Orphan Train: A Novel by Christina Baker KlineOrphan Train: A Novel by Christina Baker Kline

Orphan Train: A Novel

byChristina Baker Kline

Paperback | April 2, 2013

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The #1 New York Times Bestseller

Christina Baker Kline’s Orphan Train is an unforgettable story of friendship and second chances that highlights a little-known but historically significant movement in America’s past—and it includes a special PS section for book clubs featuring insights, interviews, and more.

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 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.

Christina Baker Kline is the author of five novels. She lives out-side of New York City and on the coast of Maine.
Title:Orphan Train: A NovelFormat:PaperbackDimensions:320 pages, 8 × 5.31 × 0.8 inPublished:April 2, 2013Publisher:HarperCollinsLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0061950726

ISBN - 13:9780061950728

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Rated 3 out of 5 by from An engaging read A homely red-headed orphan girl’s story from the 1920’s era juxtaposed with a modern story of an angst-ridden teenager in the foster care system. The two meet when the orphan is in her early nineties and they become friends, bonding over their similar childhoods. A very engaging read, switching back and forth between narrators, as so many novelists seem to do. It’s short and easy, and almost could be classified as a young adult novel. The title had me worried that it would be a very difficult read, emotionally, but except for one part where the orphan is sexually abused by a guardian, it was quite bearable. I would recommend it.
Date published: 2018-06-20
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Loved this book This book was just a lovely read. Characters were likable and the book was well written. Definitely a read again book!
Date published: 2018-05-05
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Slow read Not the most exciting novel, I thought I'd enjoy it more but I've been dragging it for months and swapping it for more interesting reads. There is not much action in this novel, just some storytelling and flashbacks of the past combined with the future.
Date published: 2018-04-30
Rated 4 out of 5 by from A lovely little book While the book is very predictable, it is still a touching story and interesting because of its historical relevance.
Date published: 2018-04-06
Rated 5 out of 5 by from informative and a page turner This novel is amazing!! A definite " I can't put it down kind of novel!!". It begins with 3 orphans on a train in New York. Each one a child of an immigrant family who for whatever reason becomes "misplaced". As the story develops, it centers around Niamh (aka Vivian) a young girl on the orphan train who believes her family perished in their apartment fire and Molly also an orphan and Penobscot Indian who is on probation for the theft of a library book and maintains an image of rebellious goth. Their stories are amazing and unimaginable to read...their relationship accepting, loving and supportive.
Date published: 2018-03-07
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Amazing It is hard to believe this actually happened way back, this is how kids were given to families to adopt! No screening of parents, they just wanted to find homes for these kids no matter what.
Date published: 2018-01-13
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Meh This was a pretty predictable novel.
Date published: 2017-07-24
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A loving read!! I wish they were more pages in this book. I wanted to know more about little Vivian and the struggling to get a happy family. I highly recommend this book!
Date published: 2017-07-19
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Decent A good story but also a little difficult
Date published: 2017-07-15
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Good read A very interesting novel about a subject that was unknown to me. A well written and touching story.
Date published: 2017-07-03
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Okay I was so looking forward to this book. Disappointed that I only found it to be okay, somehow the story and characters fell short.
Date published: 2017-05-26
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Moving and Engaging I found it hard to put this book down. I love stories that move back and forth in time also the concept of the orphan trains has always been an interesting piece of history to explore. The characters were resilient and yet emotionally fragile.
Date published: 2017-04-26
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A Favourite! I started this book on a whim at 3:00 pm and finished it by 7:00 a.m. I had a cat nap in between but I could not put this book down. I loved how the chapters went back and forth from present to past. Our book club decided to read it after I suggested it. All 15 women LOVED IT!!!
Date published: 2017-04-13
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Amazing BOOK!! This book is amazing. It has historical facts and at the end of the book has pictures. Was a great read and was hard to put the book down. Hits on many emotional levels of friendship, true love, and family.
Date published: 2017-04-05
Rated 5 out of 5 by from very touchy... This is one of the few stories you read slowly and grasp everything. Generally we take our life for granted--for the way we live, we sleep, we eat. But for the nine year old orphan girl, who once moved with her family from Ireland to New York, in hope of a better life, and then watching her entire family being burned down and dead in an accident, Vivian is set off on an orphan train, all the way from east coast to mid-west with other thousands of children. After reading the book, you will realize how privileged you are being raised by your own birth parents with love and care. We can never imagine how the life takes its toll when you have to move from one foster home to another--as you'd never know how the foster family would treat you. It is the story of hope, loss, love, courage, reunions, and teaches you that life moves on like a train carriage, from one station to another. You encounter new people on every platform and station--leaving those behind who had different destination. This is a definite five-star read!
Date published: 2017-03-24
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Okay Orphan train was a good story and at times very sad. I enjoyed the book for the most part except a couple of parts that made me feel ill. Those poor children! #plumreview
Date published: 2017-03-18
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A great read!!! This was a beautiful story. It's a must read!!!
Date published: 2017-03-14
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Moving Story I enjoyed this book. Beautifully written and interesting characters.
Date published: 2017-03-06
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Great Read Loved this book. Loved the story line and the characters.
Date published: 2017-03-05
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Orphan Train I found this book a little predictable and the characters pretty cliche, unfortunately. Overall, I think it's well written but the story missed the mark for me.
Date published: 2017-03-05
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Excellent read! Excellent story . Read it in 2 sittings. A real page turner!!!! A heartfelt story about two woman . An older woman, 91 years of age and a young teenage 17 year old girl. Don't know why I waited so log to read this book. I most certainly will be looking for other books buy this author.
Date published: 2017-02-21
