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 was a Reading Specialist by trade , but mostly I'm a wife, mother, stepmother, grandmother, and servant to four cats.
Wonderfully touching story.
There were many, so it's hard to choose. I think when Vivian gets a computer at 91 and we watch in as she sits in wonder as a whole new world of communication opens up to her...such a simple thing that we take for granted, but her intimidation becomes determination and her excitement is beautifully portrayed.
They brought both women to life with real personalities, especially the "bite" to Molly's personality.
If I had the time to commit, yes!
This is a "don't miss" book! Incredibly touching. You sit in wonder at these two strong women who have endured so much, so much loss. I wanted the story to continue!
I have a 3 hour commute to work every day so I listen to audiobooks to help with my drive. It's added some happiness to my day (if it's a good book)!
I have never had a desire to hear a book a second time.
The Chaperone was similar.
I could not stand when she narrated the voice of Molly.
Addicted to Audible!
Having recently listened to The Chaperone, the topic of the Orphan train intrigued me and I was eager to read more about it. This book contrasts the experience of a modern day "orphan" navigating the foster care system with the experience of a woman who experienced the Orphan Train as a child and how it affected her life. I enjoyed the way the book bounced between each time period drawing parallels between the common problems experienced by the orphaned children. The sadness of being unloved, the personality traits that are developed when you learn to mistrust, the attitudes of society. It also reminded me of The Language of Flowers. If you enjoyed either of these books I think that this would be a great choice. The only downside was the narrator, her narration was great except when she read with an Irish accent which was terrible. However, it didnt detract enough from the story to make it a difficult listening experience
A gentle story of an orphaned girl in the 1920s, sad but uplifting in conclusion. Would recommend.
I enjoy historical, paranormal, and contemporary romance. Also steampunk, sci-fi, fantasy, suspense, and fiction. I'm open to about anything
I hope you listen to this book. The main characters have lives that are sort of similar in experiences, but from different eras. However, the author does not hit you in the face with it, but rather lets it float into your consciousness through the narrative. I mention main characters, but one seems to stand out more. Both are females with disconnected pasts, but the narrative of the older creates growth in the younger, while that growth helps the older character find more connection. I really would have liked more background on the younger woman, but I think Ms Kline wanted to focus on historic events rather than contemporary ones. I usually tolerate interruptions in my listening experiences, but I got downright cranky during this book. It's definitely going on my over and over list!
This book is told in the voices of young females. The narrator sounds like Alvin the Chipmunk. I had to quit listening, and when the voice leaves my head, I will try to read it. Right now it seems a little thin.
The interplay between Molly's story and Vivienne's was extraordinary! The unfolding of Vivienne's history was perfect - how could a young child survive such overwhelming circumstances - and yet she did and lived to tell about them. The narrators were wonderful. I loved this book and will recommend to everyone! Beautifully written and compelling. My heart goes out to all the children who rode that orphan train!
As a work of historical fiction, a piece of genealogical interest, a story of redemption, an interesting narrative of the value of intergenerational communications, this is a great piece on many levels. It is also extremely well written. The narrators were amazing and added so much to the enjoyment. My only regret is that there was so much profanity in the modern-day section. I suppose it was a purposeful effort to draw a distinction between the generations, but for me it was jarring and unnecessary, particularly with the level of writing in this book. I only wish I could find an edited version to share!
Such an amazing, real, sad, happy, loving, and well written book. The story was so great, it opened my eyes to adoption and I wanted to save the main character! The narrator was fantastic as well!
Could not stop listening... great story. Real and yet, warm and sweet. The narrator took you right to the place and time so it felt so natural!
I am an avid "reader"- I prefer to listen to books rather than read them due to the added dimension added by the narrator.
I actually started listening to this book once, stopped and then started again. The second time was a charm. I found myself being drawn deeply into the lives of the two girls who later, it is revealed, have more in common than is initially evident. This book gives a disturbing window into the life of orphans who were sent on trains to find "people" who would look after them. Often they were abused and led very sad lives, often hardening into criminals. This was a book I enjoyed reading from beginning to end in just over a day.
The author's writing style was very authentic and beautifully done in order to allow the reader into the heads of the two girls. A wonderful read.
"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.
"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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