Today I have a review of an historical fiction title. This was last months book club read. My real-world book club overall enjoyed the title and we had lots of good discussion on it. If you've already read Orphan Train, I'm sure you have a few opinions and questions. I've included a video of Christina Baker Kline answering the most popular book club questions that she receives.
Release Date: October 28, 2014 (first published 2013)
Format: Audio MP3
Pages: Hardcover: 288 pages | Audio Length: Approx 8.5 hours
Narrators: Jessica Almasy, Suzanne Toren
Genre: Historical Fiction, Adult Fiction
Review Date: July 29, 2015
Rating: 4 bookmarks
Synopsis: 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.
Kline opened my eyes to the Orphan Train. I had no idea that these sort of situations existed. Hearing Vivian's story was just heartbreaking. knowing that children, and in some cases immigrants children, could be treated so terribly was hard to digest. The fact that adults who are suppose to protect kids allow them to be placed into horrible situations.
I felt that Vivian was the more prevalent character in this story and Molly was just the vessel to help tell Vivian's story. Vivian had a hard life and I began to to empathize with her character. She's been through a lot and it's hard to find any fault with her character. One thing that I did find odd was how she dealt with her pregnancy. I won't say what she did, but I will say that I thought her character was much stronger and would have handled it differently.
On the flip side, I couldn't really get to the point where I felt strongly about Molly's character. Molly is supposedly going through a similar experience in present day, but it doesn't seem quite as moving as Vivian's story.
Listen to a sample of the audiobook below.
As I mentioned earlier, I listened to this on audiobook and in all honesty, I had no clue there were two narrators! I guess I've just been lucky to have recent experience with amazing narrators that can transform their voice, so I assumed (which I should never do) that it was the same in this case. Regardless, I enjoyed it. The narrators did a good job with bringing the story to life.
If you're looking for a good book club read, I definitely recommend Orphan Train. If you like historical fiction titles that cross over with present day, this would be a good choice for you as well. If this subject has peeked your interest, read more about Orphan Trains here.
Happy Reading & Listening,