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Orphan Train: A Novel by [Kline, Christina Baker]
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Orphan Train: A Novel Kindle Edition

4.4 out of 5 stars 246 customer reviews

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Review

“One of the most powerful novels I’ve ever read...I am compelling all of you, even begging you, to make this novel your next read. You’ll be talking about it for years to come!” (Naples Daily News (FL))

“A gem.” (Huffington Post)

“Absorbing...a heartfelt page-turner about two women finding a sense of home...Kline lets us live the characters’ experiences vividly through their skin...The growth from instinct to conscious understanding to partnership between the two is the foundation for a moving tale.” (Publishers Weekly)

“Kline draws a dramatic, emotional story from a neglected corner of American history.” (Kirkus Reviews)

“A compelling story about loss, adaptability, and courage . . . With compassion and delicacy Kline presents a little-known chapter of American history and draws comparisons with the modern-day foster care system.” (Library Journal)

“I was so moved by this book. I loved Molly and Vivian, two brave, difficult, true-hearted women who disrupt one another’s lives in beautiful ways, and loved journeying with them, through heartbreak and stretches of history I’d never known existed, out of loneliness toward family and home.” (Marisa de los Santos, New York Times-bestselling author of Belong to Me and Falling Together)

“A lovely novel about the search for family that also happens to illuminate a fascinating and forgotten chapter of American history. Beautiful.” (Ann Packer, New York Times-bestselling author of The Dive from Clausen's Pier and Swim Back to Me)

“In ORPHAN TRAIN, Christina Baker Kline seamlessly knits together the past and present of two women, one young and one old. Kline reminds us that we never really lose anyone or anything or--perhaps most importantly--ourselves.” (Ann Hood, author of The Knitting Circle)

“I loved this book: its absorbing back-and-forth story, its vivid history, its eminently loveable characters. ORPHAN TRAIN wrecked my heart and made me glad to be literate.” (Monica Wood, author of When We Were the Kennedys)

“Christina Baker Kline writes exquisitely about two unlikely friends . . . each struggling to transcend a past of isolation and hardship. ORPHAN TRAIN will hold you in its grip as their fascinating tales unfold.” (Cathy Marie Buchanan, New York Times-bestselling author of The Painted Girls)

“Christina Baker Kline’s latest wonder, ORPHAN TRAIN, makes for compulsive reading...Meticulously researched and yet full of the breath of life, Kline’s novel takes us on an historical journey where survival depends upon one’s own steely backbone, and the miracle of a large and generous heart.” (Helen Schulman, New York Times-bestselling author of This Beautiful Life)

“A poignant and memorable story of two steadfast, courageous women...A revelation of the universal yearing for belonging, for family, for acceptance and, ultimately, the journeys we must all make to find them.” (Kathleen Kent, New York Times-bestselling author of The Heretic's Daughter and The Traitor's Wife)

“Reminiscent of Elizabeth Strout’s Amy and Isabel, this Orphan Train carries us along until the stories of these two women become one.” (Mary Morris, author of, most recently, Revenge)

“This superbly composed novel tells two parallel stories of suffering and perseverance, capturing the heart and mind equally and remaining mesmerizing through the intensely heart-wrenching conclusion.” (Romantic Times, Top Pick)

“The intertwined stories in this novel will surely please those looking for a compelling new read.” (Cleveland Plain Dealer)

“One of the most intriguing, tender novels of 2013...This is a warm, satisfying, and inspirational story.” (The New Maine Times Book Review)

Review

'A gem.' (The Huffington Post)

'A lovely novel about the search for family that also happens to illuminate a fascinating and forgotten chapter of American history. Beautiful.' (Ann Packer)

'Absorbing ... a heartfelt page-turner about two women finding a sense of home ... Kline lets us live the characters’ experiences vividly through their skin ... The growth from instinct to conscious understanding to partnership between the two is the foundation for a moving tale.' (Publishers Weekly)

'Kline draws a dramatic, emotional story from a neglected corner of American history.' (Kirkus Reviews)

'A compelling story about loss, adaptability, and courage ... With compassion and delicacy Kline presents a little-known chapter of American history and draws comparisons with the modern-day foster care system.' (Library Journal)

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1582 KB
  • Print Length: 278 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks; 1 edition (2 April 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0089LOG02
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars 246 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #8,569 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition
THE ORPHAN TRAIN is one of those books you don't want to end. You want it to continue so you can find out even more about the entwined lives of seventeen year old Molly Ayers, Vivian Daly, as well as Jack and his mother Terry Gallant. Eighty two years earlier an unfortunate set of circumstances had placed a nine year old Vivian on the train that would take her from New York City of the plains of Minnesota as one of the more than two hundred thousand children transported to new, and not always better, lives via the Orphan Trains.

