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House of Orphans by Helen Dunmore
House of Orphans begins in rural Finland in 1901. Widowed doctor, Thomas Eklund, is convinced by an elderly friend, Lotta, that he needs companionship in his lonely house. From the local orphanage, Eeva, is sent to be his housekeeper, but she's different from the docile orphan teenager he expected. Eeva, the daughter of a revolutionary who sought to overthrow Russian control of Finland, is literate, feisty, and independent. Thomas falls in love with her, which creates tension with both Lotta and his daughter. To escape the predicament, Eeva leaves for Helsinki, where she finds and falls in love with her childhood friend, Lauri. Lauri is a more violent revolutionary than her father had been, and when the Russians come for him, the only one Eeva can turn to for help is Thomas. Helen Dunmore's novel has received positive reviews with The Observer saying, "But while this episode in Baltic history, little known to many British readers, is made vivid and exciting in Dunmore's retelling, the emotional intensity of the first half is diluted - proving, perhaps, that fear, betrayal and hope can be just as fierce in a kitchen as on the front line or in the corridors of power."