I listen to and have recently started to write reviews. I've found the reviews have helped me to select books.
This novel revolves around a 91 year-old woman, Vivian and a 17 year-old teenager, Molly. The two share a bond, they are both orphans. Vivian and her family sailed from Ireland to Ellis Island for a better life. Her family was killed in a fire, leaving her homeless. Vivian lived in various foster homes until she was finally welcomed by a loving couple.
Molly's father was killed in an auto accident. Her mother was unable to care for her and she was placed in foster care. She also spent many years trying to find that special place. However, she was almost 18 now and would soon be on her own. Foster care ends at age 18.
Molly and Vivian meet because she was caught stealing a ragged eared book from the library, Jane Eyre. Jane Eyre was Molly's favorite book but didn't know that the library had recently installed a detector to prevent library books from being stolen. Molly put the book under her coat. She was living with a foster care family at the time and Social Services was notified by the foster mother. Molly's punishment, after making a court appearance, was to complete 50 hours of community service.
Molly's boyfriend, Jack, coaxed his mom, Terry, into setting up an interview for Molly, with her employer, Vivian. Vivian needed help with cleaning out her attic filled with a lot of dusty, old boxes. Terry was Vivian's housekeeper and she had been putting off the dreaded chore and was happy to do as Jack asked.
That was how Vivian and Molly met and became friends. The novel goes back and forth telling their stories of what it was and is like being an orphan. They shared each others lives and told things about themselves that no one else was ever told before now.
The character's are very well developed and you'll think that maybe you know them. The narrators, Jessica Almasy and Suzanne Toren, do an excellent job. The book is well written and easy to follow and understand. The book provides you with some feelings that children experience living in foster homes. The book, Orphan Train, is enjoyable and an easy listen.
I was intrigued to learn more about the orphan trains of the early 20th century after reading The Chaperone by Laura Moriarity. The Orphan Train is compelling, though at times heart breaking, as you learn how the older children on these trains were often viewed as free labor vs new members of adopting families. The story centers around a nine year old Irish girl who is shipped from NYC to the midwest in search of a new home after her family is killed in a fire. The story felt a bit forced and certainly was not the quality of Moriarity's tale, but overall it was a good listen - 3.8.
I am a public speaker and entertainer that lives in The Beautiful Lake of The Ozarks in Missouri.
Beautiful Sad Hopeful
When she met up with her long lost friend.
I loved it all.
A great book! A true stand out and much more fulfilling of a read than most of the crap out there.
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.
i like to read. i like to listen.
Amazing story about two "orphans" from different time periods who's lives intertwine in a way that brings joy and comfort to both of them.
i thought that both these women were such strong characters. Niamh/Vivian had such a heartbreaking yet hopeful story...the truth behind the story of the Orphan Train is also something crazy to behold. Of course after reading this book I did extensive research on the actual train, and it's insane! What the government of our country used to allow is just unfathomable. Molly was a character, of course, that I could relate to. Goth, literary, snarky. I loved her.
I found the book to be a joy to listen to, despite some of the darker parts. It is well written historical fiction with extremely strong female characters that drive the reader to engage in their outcomes. Jessica Almasy does a fantastic job reading both Vivian and Molly...which is pretty amazing being that they are such different characters.
I LOVED it.
This was a riveting tale of parallel journeys. I thought the author wrote an amazingly believable story except for one part. I don't want to give anything in the story away, however, I want to warn you that toward the end of Vivian's tale, she does something that I can't believe any adopted woman, no matter how distraught, would ever do. There were many ways to keep us interested and I'm sorry the author decided this approach. I was really loving the Vivian character till that part.
I still highly recommend the audio despite that one part. Mostly the characters captured my heart.
I wasn't sure I was going to truly like this book and get caught up with it the way some reviewers seemed to have been. I expected a complex story with complex characters and maybe getting bogged down in the details as some authors can do with their writing style. Well, what I expected is not what I got. That isn't a bad thing either. The telling of these two stories, the older Vivian and the younger, Molly ,didn't need a whole lot of complicated backstory to make you enjoy who they were and to see how the seperate personalities, weaved their own brave stories together and made it true emotional journey. I found myself holding my breath a few times, tearing up more than I will admit and laughing outloud. It didn't leave me hanging in the end either..it came to an almost complete circle in its telling and I, for one, like that. The narrator, Jessica Almasy, I wasn't sure about her . She talked really fast and I thought perhaps I had sped up her voice but after checking more than once, I figured out it was just her. I am sure there was a reason behind this and after awhile it stopped bothering me. The story, the book, is a wonderful one tho. Its a good credit spent.
I just tell you if a book is bad :)
In this case, I believe the audio brings the characters to life rather than overpowering them like it does with some books. Each character's personality comes through with the accent the narrator gives him or her.
The somewhat parallel character arcs. The ending.
The bar scene and the piano player.
If Fate is the conductor of the Ophan Train, will the next stop be home?
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.