Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline
Publisher: Audible Inc (April 2013)
William Morrow Paperbacks (April 2013)
Audio Source: Personal Library
Book Source: Publisher via She Reads
Formats Available: Paperback, Kindle, Audio
Format Read: audio book, and Paperback
Narrated by: Jessica Almasy and Suzanne Toren
Running Time: 8 hours 21 minutes
Synopsis from Goodreads: The author of Bird in Hand and The Way Life Should Be delivers her most ambitious and powerful novel to date: a captivating story of two very different women who build an unexpected friendship: a 91-year-old woman with a hidden past as an orphan-train rider and the teenage girl whose own troubled adolescence leads her to seek answers to questions no one has ever thought to ask.
Nearly eighteen, Molly Ayer knows she has one last chance. Just months from “aging out” of the child welfare system, and close to being kicked out of her foster home, a community service position helping an elderly woman clean out her home is the only thing keeping her out of juvie and worse.
Vivian Daly has lived a quiet life on the coast of Maine. But in her attic, hidden in trunks, are vestiges of a turbulent past. As she helps Vivian sort through her possessions and memories, Molly discovers 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.
The closer Molly grows to Vivian, the more she discovers parallels to her own life. A Penobscot Indian, she, too, is an outsider being raised by strangers, and she, too, has unanswered questions about the past. As her emotional barriers begin to crumble, 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 second chances, of unexpected friendship, and of the secrets we carry that keep us from finding out who we are.
My thoughts: I have a confession to make. I listened/read Orphan Train in May and this review has been languishing in my drafts folder since then. Thus, the mini review. Orphan Train was a book that I was hesitant about going in and only picked it up because it was a She Reads selection.
Once I began listening to it and gained momentum I discovered that it wasn’t as bleak as I’d anticipated it to be. As a matter of fact, I found it to be an interesting marriage of the past and the present. It struck me as a perfect example of the old adage that people come into your lives just as you need them most. I was completely ignorant of the concept of an Orphan Train until picking up this book. Kline’s Orphan Train gives the reader a lot to think about.
On the narration: I had no complaints while listening to it. I think the two narrators were able to capture the essence of the various characters throughout the story.
Orphan Train is worth giving a try either in print or audio format if you are looking for something that is both enlightening and entertaining.
© 2013, Teresa. All rights reserved.