Orphan Train

Orphan Train 11

A Novel

by Christina Baker Kline

Paperback / softback Publication Date: 01/04/2013

4/5 Rating 11 Reviews
RRP  $22.99 $17.75

Christina Baker Kline's Orphan Train is an unforgettable story of friendship and second chances that highlights a little-known but historically significant movement in America's past.

The #1 New York Times Bestseller. This edition includes a special PS section for book clubs featuring insights, interviews, and more.

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.

“A lovely novel about the search for family that also happens to illuminate a fascinating and forgotten chapter of America's history. Beautiful." Ann Packer

Contemporary fiction
Paperback / softback
Publication Date:
HarperCollins Publishers Inc
Country of origin:
United States
Dimensions (mm):
Christina Baker Kline

Christina Baker Kline is the author of five novels, including the #1 New York Times bestseller Orphan Train.

Her other novels include Bird in Hand, The Way Life Should Be, Desire Lines, and Sweet Water.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating

4 / 5 (11 Ratings)
5 stars (3)
4 stars (3)
3 stars (4)
2 stars (1)
1 stars (0)
  • Worth reading.

    by on

    An excellent book . I would recommend.

  • Heart warming read

    by on

    I really found this book interesting. It looks at the lives of two different yet similar people, one a teenage foster kid, the other an old widow.

    This is a fiction book but is well researched and looks at the 'orphan train' which was run by The Children's Aid Society between 1854 and 1929 in America, when orphans and street kids were shipped from New York to Midwest USA for 'adoption' - with many of the older children ending up working in 'sweatshops' or as farm labours. The story starts with Niamh Power's journey from Country Ireland, to New York then after family tragedy being put on the orphan train. Her heartbreaking story will move you, the fact that it is based on real like makes it even more heartbreaking.

    Christina blends well the past (Niamh's story) with the present (Foster Kid Molly's story) without things being two confusing as some two-part stories can be.

    This story helps tell the story of over 200,000 kids who were sent on these Orphan Trains, as well as showing that even unhappy, rebellious foster kids can learn something from old ladies at the end of their time, and maybe they can even learn something as well.

    The me the story ended sad (although not in the expected way) but despite the topic I found this a heart warming read.

  • Moving, interesting historical fiction

    by on

    I thoroughly enjoyed the book ‘Orphan Train’. The story of the ‘orphan trains’ was fascinating however very sad that children were placed in this predicament back in the 1920’s.

    Christina Baker Kline entwines Vivian’s life story to the present day and the problems faced by Molly in today’s society. Both these women show great courage in dealing with the challenges that life has thrown them and together form a bond because of their experiences.

    This is an intriguing, affecting book combines factual history with a moving story and conclusion. I would recommend the book to other readers.

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