"Wiseman's blistering, moving and profound novel... hones in on an extraordinary exploration of the plight of immigrants, as two very different women grapple with finding, keeping, and changing their place in the world. Absolutely amazing."

—Caroline Leavitt, New York Times bestselling author of Pictures of You


About The Orphan Collector

A New York Times Bestseller

Ellen Marie Wiseman, acclaimed author of What She Left Behind and The Life She Was Given, tells the story of a young German immigrant living in the slums of Philadelphia who loses her mother during the deadly 1918 flu pandemic and must take care of her baby brothers until her father returns from the war.

Also by Ellen Marie Wiseman

About the Author

Ellen Marie Wiseman is a New York Times bestselling author whose novels have been translated into twenty languages. She loves to write suspenseful historical sagas about everyday people caught up in extraordinary circumstances while shining a light on little-known social injustices of the past and celebrating the resiliency of the human spirit. The rest of the time she likes to cook, watch movies, swim, and play with her grandkids.


“Captivating in its complexity…the story reaches a place of immense emotional depth and psychological turmoil, culminating in an unexpected, heartrending ending.”

— RT Book Reviews, 4.5 Stars, TOP PICK!


“A sumptuous plot balances horror and tenderness to reveal lesser-known facets of history… The Life She was Given is a vibrant maze of desires. The sharp divide between expectations and painful truths, mothers and daughters, past and present, culminate in a sensational finale.”

— ForeWord Reviews



“Wiseman excels at creating an atmosphere…her characters are all vividly drawn and complex... Fans of Karen White and Sara Gruen will be drawn in by the drama and mystery of Wiseman’s novel.”




"Stories of WWII rarely look at the lives of the average German; Wiseman eschews the genre’s usual military conflicts in favor of the slow, inexorable pressure of daily life during wartime, lending an intimate and compelling poignancy to this intriguing debut."

— Publishers Weekly


“…a can’t-put-it-down novel...Perfect for book clubs and readers who admired Sara Gruen’s Like Water for Elephants.”

— Library Journal STARRED REVIEW



"The Plum Tree will find good company on the literal or electronic shelves of those who appreciated Skeletons at the Feast by Chris Bohjalian, Sarah’s Key by Tatiana de Rosnay, and Night by Elie Wiesel. Though in the same picture frame as these great classics, Ms. Wiseman’s story stands firmly on its own two feet and deserves a bright spotlight on the literary stage.”

— The New York Journal of Books


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