Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Review: Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline

Back-of-the-Book Blurb: 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.

My Thoughts: This was an excellent read. It went quickly and was so interesting. I love historical fiction and this is the best novel of that genre I've ever read. The story was quite sad but it introduces an intriguing topic in American history. I, for one, had never heard of these "orphan trains". Vivian had more depth than the typical 91 year old character. She's more than a frail and quiet woman. Molly was quite a round character as well and I enjoyed her. I would definitely recommend this book to any reader, young and adult.

Final Rating: 9/10!

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