Author: Christina Baker Kline
Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks
Source: Purchased by Reviewer
Reviewed by: Tess
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Orphan Train is a gripping story of friendship and second chances from Christina Baker Kline, author of Bird in Hand and The Way Life Should Be.
Penobscot Indian Molly Ayer is close to “aging out” out of the foster care system. A community service position helping an elderly woman clean out her home is the only thing keeping Molly out of juvie and worse... As she helps Vivian sort through her possessions and memories, Molly learns that she and Vivian aren’t as different as they seem to be. A young Irish immigrant orphaned in New York City, Vivian was put on a train to the Midwest with hundreds of other children whose destinies would be determined by luck and chance.
Molly discovers that she has the power to help Vivian find answers to mysteries that have haunted her for her entire life – answers that will ultimately free them both. Rich in detail and epic in scope, Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline is a powerful novel of upheaval and resilience, of unexpected friendship, and of the secrets we carry that keep us from finding out who we are.
Although I am not a reader of most fiction books, the Orphan Trains from the late 1800s through early 1900s, have always intrigued me. When I saw a short piece about this book, I knew I had to read it. The heartbreaking ordeals that these children went through was shocking! How could we, as a country, allow this to happen to innocent children? I don't mean the trains themselves, I think if they had been run differently this would have been a blessing to the children. But the abuse that was piled on them was unfathomable! No school, barely any food, beatings by the hands of people who were supposedly going to protect them. How did this happen?
The book itself did a wonderful job of defining the connection of two entirely different orphaned children. One from the original train and the other from 2011. Though the children were a century apart the circumstances they endured were very similar. Vivian and Molly, such different beings, are connected as few others could be. You will laugh, you will cry, you will shudder at the images that Ms. Kline gives us. But in the end you will most likely cheer and yell, hooray for the good guys!