There are some books that you wish would go on forever… No matter where the author chooses to end the story it is too soon for you You are just so enthralled with the characters – their past and their future – that you can’t help but want more. Christina Baker-Kline’s novel, Orphan Train is one of these books….
Molly Ayer, a seventeen year old girl in foster care, reluctantly agrees to help Vivian Daly, a wealthy ninety-one year old woman living in a mansion in Maine clean out her attic, as a way to avoid going to juvie. Molly can’t imagine spending so many hours with an elderly lady, one who she is sure would have no concept of Molly’s life.
Molly couldn’t have been more wrong….
As a young child, Vivian’s parents left their home in Ireland seeking a better life in America. Instead of finding happiness in New York, the family was destroyed by a devastating fire. All alone, Vivian was first sent to an orphanage and then placed on an OrphanTrain headed to the Midwest. Like many other train riders, Vivian’s life in Minnesota was far from easy. She lost her name (twice), her childhood, and struggled to survive. But she never lost her spirit….
Spanning eighty years, Christina expertly alternates sharing Molly’s and Vivian’s life – stories of adversity, neglect, love, and resilience. Despite how different these woman’s circumstances are their experiences are so similar… and their unlikely friendship is just what they both need….
On an aside – I am very lucky. I have had the pleasure to get to know Christina, she edited my memoir. Christina is not only a talented writer, but she is an excellent teacher (I hear her voice in my head whenever I write – including work emails), a darling person, and a true inspiration….