Orphan Train by Christina Baker KlinePaperback: 320 pages
Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks
Christina Baker Kline’s #1 New York Times bestselling novel—the captivating story of a 91-year-old woman with a hidden past as an orphan-train rider and the teenage girl whose own troubled adolescence leads her to seek answers to long-buried questions…now with an extended scene that addresses the number one question readers ask, and an excerpt from Kline’s upcoming novel A Piece of the World
“A lovely novel about the search for family that also happens to illuminate a fascinating and forgotten chapter of America’s history. Beautiful.”—Ann Packer
Between 1854 and 1929, so-called orphan trains ran regularly from the cities of the East Coast to the farmlands of the Midwest, carrying thousands of abandoned children whose fates would be determined by pure luck. Would they be adopted by a kind and loving family, or would they face a childhood and adolescence of hard labor and servitude?
As a young Irish immigrant, Vivian Daly was one such child, sent by rail from New York City to an uncertain future a world away. Returning east later in life, Vivian leads a quiet, peaceful existence on the coast of Maine, the memories of her upbringing rendered a hazy blur. But in her attic, hidden in trunks, are vestiges of a turbulent past.
Seventeen-year-old Molly Ayer knows that a community service position helping an elderly woman clean out her home is the only thing keeping her out of juvenile hall. But as Molly helps Vivian sort through her keepsakes and possessions, she discovers that she and Vivian aren't as different as they appear. A Penobscot Indian who has spent her youth in and out of foster homes, Molly is also an outsider being raised by strangers, and she, too, has unanswered questions about the past.
Moving between contemporary Maine and Depression-era Minnesota, Orphan Train is a powerful novel of upheaval and resilience, of second chances, and unexpected friendship.
My thoughts about Orphan Train ~~
(I love to note the first lines of the books I'm reading. First lines can really grab a reader's attention and I love seeing where the author takes the reader after their first lines.)
First line—"I believe in ghosts. They're the ones who haunt us, the ones who have left us behind. Many times in my life I have felt them around me, observing, witnessing, when no one in the living world knew or cared what happened."
The subject of the orphan trains of the late 1800s and early 1990s has always fascinated me. I can not imagine the sadness and loneliness those children and families had to endure. This touching look at what the lives of the people who were a part of this time period made for a fabulous, emotional read.
Vivian and Molly are worlds apart when they meet but then they come to realize how much they have in common. I immediately fell in love with Vivian, a 91 year old woman who was one of the children put on an orphan train. She relives her life as she goes through boxes in her attic with Molly, the young girl who has to do community service for trying to steal a library book. Vivian has a bit of spunk in her and totally accepts Molly when others are not so forgiving of her attitude. I wish Vivian could be part of my life, I think I would really enjoy knowing her. What a fascinating woman.
Orphan Train was a very interesting story with two amazing characters who, through all their trials and tribulations, come together and finally find peace and happiness. Christina is a wonderful storyteller who totally immersed me in her account of a piece our history.
About the author
Find out more about Kline at her website, connect with her on Facebook, and follow her on Twitter.
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