Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Orphan Thief: A Novel” as Want to Read:
The Orphan Thief: A Novel
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Orphan Thief: A Novel

3.93  ·  Rating details ·  298 ratings  ·  61 reviews

From the international bestselling author of The Secret Orphan

When all seems lost…

As Hitler’s bombs rain down on a battered and beleaguered Britain, Ruby Shadwell is dealt the most devastating blow – her entire family lost during the Coventry Blitz.

Hope still survives…

Alone and with the city in chaos, Ruby is determined to survive this war and rebuild her life. And a

Kindle Edition
Published November 28th 2019 by One More Chapter
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Orphan Thief, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Orphan Thief

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.93  · 
Rating details
 ·  298 ratings  ·  61 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of The Orphan Thief: A Novel
Jan 12, 2020 rated it liked it
The era of this story is fascinating, set throughout the Second World War, and starting when Coventry was bombed by the German Luftwaffe in 1939. The only survivor of the Shadwell family is sixteen-year-old Ruby who starts to rebuild her life amongst the rubble and war-ravaged lives. The rubble is her salvation as she collects and restores items damaged during the bombing raids. Ruby acquires a business licence to resell the items and so begins a journey of interactions with various
Louise Wilson
Nov 22, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Set in Coventry, England during World War II. Ruby was just sixteen years old when the Germans bombed her neighbourhood and killed her family. She is forced to break into other peoples homes to find herself something to eat. She spends her days picking up items left after homes and businesses had been bombed. She also meets and makes new friends, they are all survivors. John is a Canadian photographer who Ruby develops feelings for. Ruby sells the items she finds from a shop. But then the shop ...more
Janet Newport
Thank you NetGalley and Harper Impulse & Killer Reads for this arc.

Set early during WWII in Coventry, England this is a story focusing primarily on Ruby. She's sixteen years old when her family home including her family are totally bombed out while she's away from home running an errand for her mother. Same story with her Grandmother and Grandmother's house. So she scrapes up a new family and manages to find another home (coincidentally one owned by her father, but occupied by her father's
Mark Porton
Nov 29, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
Historical World War 2 Fiction, the hardship of the blitz and a blossoming love story – that’s what drew me to this book.

Author Glynis Peters is a historical romance author and has previously been shortlisted for the Festival of Romance New Talent Award (UK) in 2014. This story follows the life of teenager Ruby following the loss of her family and home after being battered during WWII by the Luftwaffe in Coventry, England. Young Ruby needs to pick up her life amongst the heartbreak and
Nov 20, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It’s WW2 in Coventry. Hitler’s bombs are raining down on the city. 16 year old Ruby Shadwell comes home not only finds her home gone but, also her family too and a crater in the ground left in its place. With the shock of what happened she goes to her Grandmothers house only to find she also has had the same fate. Ruby still grieving but is determined to get on with her life and build a future for herself. Along the way she meets Fred, Beatty and little Tommy, her own little family. She builds a ...more
4.5 stars

Glynis Peters is a new author to me and despite my ever-growing TBR list, I decided to take a chance on her because I'm a sucker for historical fiction. And I wasn't disappointed. THE ORPHAN THIEF was a delight to read from start to finish.

Set in Coventry between Christmas 1938 and May 1945, THE ORPHAN THIEF begins during the Blitz - a terrifying time for England when the Germans attacked large populated cities with constant air raids day and night. Coventry did not escape unscathed.
Oct 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I cannot express how much i enjoyed reading 'The Orphan Thief'. This must easily be one of my favourite reads this year! Loved the main characters, especially Ruby. It did bring back memories of stories told by my late parents who were slightly younger than Ruby when the bombs rained down. So true to life! Glynis Peters is an author whose books i shall be watching out for. A well deserving five stars from me. Highly recommended.

My thanks to Netgalley and the Publishers for my copy. This is my
Nov 29, 2019 rated it liked it
The Orphan Thief is a standalone book by Glynis Peters. This author is new to me but I wanted to take a chance on her because I liked the idea of the story.

I must admit that the book had less romance than I expected and I didn't really believe the chemistry between Ruby Shadwell and Jean-Paul Clayton (Canadian soldier). But that said, their stories, especially Ruby's were enough to make the book worth reading.

Set in WW2 the book starts with a shocked teenaged Ruby staring at a crater in the
Amber ☁️ (bookswithamb)
The Orphan Thief is a heart wrenching tale set in World War Two Coventry during the blitz, focusing particularly on the effects of the attack on 14th/15th of November, 1940.
It follows a young girl who loses her whole family in the attacks, and it is a story of how she rebuilt her life in the wake of such devastation. It is a tale of found family, inter-generational friendships, and first loves.

