The Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline
What a wonderful read this was! I can honestly say I had never heard about the “orphan trains” from American history and wow, how eye opening. It is definitely a topic that I will be digging into after this read.
When 90 year old Vivian Daly needs someone to help her clean out her attic, the task falls to rough around the edges Molly. Molly is a foster kid who has one foot out of the door in her current placement due to her recent run in with the law. Cleaning out the attic seems a boring if easy job for Molly to complete her community service hours. The hours spent with Vivian going through the mementos of her life begin to forge an unlikely bond between the two women.
In the early 1900’s a young Irish immigrant (our very own Vivian Daly) finds herself an orphan after an unfortunate apartment fire kills her parents and siblings. Along with thousands of other children during this time period, young Vivian finds herself aboard the orphan train, headed to the Midwest in the hope of finding a kind family to take her in. So begins Vivians journey across the vastness of the Midwest with only her meager belongings and the strength of her spirit.
This book was told in alternating time periods; with Molly in the present day, and Vivian in the early 1900’s into present day. My heart hurt for both girls, orphaned and alone in the world trying to not only survive but make a way and forge an identity. They each experienced heartbreak and pain, but their shared resilience and fortitude seemed a common thread in both their lives, separated by decades. Their stories were one of thousands of stories, both from the time of the orphan trains to the current foster system in the United States. Klines writing was detailed and heartfelt, and I couldn’t read fast enough!
I highly recommend this read, it was full of emotions and an absolute page turner.
Until next week!