Now, fate has once again intervened in the lives of both women as at age 91 Vivian meets Molly, the intelligent but somewhat troubled young woman of Indian heritage living with foster parents who appear to be "in it for the money". As part of a community service assignment, Molly begins to assist Vivian in cleaning out her attic, slowly sorting through the mementos that represent the pieces of Vivian's life she has kept hidden for all these years. As they discover the unexpected correlation in their life experiences and Molly and Vivian develop a true affection for each other.

As the story moves back and forth in time between the late 1920's and present day Maine author Christina Baker Kline's novel explores the subjects of love, adversity, resilience, providence, the workings of the child welfare system, deep and hidden secrets, and how the choices we make can resonate through generations.

As you discover more and more about these characters and their lives, you may certainly question some of their behavior and the decisions they made, and while you may not agree with nor understand their actions, these characters stick to your heart like glue and you continue to care about them and wish them well.
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Format: Paperback
Way back before governments put in place some sort of social welfare safety net for its most vulnerable, to say orphaned or unwanted children had a pretty tough time of it is an understatement. From the work house in the UK, to mass shipments to the colonies, to state or church funded orphanages, the future for such children was pretty bleak. In the US from 1854 to 1929 thousands of children in east coast cities were put on trains and sent to the farm lands of the mid west. The trains would stop in small towns, met by anyone looking for a child - to adopt, to find a servant, a farm labourer, a nanny, a general dogsbody. Young teenage boys were the first to go, then babies, then all the others. Those not wanted in that town would be put back on the train and move onto the next town. Some 'adoptions' were successful, many were not. Life was tough for these children, 'supervision' of their adoptions by the overseeing authority very fluid - for example they were supposed to go to school, but many did not.

This novel tells the story of Vivian, a young Irish migrant girl, orphaned when her parents and siblings died in a fire in New York in 1929. At the age of nine she is put on the orphan train and travels to an uncertain and unknown future in Minnesota. Some ninety years later she is in Maine, now very elderly but still very sharp, living in a house full of memories. Into her life comes Molly, a teenage girl of native Indian descent. Molly has had a pretty rough road so far too, and as part of a community sentence she finds herself helping Vivian clean out her attic. Vivian's story slowly unfolds, and as the relationship between the old lady and the troubled Molly grows, Molly herself changes and grows, finding her own internal strengths and resilience.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This book is based on the true story of 200,000 orphaned children transported by train from the East Coast of America to the Midwest between 1854 and 1929.

Many of these children were let down by the 'system' having been settled with many types of people with no back-ground checks for what amounted to slave labour as farm labourers, nannys, cooks, cleaners, etc. Some were badly treated, malnorished and beaten so much so that they did not survive and the record of their passing went un-noticed. They had no-one to speak for them as they were regarded as less than human even though they were just children, some as young as 2.

The story starts with 17 year old Molly who is convicted of the theft of a book from the local library and is given a community sentence helping 90 year old Vivian, a 'train rider' as these orphaned children were called, clear out her attic. Each memento reminds Vivian of a particular time during her struggle and the re-packing of these items meant she could put them out of her mind for good.

Along the way Molly and Vivian become friends and Molly inadvertantly helps Vivian re-connect with her past in a lovely way.

Nicely told and not too emotional in the telling but disturbing none the less.

Thank you Christina for a well informed read.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
A novel about the Orphan Train movement in the US at the start of the twentieth century, that blends historical and contemporary fiction. Moving back and forth between modern day Spruce Harbor in Maine and New York and the Midwest in the 1920-1930s, Kline ties up the narratives of goth girl Molly, who is aging out of foster care, and Irish orphan Niamh, who rides the Orphan Train to a presumably better life after suffering a family tragedy.

While the dual narratives are moving, there is a sense that serendipity is relied on a tad too often to drive the plot forward. The prose is smooth, though unspectacular, and characterisation sometimes lapsing into stereotypes, which are nonetheless varied enough to hold the reader's attention given the number of minor characters who populate the text.

On the most part, the novel is not a dud and Kline does spin quite an engaging yarn, but it is when she tries to tackle more sensitive issues about race and ethnicity that the effort seems a little forced, and fizzles out partway in the story, overtaken by the more sensitive personal stories of love and loss that Molly and Niamh experience generations apart.
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