The main character Ruby is fiercely independent, despite only being 16 at the beginning of the book.
Norah Gibbons
Nov 19, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I received an ARC of this book to read through NetGalley in exchange for a fair review. The Orphan Thief by Glynis Peters is a story that takes place during World War II when Coventry, England was under siege from the Blitz. Sixteen year old Ruby Shadwell lost her entire family when a bomb hit the house they were living in. All alone in the world Ruby creates a family of her own with others who have been displaced by the bombing. Fred Lester her Gran’s neighbour becomes her honorary Grandfather, ...more
booklover BEV
Dec 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Another winner

As we join Ruby Shadwell story once again, it's Coventry 1940 and sirens are going off, enemy bombs were destroying the city, Ruby is rushing back to the shop Shadwell Groceries in eagle street after running an errand for her mother. Getting close to Christmas she finds the shop and her home flattened and her family all dead. In deep shock she flees to her grans in Kirby Road that has also been hit and fears at such a young age she will be put into an orphanage. This book is about
Jena Henry
Nov 17, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
When you read the first chapter of this book, you feel as if you are reading a dystopian sci-fi fantasy. A sixteen girl lives in a ruined, grey nightmare landscape, and survives by her wits, while avoiding capture by the authorities. But it’s not dystopian, this book is based on true events, and really is a historical romance. I prefer to call it a sweet fairy tale as it is a simply told, but lovely tale.

The book is set in Coventry, England. Coventry was bombed many times during the Second
Oct 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
From the title of this book i thought it was going to be about some one stealing orphans but was surprised to read about Ruby,Fred,Beatty and Tommy of how they came to being together.I found this book told a story that was sad, and funny and of a determination not to be cowed by Hitlers bombs and the devistation of Coventry.I will highly recommend this book and well done to Glynis Peters 5*
Oct 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Family is those you love

The Orphan thief was set in WWII but it was surprisingly different. What a refreshing read.

Ruby, returning home found her home demolished, her parents and siblings dead. At sixteen she was overwhelmed with grief. She ran to her grandmother's house only to find that her home was gone as well. A disaster worker helping the neighbor Fred to the hospital told her to check to see if her grandmother was among the injured. She found her grandmother on the deceased list as well.
Stories Unfolded (aka Danielle Olson)
When I first saw the cover and title of The Orphan Thief I thought it would be more about a girl helping orphan's during the war. But it's actually centered around a teenage girl named Ruby Shadwell going through her daily life after her city was bombed in the Blitz.

The very beginning of the book was very good. I could feel the intense loss that Ruby was feeling when her entire family was killed by a bomb that hit their home. I could feel the shock she felt as she looked into the crater where
Nov 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A story of love, loss and strength through adversity .... Bittersweet

The Orphan Thief starts Christmas Day 1938 war is looming. Ruby Shadwell enjoying Christmas with her family in Coventry; Jean-Paul Clayton in Toronto Canada, where he received his gift to fulfill his passion of photography.

Fast forward to Coventry, November 1940.
Ruby suffers a family tragedy. Unaware her family home was bombed; at only 16, left alone to grieve/fend for herself.

Some months later, it is through Jean-Paul's
Nov 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is set during WWII and covers Coventry, England during the German air raids, sending Great Britain and its citizens into destruction of property, loss of family and the most horrendous period of time. With the main protagonist, Ruby, we read as she describes her feelings, the loss of her entire family and home, a young girl of 16 left alone to face the obstacles and life ahead of her. The true grit of the English can be felt as you read through these pages, the saying "keep calm and ...more
Oct 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The Orphan Thief by Glynis Peters is an interesting, enveloping, and enjoyable historical fiction book that makes for a great, fast read.

This book is set during WWII and focusses on Ruby, a strong female protagonist who’s life is completely changed during the horrific bombing and destruction of Coventry, England during air raids from the Germans during WWII. This book spans from 1940-1945.

This book is not just about a “love story” and a “ happy ending”. This story adds obstacles, perseverance,
Jan 16, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: netgalley
The War brought us all together.

Ruby is suddenly an orphan when her families home is destroyed by a bomb in England. As a young girl of 15, she slowly picks up the pieces of her life along with a family friend. Together Fred a father figure and Ruby meet others including Tommy a little boy that captures their heart. Tommy seems to be lost in this war and under the care of an uncle that poorly mistreats him. Ruby is encouraged to set up a store of recovered items that Fred fixes and she shelves
Dec 04, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: netgalley
The Orphan Thief is the story of Ruby Shadwell during WWII. At the age of 16 Ruby is left all alone in the world during one night of bombing in 1940. During the following days she starts to build a new family when she finds her grandmother's neighbor Fred still alive and takes him into her new home. She then meets a family friend who agrees to be her legal guardian. Ruby has this idea to open a buy & sell shop where people could not just buy things they need and sell items when they need ...more
Oct 17, 2019 rated it really liked it
4 stars

This is a wonderful, if predictable read. It is the story of sixteen-year old Ruby Shadwell who while delivering something to a neighbor, her entire family is wiped out by a German bomb in Coventry, England.

As she makes her way in her new world, she learns much and discovers the value of neighbors, friendship and self-reliance. She grows up quickly and becomes somewhat embarrassed by her previous “childish” behavior as she now sees it.

