Orphan Train: A Novel

Front Cover
HarperCollins, Apr 2, 2013 - Fiction - 304 pages
3575 Reviews

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.

What people are saying - Write a review

User ratings

5 stars
1225
4 stars
1455
3 stars
645
2 stars
180
1 star
70

Review: Orphan Train

User Review  - Andrea Tomé - Goodreads

Loads of exposition and a fair share of telling instead of showing. The characters are incredibly bidimensional and it is really hard so feel sympathy towards them. Little to no evolution in the relationships between the characters. Read full review

Review: Orphan Train

User Review  - Hillary - Goodreads

I would give this book 3.5 stars if I could. I read it for my book group's September meeting. I did like it. The story is about orphans, in particular the children who were transported from eastern ... Read full review

All 2 reviews »

Other editions - View all

About the author (2013)

Christina Baker Kline was born in England and raised in Maine. She is the author of five novels, including Bird in Hand and The Way Life Should Be. Writer in Residence at Fordham University from 2007 to 2011, Kline is also a recent recipient of a Ger- aldine R. Dodge Foundation Fellowship and several research fellowships to Ire- land and Minnesota. She lives outside of New York City and spends as much time as possible in northern Minnesota and on the coast of Maine.

Bibliographic information