Orphan Train is a gripping story of friendship and second chances from Christina Baker Kline, author of Bird in Hand and The Way Life Should Be.
Penobscot Indian Molly Ayer is close to "aging out" out of the foster care system. A community-service position helping an elderly woman clean out her home is the only thing keeping Molly out of juvie and worse....
As she helps Vivian sort through her possessions and memories, Molly learns that she and Vivian aren’t as different as they seem to be. A young Irish immigrant orphaned in New York City, Vivian was put on a train to the Midwest with hundreds of other children whose destinies would be determined by luck and chance. Molly discovers that she has the power to help Vivian find answers to mysteries that have haunted her for her entire life - answers that will ultimately free them both.
Rich in detail and epic in scope, Orphan Train is a powerful novel of upheaval and resilience, of unexpected friendship, and of the secrets we carry that keep us from finding out who we are.
©2013 Christina Baker Kline (P)2013 Audible, Inc.
“The narrator of Orphan Train, Jessica Almasy, does an incredible read. Listening to Almasy’s rendition of this book - so vivid and emotional - was as much fun as getting swept away by an Oscar-winning movie.” (Parents.com)
"Absorbing...a heartfelt page-turner about two women finding a sense of home.... Kline lets us live the characters’ experiences vividly through their skin.... The growth from instinct to conscious understanding to partnership between the two is the foundation for a moving tale." (Publishers Weekly)
“Kline's vibrant, sophisticated language comes alive with the sparkling talents of narrators Jessica Almasy and Suzanne Toren. Their finely paced, enthusiastic portrayals of the charming main characters quickly capture the listener.” (AudioFile)
I love to walk and run listening to audiobooks
The Orphan Train is a light treatment of a fascinating topic: the mass forced migration of hundreds of thousands of children without guardians (orphaned or otherwise) from NYC to the Midwest by the Children's Aid Society, a Christian mission which believed that instilling Midwestern values in NYC's vagrant children would save them from a life of evil and vice. The element I think I enjoyed most about this book is how the author created a modern-day "orphan" and juxtaposed her with a nonagenarian orphan and had the two women (re)discover family, love and joie de vivre through their interactions. The characters could have been more deeply developed, more finely drawn. But as a light beach read, this book is very satisfying.
Couldn't put it down. I absolutely loved this book!! Anyone could relate to the heart break and I would recommend it to anyone. Such an invaluable life lesson told through this story. Will definitely be listening to it again.
Such a wonderful story of determination. Loved Molly and Vivian whose lives paralleled
one another decades apart. Especially loved the narrator whose voice became every character to perfection! Have already recommended Orphan Train to numerous readers!
Just a great way to learn about recent American history. These are things that we never heard about in school in the 70's. A great lesson in life and enduring. A fabulous read!
I am still new to Audible, but Orphan Train is my favorite audiobook I've listened to thus far.
I read a lot of historical fiction books and there are several in this genre. I can't think of one off the top of my head that quite compares though.
The telling of this story was so great- it was easy to keep characters straight and added so much to the interpretation!
I had an extreme reaction to this book- I was hoping for one thing throughout the whole story and it FINALLY happened which made me cry (of happiness) and then it was taken away which made me cry again (of heartbreak). The story was well rounded and stayed with me for several days after I finished listening.
This is such a great listen! I highly recommend it to any audible "readers."
"Lovely easy read"
I chose the book as it was on the New York bestseller list. I really enjoyed the way the story developed and especially Niamh/Vivienne's story. I did not particularly enjoy the 2011 part with Molly in it. I had no real interest in her but could see it was part of the setup of the story. It was really hard to read how orphan children were treated and how their lives were so disrupted or aided depending on who took them in. It makes you realise how lucky life is not to have had such experiences in it. I thought the narrative was very good and aided delivery of the story. I would highly recommend it.
loved this from start to finish. strong story, strong characters and narrated very well.
"Average slice of history"
The history - I want to find out more facts on the children who experienced this and inspired the story.
No it was too fast and dismissive of the story being told. Not completely the fault of the narrator as the writing style is somewhat dismissive too.
I was really looking forward to reading this but it turned out to be a lightweight, flat novel. Yes, I know it's fiction but still there was a great opportunity to share this hidden slice of social history when orphan children were placed with completely unsuitable families, albeit by authorities with the best of intentions.
Told from two time periods the story follows the 1920/30 orphan train experiences of Niamh (Irish born immigrant to the US), alongside a modern day foster care child, Molly. Molly is clearing out the loft of Viviene in punishment for a theft and this is how the two time strands link together. I'm fine with this parallel approach but the novel jumped frequently between the two times which I found distracting.
My biggest issue is the lack of emotion I felt, even when we hear about the terrible hardships Niamh experienced. I think the issue was the child point of view which meant there wasn't much depth to the reflection. The narrative also had a quality to it like someone is telling you a story at a party but it goes on and on without any respite.
Added to this was the fast paced, almost breathless narration. I tried to slow it down but it didn't work well. The narration was almost dismissive of the events she was telling the reader about.
In terms of the experiences of these children the novel has raised my interest and I would certainly seek out more on this topic. I did feel that Niamh seemed to have every disaster befall her, which may or may not be realistic. It isn't a bad novel per se, it just could've been done differently which would have increased my enjoyment.
It is life story told marvellously well via flash backs that link the most unlikely fostered teenagers contemporary issues' spanning eight decades! A page turner without doubt.
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