Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline is the type of book that can change how you view a part of history, one that you probably knew very little about, if at all. Based on factual parts of America’s history, Kline tells the story of how two orphaned girls from different eras are able to find peace and help each other.
“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 Trainis a powerful tale of upheaval and resilience, second chances, and unexpected friendship.” – Orphan Train
Orphan Train is an extremely well written book that captures the reader right away. It is written with alternating chapters that take place in Vivian’s past and the current time of 2011. Kline merges the storylines flawlessly in a truly memorable way that will leave you wanting to know more about the actual history of orphan trains and America’s not so happy past.
If you enjoy reading historical fiction that is based on actual facts, this is a book that I think you will truly enjoy. It is an excellent read that should be shared with others, and I definitely recommend this book for everyone to read.
* Thank you to the publisher of Orphan Train, William Morrow, for providing me with a copy of this book for review. All opinions expressed are my own.