Orphan Train

Orphan Train

A Novel

eBook - 2012
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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 widow clean out her attic 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 tale of upheaval and resilience, second chances, and unexpected friendship.

Publisher: New York : William Morrow, c2012.
ISBN: 9780062101204
Characteristics: 1 online resource
Additional Contributors: OverDrive, Inc

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d
deestef
May 24, 2018

Heartwarming and heartbreaking story following two characters from different eras. Loved how the women's lives and souls intertwined. Very well crafted novel about a period in history most of us knew nothing about.

m
mimimcl
Apr 05, 2018

Just delightful. One of those books that as you read you keep noticing how close you are getting to the end and regret there are not more pages. A wonderful format that switches back and forth between two periods in American history with characters that seem real and that you grow to love and understand, flaws and all. If you liked "A Gentleman in Moscow" you should like this book.

CRRL_MegRaymond Mar 06, 2018

Molly is close to “aging out” of foster care. She gets a job assisting an elderly woman with cleaning out her house, which brings up memories and mysteries.

d
darladoodles
Feb 26, 2018

A heartbreaking narrative with two threads -- one in the present and one in the distant past. Vivian Daly was an Irish orphan named Niamh who was sent west on an orphan train in 1929. Molly is in the Maine foster system and has been bounced from one home to another growing more cynical with each move. She is caught stealing a library book and her community service assignment is helping Vivian clean out her attic. While they go through Vivian's boxes, her story is told and they realize they have mouch in common.

There was much I loved about this book. The dual narratives fit well together and it was clear that the two characters brought out the best in each other. Of the two stories being told, I definitely preferred Vivian's. What I was disappointed in was Molly's story. It seemed like her foster mother was a hopeless caricature -- too many traits thrown together that did not all seem to fit. There were also some details thrown in like an intimate encounter with Jack that did not seem to move the story forward. I would have also like to see some closure on Molly's story that mirrored what we saw in Vivians's.

Definitely a good book group selection!

b
BeckyR21
Feb 25, 2018

Top notch. Christina Baker Kline is a master storyteller. Each storyline blended and complimented the other. Remarkable, endearing characters. An excellent conclusion. Some unpleasant characters that contributed to the plot development, even though they were despicable. Highly recommend as not only an entertaining read, but an enlightening
introduction to part of history that I was unaware of before this book.

Librarian_Deb Aug 28, 2017

Two stories intertwine in this novel that examines the lives of those who are orphaned or separated from their parents and put into "the system". For Molly that system is foster care, where she barely tolerates the people that she lives with. A minor theft (of a library book) lands Molly into legal trouble and she finds herself having to do a community service project. Enter Vivian, a senior citizen with an attic that needs to be cleaned out and a past full of things that she never talks about. Vivian's past includes her experiences as an orphan train rider - where after being orphaned in New York City she was sent on a train out west to be placed with a "wholesome" family. As Molly helps Vivian go through her things both women gradually open up to each other which allows the reader to experience several flashbacks where Vivian tells her story. These parts of the book were my favorites. Vivian encountered some shocking living conditions and people while growing up and I kept reading to see how one earth she was ever going to survive and thrive the many obstacles placed in her path. I definitely found her story more compelling than Molly's, but it was intriguing to have the contrast between how Vivian's situation was handled in the past and how Molly's was being handled in the modern day. That contrast became a focal point for discussion in my book group, so it does add a lot to the book. I definitely recommend this book to fans of historical fiction, particularly if they enjoy stories of young people navigating difficult waters to become successful adults.

e
Einer2
Aug 25, 2017

Another bit of history revealed in a very readable tale. If you've been to the lower east side of Manhattan and visited the Tenement Museum (something everyone should do) the bookwill take on even more meaning regarding the struggles of immigrants coming to our country still today.

t
TEENREVIEWBOARD
Aug 24, 2017

A teenage girl recently kicked out of her orphanage home helps an elderly woman for community service, which helps keep her afoot. As they spend more time with each other both Vivian, the girl, and Molly, the old woman, realize that they have more in common than they thought. This historical drama shows a bonding between two very tragic characters, from the author Christina Baker Kline, an unlikely friendship is born. This book is amazing, but it was very cliche, the parents were typically abusive and Vivian doesn't particularly seem like a problem child, and the old lady is of course the exact same as the protagonist.
- @Florence of the Teen Review Board of the Hamilton Public Library

p
peacebenow
Aug 22, 2017

Heart warming book. Enjoyed seeing the relationships unfurl. Ended too soon. Almost want to read again.

t
Tannerking54
Feb 16, 2017

Easy fast read of this historical fiction book. Love the story of friendship and the study of how people grow and change.

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Magicworld
Jul 24, 2015

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May 12, 2015

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Jun 22, 2013

suzee5454 thinks this title is suitable for 13 years and over

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Magicworld
Jul 24, 2015

“I feel a joy so strong it’s almost painful—a knife’s edge of joy.”

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