Neil Gaiman, Lemony Snicket and Jessica Townsend (Nevermoor) will love this.
# What would life be like as an orphan?
## Do you enjoy reading stories set in other countries?
Disclaimer: I have a personal love of the Netherlands (as a tourist) and can relate to so many aspects of the setting – canals, windmills, polders and of course, stroopwaffels! I was also lucky to receive a review copy ahead of publication now in July.