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 loved the story, but I struggled with the narration at times. One of the narrators spoke fast and sounded like a chipmunk. I had to slow down the narration speed, but it never sounded quite right. My interest in the story line kept me engaged, not the narration.
At 1st I thought the book was going to be boring but once u really get into the book it gets so good and jaw dropping one of the best books I have ever read!!
Thoroughly enjoyed the story. Well written and narrated. Very difficult lives of two orphans decades apart end up having a positive influence on each other.
The story is interesting and heart wrenching at times. The situations the characters live through are myriad and for the most part sad. T he sad part is the so often of uncaring, cold and too often cruel and unforgivable actions by the majority of adults in the story. These actions don't seem, according to the story, to have have changed or improved over a century and I will have to do more research to see if this story portrays the norm or exception. I pray it's the exception, though perhaps it's not. I don't feel the book is complete enough and the emotions of the main characters too often lack depth. There is no rancor at any point in them, which, and maybe it's just me, seems unreal.
The performance is ok at best. I wish Vivian's voice had grown up as she did. I had a hard time imaging her as an adult. The lack of emotion in the voices only intensifies the lack of emotions in the characters themselves.
I loved learning about this little-known fact in American history. The two female protagonists were fascinating. I eventually learned to like the narrator. The story kept me coming back for more.
The story was average. The reader made the story, very well read. The ending could have been better.
"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.
"A wonderful read from start to finish"
A rollercoaster of emotions and surprises. Would recommend to anyone as it's a great read xx
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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