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Some awful decisions were made about orphans in the early parts of the 1900's East Coast cities-where the influx of immigrants who had no work but many children lead to train loads of youngsters being brought to the midwest and literally given to people who wanted kids to work farms or sew or even act as nanny to the receiving parents own children.
This novel really got to my heart as it details the story of two orphans-one a victim of the orphan train and the other a product of the foster care system we have today. They come together and each learns from the other.
A wonderful listen...made me grateful for my parents.
Listened to this moving story in one listen. I was reluctant to use my credit for this, as I prefer the mystery/thriller genre. Boy, I'm glad I went ahead with it! I won't spoil it, but there are two women, so different in appearance yet with such similar experiences. Don't disregard this amazing journey full of life, experience, and love. The narrators nailed it!!
I am pretty new to audiobooks, but this was outstanding!
The historically based story writing seamlessly weaves back and forth, from the present to the past, much like Tracy Chevalier's The Virgin Blue.
To choose one moment that moved me is difficult. This book moved me in so many ways. The orphan trains are a part of American history that I knew nothing about. Learning what these poor children endured is heartbreaking. Molly's and Vivian's foster stories are similar, yet so very different. The bond that is created by two seemingly unlikely people is inspiring.
I would love to see this book become required reading in American schools. After finishing this book, I took a poll at work. In a group of 25-55 year olds, no one knew of the orphan trains. Doing further research, I learned that it is estimated that there are around 2 million descendants of Orphan Train Riders.
Bouncing between time periods, we follow the story of two orphans who must find their way in a world that wants to mold them to fit into boxes that society views as their roles. Through their two stories we come to see that while society has changed, certain fundamental truths about how people view the most vunerable among us has not. I love stories about young women with spirit and depth and both of the main characters have both. As they deal with what the world dishes out to them, we find that what sustains them changes them.
I liked when Vivian realized that all of the bad things that happened to her (and there were ALOT of them) were actually the things that led her to the good things and that she was grateful for everything.
My favorite scene was when Vivian realized the handsome stranger was actually a young boy she met on the Orphan Train many years earlier.
I listened to this book constantly and found myself sitting in the car to finish a section. It was a compelling book with many emotional scenes.
I liked the way two people with many years age difference find each other, find how much they have in common, and help each other.
When Viv finds Dutch
When Viv and Dutch get married.
Yes, I stayed awake until after 4:00am to finish it.
I found it interesting and thought provoking that these two character face much the same problems even though they live 70 years apart.
Retired CFO, Army wife, Mom of five, Grandma of six, two sons who served in combat, love to read books that reflect my values and faith, love mysteries, historical, military stories, and books that don't waste my time . . . if it doesn't have an ending that was worth the wait, I'm not a happy camper.
First off, I have to say that I ALMOST gave up on this wonderful audio book in the beginning, because I found the narration to be way too fast. I checked my Ipod several times to make certain that I hadn't accidentally put it on double time. I even tried slowing it to 1/2 time, but that, too, was unbearable. I think that the narrator was trying to portray the Irish accent, but in my opinion, missed. That part was NOT enjoyable. I could NOT listen with my ear buds at all, which I normally enjoy. But I stuck it out, and began listening with my speakers, and I am glad that I did. The story itself is absolutely wonderful, and as time went on, I grew accustomed to the narration. I love the contrast and the similarity between Molly and Vivian's stories. This is the first story that I have had the privilege to hear about the orphan trains, and it is incredible what the children endured, even more incredible who and what they became in life.
I consider this a "light" book-it was entertaining and enjoyable. It did take on some serious issues but did not engage in them long enough to create a world that fully ensnared me and kept me on the edge of my seat. Is it a book I would listen to again and again? No. However, if you are looking for an enjoyable read that will keep you entertained for the time being (like a long road trip), I would recommend this book!
I highly recommend Orphan Train to anybody who likes emotional stories about women. The main characters are easy to like, and the story was engaging and believable. The performance was well done and well suited to the book. If you only like stories with car chases, murders, and explosions, then maybe you should look elsewhere. But if you enjoy any engaging and well performed story no matter the subject, then this one is a terrific choice.
There are some interesting elements such as the historical depiction of the orphan trains. Between 1854 and 1929, more than 100,000 children were sent, via orphan trains, to new homes in rural America (PBS). I felt terrible for Niamh's plight and wanted to see her get to a place where she could be safe and loved. I felt like the author took pleasure in torturing this girl unnecessarily. I understand that the Irish face a lot of prejudice, but some of it seemed forced and over the top. I seriously doubt a young girl with red hair would cause such repulsion with EVERYONE she came across.
I was disappointed that there was no representation of a positive adoption or foster situation. It is important to note that children in the the foster care system do face hardships and abuse, but why not put a spotlight on the good cases? It would have felt like a nicer balance against the horrific path Niamh faced. I found Molly's predicament to be completely silly compared to what Niamh/Vivian went through. Fifty hours of community service for stealing a library book is beyond ridiculous. Why not just check it out and never return it? Molly's stepmother is portrayed as a stereotypical right-wing lunatic who easily gives up on her "difficult" vegetarian foster child while her doormat husband basically shrugs.
I initially found the narrator to be unpleasant. I'm confused as to which narrator was which character but I preferred the narrator who did Niamh's Irish accent the best. The Molly voice did not fit the character and was hard to listen to.
I generally felt the most emotions while listening to Niamh face horrific situations. I felt really sad that she went so long without being loved. I also felt anger and confusion at some of the author's choices for Vivian as she is middle-aged.
Narration is exemplar making the characters three dimensional and story consuming.I believe audio edition would be better than print.