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1 Beaverton Literature- A to Z

Orphan Train: Novel

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Orphan Train: Novel Cover

ISBN13: 9780061950728
ISBN10: 0061950726
Condition: Standard
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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Between 1854 and 1929, so-called orphan trains ran regularly from the cities of the East Coast to the farmlands of the Midwest, carrying thousands of abandoned children whose fates would be determined by pure luck. Would they be adopted by a kind and loving family, or would they face a childhood and adolescence of hard labor and servitude?

As a young Irish immigrant, Vivian Daly was one such child, sent by rail from New York City to an uncertain future a world away. Returning east later in life, Vivian leads a quiet, peaceful existence on the coast of Maine, the memories of her upbringing rendered a hazy blur. But in her attic, hidden in trunks, are vestiges of a turbulent past.

Seventeen-year-old Molly Ayer knows that a community-service position helping an elderly widow clean out her attic is the only thing keeping her out of juvenile hall. But as Molly helps Vivian sort through her keepsakes and possessions, she discovers that she and Vivian aren't as different as they appear. A Penobscot Indian who has spent her youth in and out of foster homes, Molly is also an outsider being raised by strangers, and she, too, has unanswered questions about the past.

Moving between contemporary Maine and Depression-era Minnesota, Orphan Train is a powerful tale of upheaval and resilience, second chances, and unexpected friendship.

Review:

"Kline's absorbing new novel (after Bird in the Hand) is a heartfelt page-turner about two women finding a sense of home. Seventeen-year-old Penobscot Indian Molly Ayer has spent most of her life in foster care. When she's caught stealing a copy of Jane Eyre from the library, in an effort to keep the peace with her stressed foster parents, she ends up cleaning out elderly Vivian Daly's attic. Molly learns that Vivian was herself an orphan, an Irish immigrant in New York who was put on the Orphan Train in the late 1920s and tossed from home to home in Minnesota. The growing connection leads Molly to dig deeper into Vivian's life, which allows Molly to discover her own potential and helps Vivian rediscover someone she believed had been lost to her forever. Chapters alternate between Vivian's struggle to find a safe home, both physically and emotionally, in early 20th-century Minnesota, and Molly's similar struggle in modern-day Maine. Kline lets us live the characters' experiences vividly through their skin, and even the use of present tense, which could distract, feels suited to this tale. The growth from instinct to conscious understanding to partnership between the two is the foundation for a moving tale. Agent: Beth Vesel, the Beth Vesel Literary Agency." Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Review:

“I was so moved by this book. I loved Molly and Vivian, two brave, difficult, true-hearted women who disrupt one another's lives in beautiful ways, and loved journeying with them, through heartbreak and stretches of history I'd never known existed, out of loneliness toward family and home.” Marisa de los Santos, New York Times-bestselling author of Belong to Me and Falling Together

Review:

“In Orphan Train, Christina Baker Kline seamlessly knits together the past and present of two women, one young and one old. Kline reminds us that we never really lose anyone or anything or — perhaps most importantly — ourselves.” Ann Hood, author of The Knitting Circle

Review:

“Christina Baker Kline writes exquisitely about two unlikely friends...each struggling to transcend a past of isolation and hardship. Orphan Train will hold you in its grip as their fascinating tales unfold.” Cathy Marie Buchanan, New York Times-bestselling author of The Painted Girls

Review:

“A lovely novel about the search for family that also happens to illuminate a fascinating and forgotten chapter of American history. Beautiful.” Ann Packer, New York Times-bestselling author of The Dive from Clausen's Pier and Swim Back to Me

Review:

"Christina Baker Kline is a relentless storyteller. Once she sets her hook and starts reeling you in, struggle becomes counterproductive. The narrative line is too taut, the angler at the other end too skillful." Richard Russo, author of Empire Falls and That Old Cape Magic

Review:

"Evocative writing." New York Times Book Review

Review:

“Kline draws a dramatic, emotional story from a neglected corner of American history.” Kirkus Reviews

Review:

“A compelling story about loss, adaptability, and courage....With compassion and delicacy Kline presents a little-known chapter of American history and draws comparisons with the modern-day foster care system.” Library Journal

Review:

“The intertwined stories in this novel will surely please those looking for a compelling new read.” Cleveland Plain Dealer

Review:

“One of the most intriguing, tender novels of 2013....This is a warm, satisfying, and inspirational story.” The New Maine Times Book Review

Synopsis:

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 by Christina Baker Kline 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.

