Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline Paperback Book


Rent Orphan Train

Author: Christina Baker Kline

Format: Quality Paperback

Publisher: William Morrow & Company

Published: Apr 2013

Genre: Fiction - Literary

Retail Price: $18.99

Pages: 288


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.

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BookLender review by Carolyn on 2014-04-22 15:40:41

There is something about a story with an orphan that not only tugs at the heart but is a tale of tragedy and hopefully triumph. The pluckier the better and if she is a girl and a a redhead the best of all! ORPHAN TRAIN by Christina Baker Kline is just such a book that has all the conventions of a 19th century orphan tale by Dickens. Ms Kline was inspired to write the novel after reading a book about the town where her family was from and she dug into the history of the orphan trains in the U S from 18541929. She took bits and pieces of articles she read and created a young Irish girl named Niamh who comes to new York with her family for a better life. When tragedy strikes and Niamh is left an orphan she is gathered up by the Childrens Aid Society and put on an orphan train to the Midwest to hopefully be adopted by a loving family. There is a story within the novel that finds Niamh in her later years, now named Vivian, who allows a 17 year old Goth girl named Molly to do community service helping her straighten her attic. Vivians story unfolds over the course of Mollys 50 hours of service as they unload boxes and each item brings forth a memory from Vivians past. I cant say this is the best book I have ever read but I did really like it. I love historical novels so I was intrigued by Vivians story. It was fairly conventional and I knew what to expect especially the wrenching heartache she experience and the fears and sense of despair that overcame her at times. I loved Vivian but she seemed a little too soft in her later years for someone who had led the life she did. And I actually became a bit angry with her and some of the things she did but I dont want to spoil the story so i wont mention it here. While I understand Mollys role in the tale of Vivians life, I felt that her presence in the novel was not really necessary and the focus on her at times took away from the historical novel unfolding for us. I thought sometimes that Mollys story was contrived and stereotypical and not that interesting compared to Vivian who really went through some true heartache and tragedy. if Molly was supposed to be the reason Vivian reminisced about her own life then why take away from that focus? Why not make Molly a nice kid helping out an old person because she wanted to? And really, stealing a book from the library that was ion its last leg was not a major crime in my book and I felt the author was stretching. Cant we have *normal* people in books any more? Or am I being too naive and Pollyanna? Some parts of the novel did make me cry but I didnt find too much to laugh about which is sad for me not to feel something really positive to take away from a book. It just wasnt there for me.