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Orphan Train: A Novel | [Christina Baker Kline]

Orphan Train: A Novel

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.
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Publisher's Summary

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.

What the Critics Say

“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)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.3 (3718 )
5 star
 (1791)
4 star
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3 star
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4.3 (3304 )
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Story
4.3 (3308 )
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1 star
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Performance
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  •  
    eva Shavano Park, TX, United States 06-16-14
    eva Shavano Park, TX, United States 06-16-14 Member Since 2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
    8
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    47
    26
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    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
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    Performance
    Story
    "A trip that you feel a part of."

    The Orphan Train tears at your heart, while you are fascinated at the same time. Very believable well rounded characters, you feel sympathy for the terror it must have been to be in their shoes.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mandi Allen 06-16-14
    Mandi Allen 06-16-14 Member Since 2013
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    10
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "I wish it didn't end when it did"
    Would you consider the audio edition of Orphan Train to be better than the print version?

    Yes


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Vivian. Her resilience is remarkable. Her story is heartbreaking and endearing.


    Have you listened to any of Jessica Almasy and Suzanne Toren ’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    I'm not sure.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    When Molly discovered Vivian's sister survived. When Vivian's first husband died. I was in tears for her and shocked by her decision to give their daughter up for adoption. Finding out her daughter had been searching for her. When her daughter arrived, (the description of her great granddaughter) sounding like she looked just like Vivian. I also loved her teacher and Mrs. Murphy for taking such good care of her.


    Any additional comments?

    I wish that it would have continued on a chapter or two more. I really wanted to hear what Vivian's daughters life was like. I wanted to know how Vivian felt about all the years she missed with her daughter (if she felt anything) I wanted to know if they bonded or were more like starters. If it impacted Molly to see their reunion.
    My guess is they bonded and a part of Vivian could be at peace.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Elizabeth Abington, PA, United States 06-15-14
    Elizabeth Abington, PA, United States 06-15-14 Member Since 2007
    HELPFUL VOTES
    3
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    19
    14
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    FOLLOWING
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    "Wonderful, fully realized story!"

    This book introduced me to a time in our history I knew little about. The story is complex, moving from the past to the present, but with lovely redemtion at the end. I highly recommend this book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Moira L. Mefein Florida 06-15-14
    Moira L. Mefein Florida 06-15-14 Member Since 2013

    Walker8-6-17

    HELPFUL VOTES
    4
    ratings
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    22
    14
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    FOLLOWING
    0
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    Performance
    Story
    "Touching, Thought-provoking, and a realistic story"
    Would you listen to Orphan Train again? Why?

    Yes. I only buy books that I will listen to more than once. Each time I listen, I am visiting old friends (the characters) and ideas. Each time, I find new things to think about. Re-reading a book is very much like sitting with friends hearing stories you have heard many times before, and that are cherished parts of sharing.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Orphan Train?

    It was fun hearing about Niamh's first party night out with the girls - and the very unexpected twist in the story.


    Which character – as performed by Jessica Almasy and Suzanne Toren – was your favorite?

    Loved and empathized with Molly, but my favorite has to be Vivian/Niamh. She was wonderfully voiced, creating vivid mental pictures.


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

    Sometimes fiction is all about passing along the truth.


    Any additional comments?

    I had fairly extensive of the orphan trains in the U.S. and related programs in other parts of the world before reading this. For me, the story rang true in detail and circumstance. My heart aches for the "throw-away children" who have endured similar horrors all over the world.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    G.Keyzer 06-15-14
    G.Keyzer 06-15-14 Member Since 2013
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    3
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "I really loved this book !"
    If you could sum up Orphan Train in three words, what would they be?

    Surviving childhood well.


    What did you like best about this story?

    It was heartwarming , but never sentimental .


    Who was the most memorable character of Orphan Train and why?

    Both the survivors , Dorothy and Molly .


    Any additional comments?

    I didn't want this book to end ...

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    gloria Bradshaw FLAGSTAFF, AZ, US 06-14-14
    gloria Bradshaw FLAGSTAFF, AZ, US 06-14-14 Member Since 2008

    mother of 3 girls and 2 step-children, grandmother of 9, and great-grandmother of 10. Retired RN and Paramedic. Love life.

    ratings
    REVIEWS
    2
    2
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "A great listen"
    Would you consider the audio edition of Orphan Train to be better than the print version?

    I have not read the print version. I'm sure I would enjoy that as much.


    What did you like best about this story?

    The close comparison of two different generations and time periods,


    What does Jessica Almasy and Suzanne Toren bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    I haven't read the book so I can't compare.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    I wish I could have.


    Any additional comments?

    I very much liked this book and because I am in my 70s I could relate to both women,

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Barry A. Sankar Houston, TX USA 06-13-14
    Barry A. Sankar Houston, TX USA 06-13-14 Member Since 2014

    Busy Bee-

    ratings
    REVIEWS
    7
    5
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Great true tale"
    Where does Orphan Train rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    Swept into the past with the performance accompanied by this audio book. Narrators really grabbed your attention and propelled you through history


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sandra 06-11-14
    Sandra 06-11-14 Member Since 2009
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    12
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Trite"
    Is there anything you would change about this book?

    The reader moves in and out of an "Irish" accent which is annoying to begin with. The characters have no depth, most are dug out of stereotypes. Conversations are also trite and stereotypical with no depth. Characters are also one-sided. Bad or good. Nothing in between. The main character seems to float through life with no emotion at all. Weird for the jarring experiences she has.

    The story of the orphan trains is a worthwhile story. The book has no emotion at all for the story.


    Would you be willing to try another book from Christina Baker Kline? Why or why not?

    Probably not.


    How did the narrator detract from the book?

    Hated the narrator and the useless (and not very good) accents.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Pat Muncie, India 06-09-14
    Pat Muncie, India 06-09-14 Member Since 2013

    patkerash

    HELPFUL VOTES
    7
    ratings
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    224
    10
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    "Wow, so good."
    If you could sum up Orphan Train in three words, what would they be?

    Alone, struggle, triumphant..


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Orphan Train?

    The ending.


    What does Jessica Almasy and Suzanne Toren bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    A sense of sharing an adventure with real people.


    Who was the most memorable character of Orphan Train and why?

    Vivianne and all she went through.


    Any additional comments?

    I just loved the book. Not smaltzy or overly heart tugging. It was real, tight and had a beautiful resolution..

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sandra San Diego, CA, United States 06-08-14
    Sandra San Diego, CA, United States 06-08-14 Member Since 2004
    HELPFUL VOTES
    7
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    167
    16
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    2
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Good, but could have been great"
    Is there anything you would change about this book?

    I think I would have preferred to read this one. There wasn't anything wrong with the narrator, she did a good job, it's just that the story itself seemed to lack something in audible version. Vivian Daly's story was rich and fascinating, but Molly lacked the same umph... She seemed almost and afterthought thrown in after the story of Niamh was born and raised. Had Molly and the characters of her day been developed as well as Niamh, (AKA Dorothy, Vivian) this could have been an amazing book instead of just a good book.


    What three words best describe Jessica Almasy and Suzanne Toren ’s voice?

    Pleasant. Pedestrian. Vanilla.


    Could you see Orphan Train being made into a movie or a TV series? Who should the stars be?

    Not so much, maybe an "after-school special" or a Hallmark movie.


    Any additional comments?

    By the reviews I was expecting the likes of "The Kitchen House" or "Cutting for Stone", but this did not compare. Don't be dissuaded by my review, it is a pleasant, if not too predictable, story. I prefer an author who brings me into the belly of the characters.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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