Book Review Thursday: Orphan Train

Orphan Train

This novel by Christine Baker Kline unfolds as a timeless story of two seemingly different individuals, one a teenage foster child who has been bounced around from family to family and the other an elderly woman with a compelling story of her own.  Seventeen year-old Molly is about to age out of the foster care system and after a streak of rebellion finds herself performing community service to atone for her misdeed.

Her “project” is ninety-one year-old Vivian’s dusty old attic which is in serious need of organization and cleanup.  Vivian and her attic project are the only things standing between Molly and a stint in juvenile detention.  Molly, resentful at first, warms to Vivian as the two women begin to form a bond.

As it turns out their backgrounds are strikingly the same in some ways and a bond develops between them.  So much of Vivian’s early life was marred by tragedy after she was orphaned and sent away on an orphan train to Minnesota in the 1920’s.  As Vivian begins sharing her story, Molly realizes she has the ability, and perhaps a bit strangely the desire, given her rebellious nature, to help Vivian find answers to the mysteries which have haunted her for years.

It is historical fiction at its best, weaving a story from the distant past with the present-day challenges of a young woman with a chip on her shoulder.  Together they both find peace – Vivian with her past and Molly with her future.

Molly’s attitudes and language are a bit rough in the beginning, but as the story progresses it’s evident a change is taking place in how she views life and her own potential for succeeding despite her circumstances.  It’s a sweet and inspiring story well worth your time to read.

Rating:  ★★★★

Have a GREAT day . . . someday it will be HISTORY!

© Sharon Hall (Digging History), 2015.


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