She meets neighbor Fred who is slightly
Nov 07, 2019 rated it it was ok
It was OK. I really wanted to like this book as much as I loved "The Secret Orphan," but it just didn't click with me. Yes, it took place during WWII, but it didn't feel like the usual historical fiction books that I read. The book centered more around Ruby as she coped with the loss of her family, surviving on her own and her relationship with Fred and Beatty. The characters were lovely. I loved Fred and Beatty. Instead of constantly asking Tommy about his mom, aunt or home, why didn't Ruby try ...more
Nov 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Orphan Thief is a wonderful, well written story of perseverance during the dark days of WWII. Fourteen year old Ruby, who lost her entire family during German bombing, brings two similar souls together to form a new family group and figure out how to survive and perhaps even thrive. The author has done an amazing job spotlighting the hardships and the small but significant times of joy and satisfaction. As an avid reader of WWII stories this one certainly rings true as the story follows Ruby ...more
Nov 26, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"It's a compliment to those gone before us, that they gave us something to live for - to remind the world they once existed."

Set in Coventry, England during World War 2, this new-to-me author set me in the middle of the extreme German bombing of Coventry and captured my attention from start to finish. Families wiped out leaving orphan children who without support of friends can't make it on their own or turn to crime in order to survive. With a touch of mystery, a 16 year old young woman who has
Jacinda Literature Babe
This is a delightful Historical Romance Novel where true love waits to conquer everything, including the ravages of war.

Taking place in the quiet Countryside of Coventry England during WW2, our young heroine, Ms. Ruby Shadwell, finds herself alone and struggling to stay alive after a bombing Blitz ordered by Hitler.

Ruby draws on a strength she didn't know she possessed; fiercely independent and resourceful, she decides to rebuild her life by starting a business in the ruins of her beloved
Olivia L
Nov 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
In its sophisticated yet understated telling, 'The Orphan Thief' is a poignant tale of humanity at its most powerful. Born from unspeakable tragedies, survivors of war managed to cobble together a family and rebuild their lives. The narrative was rich with detail while spared of emotive superfluity. This style made the text all the more provocative. On the surface, teenager Ruby appeared too good to be true in her courage, generosity, and compassion but through her actions, readers were ...more
Judy Christiana
I had a difficult time getting involved in the story. The dialog seemed bland and stiff to me. I pushed though reading, although the pages went by and the story did not seem to be leading anywhere. It was a depressing account of how life was in Coventry after the Blitz. While my heart did go out to the situation the main character, Ruby, was living with, I was not especially drawn to her from the story. My feeling were more from the history of how awful WWII was on everyone than from this book.

Kathleen Gray
Nov 19, 2019 rated it really liked it
Ruby lost everything as the result of the German bombing of Coventry. Her parents, her grandparents, her home. She is only 16 but somehow she pulls herself up and together and created a life not only for herself but also for the small family of other survivors she bonds with. The mystery of the story is young Tommy who is integral to keeping Ruby, Fred, and Beatrice fed and on an even keel. Set between 1940 and 1945, this is WWII Homefront fiction with a lovely romance as a bonus. John, a ...more
Angela H.
This book is definitely one of my favorite WWII books.

The story is about Ruby Shadwell who los her family in the bombing. She finds hope as she finds a family who come together and support each other during the war.

The times are tough but love prevails. There is a reason for naming the book- the orphan Thief. Read the book to find out!

I loved how the book is hopeful and positive despite the dreadful times. Ruby's reactions to her ups and downs in her life was realistic. I connected with ruby
Leanna Mattea
Nov 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a very well written historical novel about the the bombing and devastation in Coventry England during WWII. 16 yr old Ruby Shadwell loses her entire family in the first bombings in that city. Her home is destroyed and she is alone. So starts the beginning of her effort to survive in a war torn town, as she struggles to keep moving, to avoid leaving the only place that she has ever known.
This is a story of struggle and hardship in an effort to survive the brutalities of war. It’s the
« previous 1 3 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • The Fortunate Ones
  • The Secret Messenger
  • The Brothers of Auschwitz
  • The Outcast Girls
  • The Midwives of Lark Lane
  • The Child On Platform One: Inspired by the extraordinary true story of the children who escaped the Holocaust
  • The Child of Auschwitz
  • All We Left Behind
  • The Occupation: Loyalties are pushed to the limits in this powerful wartime saga
  • A View Across the Rooftops
  • The Emerald Horizon (The Star and the Shamrock Book 2)
  • The Whispers of War
  • Christmas is for Children
  • The Last Letter from Juliet
  • An Amish Wedding Feast on Ice Mountain (Ice Mountain #6)
  • Echoes Among the Stones
  • Have You Seen Her
  • The Nine Lives of Christmas
See similar books…
I write historical novels, and live by the sea in Essex.

Rep'd by Kate Nash Literary Agent.

One More Chapter / HarperCollins

Author of The Secret Orphan / The Orphan Thief /

USA TODAY bestseller
Globe and Mail bestseller
Toronto Star bestseller

Amazon UK and USA #1 bestseller