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)
This book tells a pleasant, mostly uplifting story, but I found it a little simplistic and predictable. The older woman's stories are much more intriguing than the modern-day girl's struggles, because they weave in so much history. Her stories were definitely the highlight of the book for me.
More mainstream narrators.
It felt like the author wanted to put in a sensational gotcha ending. Unfortunately, it made no sense and Vivian's "I was a coward" just did not cut it. Had the book continued and we got true insite into her action, maybe there could have been some saving this book. Was she trying to show that adoption could be wonderful? Who knows?
I expected this book to be very interesting--based on all the high reviews. But I found the characters quite simple and the ending extremely predictable. While I enjoyed learning about the orphan train and it broke my heart to hear about Vivian's childhood, I thought the author's simplistic writing style caused the book to lack depth. Perhaps if I hadn't expected so much from the book, I would have liked it more.
A great story of becoming someone. Orphan Train is a great story of how two people move through the terror and hardship of their young lives to become something else, and become inspirational to another. Very moving story with lots of introspective.
This book was well written, well performed, and I truly truly enjoyed it. I highly recommend that anyone read it
The performance and story were both fantastic. I can't explain how much I enjoyed both the modern story as well as the historical one. Loved it!
"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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