Orphan Train tells the story of children who are shipped from the east coast to the plains states to be adopted by new families during the 1930s. Some are very lucky to find a new life with loving parents, Too many others find a life of drudgery, poverty, and "involuntary servitude" as they are "adopted" to provide free labor during the tough economic times of the Great Depression.
This story centers around a 9-year-old Irish lass, Niamh ("neev") whose family emigrates from Ireland to find a better life in New York City. The reality of life in America is difficult for the family to accept, especially for Niamh's father. The stories they've heard about this abundant land in no way compare to the squalor in which they find themselves.Orphaned at age 9, Niamh is one of the hundreds of children who are sent to the Great Plains to be adopted out instead of being cared for by the local orphanages.
Niamh exhibits the amazing resilience of children everywhere who have no choice but to live in desperate situations. She is first adopted to provide free labor as a seamstress, where her name is changed to Dorothy, Niamh being "just too Irish and Catholic" to be an acceptable name.
Niamh is fortunate enough to experience a "normal" and ultimately very successful life once she is freed from a horrendous adoptive home. Niamh grows up, falls in love and marries just as World War II is beginning.
At the age of 91, Niamh (now named Vivian) tells her story in flashbacks to a rebellious and sullen abandoned teenager, Molly, who is helping her clean her attic as a condition of her probation. They form an unlikely friendship and bond. Molly helps Vivian come to grips with one of her greatest losses, and thereby helps her find joy she had been denying herself.
Very enjoyable listen, very well narrrated. The story ending is probably much happier than most of these ophaned children experienced, and just a bit too neat and tidy. The biggest negative is the stereotypical drunkard Irish father. A bit more imagination here would have been a better idea.
This is one of the most confusing books I have ever tried to listen to. The narration was excellent. I could not force myself to finish this - I returned it. The characters seemed shallow and their actions inexplicable. I didn't care about any of them, which made me not want to finish the book. The book had an ethereal quality when the story centered in the orchard. As I was listening I kept asking myself WHO are these characters? WHY are they behaving like this? I found the actions of Della, one of the two sisters who shows up on Talmadge's orchard, to make no sense whatsoever. At least from my experience, young women who have been sexually abused by older men do not trust men, and certainly would not choose to spend time almost exclusively with men. Odd, odd, odd. There were 12 people at book club tonight. Not a single person liked this book. I would not recommend this book to anyone.
This was a fascinating recounting of the actions of a German ace pilot and his seemingly inexplicable actions in assisting a disabled American B-17 bomber piloted by a 21-year-old farmboy to return to England after a bombing run.
Meticulously researched, this true story weaves the lives of the "average men" doing their jobs in the time of war, men who are fighting for their families and their country and who recognized that the man in the other plane is a human being and one could respect the courage of the other.
Don't miss this if you are a fan of World War II History.
I chose this listen because the situation in Darfur has dropped off the radar again, and I was curious to learn more. I knew that there is now a North Sudan and a South Sudan, but this story tells so much more - how it came to be and describes the lives of families who have endured the unbelievable horror in which these people live.
Why DON'T we care? Is it because it is a civil war between mostly Arab Muslims in the north of Sudan and Black African Muslims in the south?
I am ashamed and appalled that the international community essentially continues to ignore the devastation in the Sudan.
Be warned, this book is graphic and the truth is not pretty to hear.
This was one of those listens that kept me up too late at night, continued as I was out and about doing errands with my iPod tucked in my pocket and headphones tucked in my ears.
The story weaves the lives of four generations of women beginning in England at the turn of the 20th century and continuing up through 2005. From tragedies to triumphs, the story comes full circle when a great granddaughter discovers a long-buried mystery of her grandmother's history. The story begins with an abandoned 4-year-old girl on a ship from England to Australia. Who is she? Where did she come from? Why is she alone?
I love Caroline Lee's lovely natural Aussie accent and ability to seamlessly switch from female to male character, and from Aussie to Yank to Brit and back.
This may be classified as Young Adult Fiction, but as a World War II story aficionado, I could NOT stop listening to this compelling story. Excellent characters, first rate narration. LOVED it. Especially recommend this title to young women.
It was well performed, I learned more about the Brontes, but it seemed to drag on and on for me. I didn't finish it after getting through about 2/3 of it. Just couldn't keep my interest.
Very good historical fiction - a great followup to Fall of Giants. Learned things I didn't know about the Spanish Civil war and the Fascists vs Nazis. Interesting character development.
I may have to try again, but I just can't make myself listen to this book, it just can not keep my interest. This comes from a 60 year old woman who devoured all the Harry Potter books! Narrator is great, but the story just dragged so much I moved on to something else.
It's bad enough being a teenager and trying to figure out the world. Now imagine you have a terminal illness and are "forced" to join a support group. You are trying to make life easier on your loving and grieving parents, keeping chipper and all that, and you meet the most wonderful friend anyone could have. He seems the picture of health, except he's missing a leg due to osteosarcoma. He's one of the lucky "survivors" - he teaches you many things about yourself and living your life while you still have one. Unexpected joy, sadness, and hope prevail in this tender story about a young woman and her first and probably last love.
It may make you cry, but listen anyway.
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