The Orphans by Fiona McIntosh: A Heartfelt Story of Love, Loss, and Ambition

the orphans by fiona mcintosh

The Orphans by Fiona McIntosh is a captivating novel set in 1930s South Australia that follows the lives of two orphans, Fleur Appleby and Tom Catchlove. The book takes readers on a journey through tragedy, loss, love, and the pursuit of dreams, as the two protagonists navigate the challenges of growing up in a male-dominated world.

The author weaves a compelling tale of Fleur’s ambition to become the first female mortician in the country, and Tom’s dreams of a future as a wool classer. But when their paths cross again in adulthood, they find themselves caught up in a murder investigation, with only each other to rely on.

Character Development

One of the strengths of “The Orphans” is the well-developed characters, particularly Fleur and Tom. Fleur is a strong, determined protagonist who refuses to let societal expectations dictate her future. Her ambition to become a mortician in a male-dominated industry is inspiring, and her passion for helping bereaved families is admirable.

Tom, on the other hand, is a complex character who faces a life-changing tragedy as a young boy. His journey to becoming a wool classer is marked by hard work and perseverance, and his chance encounter with Fleur as a child sets the stage for their intertwined futures.


The plot of “The Orphans” is engaging and well-paced, with plenty of twists and turns to keep readers on their toes. The murder investigation that Fleur and Tom become embroiled in adds a thrilling element to the story, while also allowing for the exploration of themes such as trust, loyalty, and betrayal.

Writing Style

The author’s writing style is straightforward and easy to follow, with descriptive prose that paints a vivid picture of the outback and port woolstores of South Australia. The dialogue between characters is natural and flows well, adding depth and personality to the story.


“The Orphans” explores several important themes, including gender roles, ambition, loss, and love. Fleur’s determination to become a mortician in a male-dominated industry highlights the struggles that women faced in the 1930s, while Tom’s pursuit of his dream as a wool classer demonstrates the importance of hard work and perseverance in achieving one’s goals.

Overall Impressions

Overall, “The Orphans” is a well-written and engaging novel that will captivate readers from start to finish. The strong character development, engaging plot, and exploration of important themes make it a compelling read that is both entertaining and thought-provoking.

Book Recommendations

If you enjoyed “The Orphans,” you might also like “The Secret River” by Kate Grenville or “The Light Between Oceans” by M.L. Stedman. Both books explore themes of loss, love, and the human experience in unique and compelling ways.


Who is the author of “The Orphans”?

The author of “The Orphans” is unknown.

Is “The Orphans” a historical novel?

Yes, “The Orphans” is set in 1930s South Australia and explores themes and issues relevant to that time period.

Is “The Orphans” suitable for all ages?

“The Orphans” contains mature themes and may not be suitable for younger readers. Parents and guardians are encouraged to use their discretion when deciding if it is appropriate for their children to read.

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