Note about my Reviews

Dear Authors: The reviews in this blog are only personal opinions. I have absolutely no background in literature, writing or reviewing. I am a Librarian (actually a Library Technician for those who care OR know the difference) with a love for a good story. The opinions in the reviews are ONLY my OPINIONS. I am not commenting on the writers ability since well -- I am not a writer and never will be. If you are the author of any of the books reviewed here, my opinion is just that and not a judgment against you!

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline

Orphan Train
by Christina Baker Kline
William Morrow
Buy from Indigo

Description A captivating story of two very different women who build an unexpected friendship: a 91-year-old woman with a hidden past as an orphan-train rider and the teenage girl whose own troubled adolescence leads her to seek answers to questions no one has ever thought to ask.

Nearly eighteen, Molly Ayer knows she has one last chance. Just months from "aging out" of the child welfare system, and close to being kicked out of her foster home, a community service position helping an elderly woman clean out her home is the only thing keeping her out of juvie and worse.

Vivian Daly has lived a quiet life on the coast of Maine. But in her attic, hidden in trunks, are vestiges of a turbulent past. As she helps Vivian sort through her possessions and memories, Molly discovers 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.

The closer Molly grows to Vivian, the more she discovers parallels to her own life. A Penobscot Indian, she, too, is an outsider being raised by strangers, and she, too, has unanswered questions about the past. As her emotional barriers begin to crumble, 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.

The Good Stuff
  • Epic, its been a long time since I read a story like this. These used to be my favorite types of stories. Parallel stories told years apart, characters of different eras face the same prejudice and hardships - human nature never really seems to change.
  • Interesting story based on a little known piece of history
  • Was hooked in right away and didn't want to put it down
  • Heartbreaking and horrific at times because even though this is a fictional story it is based on fact and what some of these children had to go through is truly brutal
  • Loved the conversations between Molly and Vivian and would love to have more of the story
  • Makes me want to research more into the "Orphan Trains"

The Not So Good Stuff
  • The storyline that focused on Vivian was far better developed than that of Molly which is a shame. I found the Molly bits to be a bit jumpy
  • I wanted more - this was one of those stories that could have been much longer
Favorite Quotes/Passages

"Do you believe in fate?" I ask.
'What's that again?"
"That everything is decided. You're just - you know - living it out."
"God has it all planned in advance."
I nod.
"I dunno. I don't like the plan much so far."
"Me either."

"No time," Vivian calls over her shoulder. "I'm old , you know. Could drop dead any minute. We've got to get going."

Who Should/Shouldn't Read
  • Great book for a reading at the cottage, on the beach or just about anytime you want to lose yourself in a great story
4 Deweys

I received this from William Morrow in exchange for an honest review


  1. I love that you described this book as epic. I love books with parallel stories in different eras, something that brings these two characters together is always interesting. I haven't heard of this before, so thank you for bringing it to my attention!

    1. Hi Andrea
      You are welcome, I thought it sounded interesting when I got the review request - wasn't going to accept any new reviews but glad I did in this case (same with the next book I just finished - review should be up today or tomorrow)

  2. This is another book on the forgotten history of our nation. It is chilling to think that this has happened to children. But hearing their stories of overcoming the hardship's in their life is amazing!

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