Review: Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline

15818107 “I believe in ghosts. They’re the ones who haunt us, the ones who have left us behind. Many times in my life I have felt them around me, observing, witnessing, when no one in the living world knew or cared what happened.”

Orphan Train pulled me in from the very beginning with the prologue and this haunting opening paragraph.

This is a very moving narrative with alternate settings in both the present day and the 1920’s through 1940’s. It starts with 17 year old Molly, who has been bounced around the foster care system for the last 8 years or so and has currently landed in a home that’s not so bad in the grand scheme of things. Molly is used to wearing her goth makeup like a mask.

“As a newcomer Molly had liked the distance her persona created, the wariness and mistrust she saw in the eyes of her peers. But though she’s loath to admit it, lately that persona has begun to feel restrictive.”

When she is caught stealing a book that she would like to have for her own Molly needs to do 50 hours of community service. She ends up doing the time with Vivian, a 91 year old woman, in her attic helping to clean and sort through all of her boxes. This begins her story and the story of the orphan trains in the 20’s.

It took me a while to get into Vivian’s story until she was actually on the orphan train and when that happens this novel really began to shape into a beautiful, woven story for me. Through Vivian’s telling of her history we’re also hearing of Molly’s as well. The unlikely friendship between the two women evolves throughout the book and changes them both.

I really enjoyed both of these stories and felt the author did a beautiful job of weaving the two together to create one full story. We don’t get a complete look at either Molly or Vivian and it seems that at the end it’s because together we get everything. The journey of both is overwhelming and inspiring at turns.

I would highly recommend this book to readers of all ages from YA to adults and to anyone who likes historical novels.

4 stars

~Clio

Buy it Now Orphan Train: A Novel

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