About the Author

Christina Baker Kline is the author of five novels, including Bird in Hand and The Way Life Should Be. Writer-in-Residence at Fordham University from 2007-2011, Kline is a recent recipient of a Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation Fellowship and several research fellowships (to Ireland and Minnesota), and has been a Writer-in-Residence at the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts. She lives with husband and three sons in Montclair, New Jersey, and spends as much time as possible in northern Minnesota and on the coast of Maine, where she grew up.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 9 comments:

Sheila Deeth, July 22, 2015 (view all comments by Sheila Deeth)
The young so often imagine the old don’t understand them, but, in Christina Baker Kline’s Orphan Train, Molly and Vivian learn the world hasn’t changed so much over the years as either imagined. Ninety-one-year-old Vivian survived the trials of history -- immigration from Irish poverty to American grind, loss of everything and everyone she knows, rejection, cruelty and abuse. She came out the other side of it all, seemingly rich and well-supplied with hope. So how can a mansion-dweller like she understand the pains of an unwanted teenager headed straight for juvie in the near future?

Orphan train brings two disparate women, young and old, rich and poor, together, revealing their stories with a natural progression, intertwining past and present to make for smooth and compelling reading. The viewpoints are clear and strong. The history is richly dark and real. And the present day, with its own neglects and cruelties, is just as authentically and sympathetically portrayed as the past.

In the absence of Hollywood’s fake happy endings, author Christina Baker Kline lets her characters lead the way to their own real sense of happiness. Dogged determination leads to light, in past and present, and a book that could be dark and dismal becomes ultimately uplifting, informative, and wonderfully encouraging. Acceptance must be accepted before it can help, but even the most broken journeys can reach a hopeful destination. I loved this book (which I read during a long well-broken journey on a plane).

Disclosure: My husband correctly guessed I was bound to love this.
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chileanrose, November 21, 2013 (view all comments by chileanrose)
I rarely give a book 5 stars and my criteria for rating is different with each book. I originally picked this up because the author is from Maine, my home state, and it is on the bestseller lists. It was easy to develop an affection for these characters and to believe the growing connection between the two orphans, the elderly lady and the young girl. I am always impressed when an author can create a triumphant story from a very sad topic and I loved learning about a little-known part of American history. It is one of those books that I feel requires very little analysis, but leaves you feeling good.
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(2 of 2 readers found this comment helpful)
Melinda Ott, August 2, 2013 (view all comments by Melinda Ott)
Review originally published on my blog westmetromommy.blogspot.com
4.75 Stars

I simply could not put this book down!

I had heard about the orphan trains first when I saw a documentary on The American Experience. Then, when I heard about this book, I knew I had to read it. I knew going in that it was about a girl on the orphan trains. However, I was not aware of the parallel story with Molly, the foster child. While I would have enjoyed this book if it were only about Vivian, I think the addition of Molly's story is what really gives it teeth.

I loved the writing style of this book. It was poetic without being too sophisticated for the subject matter. Baker Kline also does an excellent job of creating two truly memorable characters in Vivian and Molly. Both characters spend the bulk of the book in similar situations, but they escape the trap of melding into each other.

Parts of this book were very hard for me to read--not because it was badly written, but because it was so well written. The pain inflicted on these two girls is so astutely expressed that the reader can't help but feel it.

One touch I really liked was the introduction of two other works of literature: Jane Eyre and Anne of Green Gables. The introduction of two famous literary orphans was a nice detail in this book.

There only two minor things that are keeping me from giving this review 5 stars. For one thing, I was so engrossed in this story that I wish it was a bit longer, but I realize that is just my feeling. The other thing--and this is very petty on my part--but I kept wondering how Molly, a foster child in a less than generous placement, would have both a cell phone (I believe it was a smart phone, but I may be remembering that incorrectly) and a laptop. I know, it is a small detail, but it sort of nagged at me.

Every once in a while a book comes along that just invades your soul. For me, Orphan Train was one of those books and it is one that I will be recommending to just about everyone I know.
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View all 9 comments

Product Details

ISBN:
9780061950728
Subtitle:
A Novel
Author:
Kline, Christina Baker
Publisher:
William Morrow Paperbacks
Subject:
Literary
Subject:
Literature-A to Z
Edition Description:
Trade PB
Publication Date:
20130402
Binding:
Paperback
Language:
English
Pages:
304
Dimensions:
9 x 6 x 0.97 in 17.78 oz

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Orphan Train: Novel Used Trade Paper
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Product details 304 pages William Morrow & Company - English 9780061950728 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "Kline's absorbing new novel (after Bird in the Hand) is a heartfelt page-turner about two women finding a sense of home. Seventeen-year-old Penobscot Indian Molly Ayer has spent most of her life in foster care. When she's caught stealing a copy of Jane Eyre from the library, in an effort to keep the peace with her stressed foster parents, she ends up cleaning out elderly Vivian Daly's attic. Molly learns that Vivian was herself an orphan, an Irish immigrant in New York who was put on the Orphan Train in the late 1920s and tossed from home to home in Minnesota. The growing connection leads Molly to dig deeper into Vivian's life, which allows Molly to discover her own potential and helps Vivian rediscover someone she believed had been lost to her forever. Chapters alternate between Vivian's struggle to find a safe home, both physically and emotionally, in early 20th-century Minnesota, and Molly's similar struggle in modern-day Maine. Kline lets us live the characters' experiences vividly through their skin, and even the use of present tense, which could distract, feels suited to this tale. The growth from instinct to conscious understanding to partnership between the two is the foundation for a moving tale. Agent: Beth Vesel, the Beth Vesel Literary Agency." Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
"Review" by , “I was so moved by this book. I loved Molly and Vivian, two brave, difficult, true-hearted women who disrupt one another's lives in beautiful ways, and loved journeying with them, through heartbreak and stretches of history I'd never known existed, out of loneliness toward family and home.”
"Review" by , “In Orphan Train, Christina Baker Kline seamlessly knits together the past and present of two women, one young and one old. Kline reminds us that we never really lose anyone or anything or — perhaps most importantly — ourselves.”
"Review" by , “Christina Baker Kline writes exquisitely about two unlikely friends...each struggling to transcend a past of isolation and hardship. Orphan Train will hold you in its grip as their fascinating tales unfold.”
"Review" by , “A lovely novel about the search for family that also happens to illuminate a fascinating and forgotten chapter of American history. Beautiful.”
"Review" by , "Christina Baker Kline is a relentless storyteller. Once she sets her hook and starts reeling you in, struggle becomes counterproductive. The narrative line is too taut, the angler at the other end too skillful."
"Review" by , "Evocative writing."
"Review" by , “Kline draws a dramatic, emotional story from a neglected corner of American history.”
"Review" by , “A compelling story about loss, adaptability, and courage....With compassion and delicacy Kline presents a little-known chapter of American history and draws comparisons with the modern-day foster care system.”
"Review" by , “The intertwined stories in this novel will surely please those looking for a compelling new read.”
"Review" by , “One of the most intriguing, tender novels of 2013....This is a warm, satisfying, and inspirational story.”
"Synopsis" by , 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 by Christina Baker Kline 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.

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