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Orphan Train This story was super predictable and I didn't find it very informative as far as historical fiction was concerned. I found the character's were hard to fall in love with like other novels. #plumreview
Date published: 2017-02-09
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Historical parts were best I enjoyed it. It brought back memories of the Orphan Train movie I used to watch when I was a kid. I normally avoid books that alternate between history and present-day, and I have to admit that I enjoyed the early 1920s/Orphan Train parts of the novel more than the rest, but overall it worked for me. There was one line in the book that resonated with me, that I'll have to write down and keep handy..."the people who matter in our lives stay with us, haunting our most ordinary moments..." I take it to mean that people who make a significant impact on our lives affect the remainder of our day-to-day lives even if they aren't a physical part of it. Something to think about.
Date published: 2017-02-04
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great! This book balances present day and the past through its two main characters. Both stories share the same theme of being orphaned. I really thought it was well executed.
Date published: 2017-01-27
Rated 5 out of 5 by from loved This is a very well written book and a wonderful love story. I would recommend it. #plumreview
Date published: 2017-01-16
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Interesting Storytelling The title of this book caught my eye so i bought it to read. The first chapters kind of dragged but as i went along i could not put it down. The two main characters Vivian and Molly share their lives to one another in turn their friendship grows. It was very interesting to read about how Vivian had to bounce from foster home until the perfect family adopted her. Molly is a rebel teen who has to do community services to stay out of juvie and her working relationship turns into a deep friendship with Vivian. I would recommand this book loved it.
Date published: 2016-12-30
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Good story but somewhat predictable I liked this book. The story was moving as it relates to the orphans and the unlikely friendship but it was a bit predictable. This would be a good read for teen girls.
Date published: 2016-12-20
Rated 4 out of 5 by from A moving story This is a really great and moving story that will have you hooked until the last page. A must read!
Date published: 2016-12-19
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Interesting Interesting read on a topic that seems to be little-known. Worth a read.
Date published: 2016-12-06
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Very good I’ve had Orphan Train on my shelf for quite some time before I finally pulled it out. I enjoyed Niamh/Dorothy/Vivian story very much. Molly's story, not so much. Before this book I never knew about the Orphan Trains, and it's truly sad to imagine what those kids had to go through just to find a "real" family. I despised Molly's foster mom Dina, I just wanted to slap her and tell Ralph to grow a pair. I wish there was more about Dutchy's story after they parted. All in all, a pretty enlightening read. 3 1/2 stars.
Date published: 2016-11-10
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Couldn't put it down! I absolutely loved this book. I take transit to and from work and I even refused a ride with a colleague because I couldn't wait to get on the train and keep reading this book. I also missed my stop because I was so engrossed in the beautiful storytelling. One of my favourite books of all time. Happy reading.
Date published: 2016-06-05
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Great Read I really enjoyed reading this book as the author did a great job at describing a terrible time in history when orphaned children were put on trains and shipped off to cities to essentially be auctioned off to whomever needed help, not necessarily those who wanted children. If the description of how these children were treated is accurate, it is horrifying. Fast forward to a modern day scenario where a young rebel who had been in and out of foster care and hadn't had any truly caring figure in her life to trust for most of her young years, can (initially unbeknownst to her) finally find some similarities with a former orphan train child. The author did a great job of moving back and forth between the early to mid-1900s to modern day. The two stories are truly moving but the very end is a little predictable/weak in my opinion. Otherwise I really enjoyed reading this book and finished it fairly quickly.
Date published: 2016-04-27
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Wonderful! Wonderful moving story, couldn't put it down!
Date published: 2016-01-06
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Orphan Train Awesome story. Great real life accounts of a hstorical tm in our history. I loved the parallel lives of the two main characters. A great reAd.
Date published: 2015-10-28
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Thoroughly enjoy it. I loved this book. A beautiful story and written so well. It jumped back and forth in time early in the novel but eventually came together so well.
Date published: 2015-10-17
Rated 5 out of 5 by from great story this is one of the better books that she written,I loved the story and the way it all fell into place it keeps you wanting to read more of the story
Date published: 2015-09-23
Rated 5 out of 5 by from great story this is one of the better books that she written,I loved the story and the way it all fell into place it keeps you wanting to read more of the story
Date published: 2015-09-23
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Orphan Train It's about learning to survive on a train of orphans as an child in life and in hard times in mid western state
Date published: 2015-09-22
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great read Love the way the author weaves together the stories of the main caregivers. A little-known chapter of history brought to life.
Date published: 2015-09-22
Rated 4 out of 5 by from The Orphan Train An enjoyable read about a sad time in history. I really liked the way the story flowed. It revolves around the story of an elderly woman and a young orphan who have a lot in common.
Date published: 2015-09-13
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Orphan train Interesting novel...well written and based on real facts. The interaction between characters is believable and well woven into the story. Leaves the reader pondering about the untold stories from these events.
Date published: 2015-09-04
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Orphan Train Excellent, fascinating read. I truly enjoy historical fiction and this was primo! When I finished the book, I sat there pondering the history behind the story. DO read the very interesting history behind the story at the end of the book.
Date published: 2015-08-24
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Loved it !! Maybe it was a bit simplistic as one review stated, but the story was beautiful as well as informative. It was easy to follow and you do not lose track of who is who and the relationships. As with most who commented I too had never heard of the 'orphan trains'. I am Canadian so am wondering if we had them in Canada as well?? Loved how the relationship between Vivian and Molly evolved and I could understand why this friendship worked. The hardships of families in the '20's (and beyond - and before in reality) is heart wrenching, most of us cannot even imagine. To lose your family or be given away because you could not be taken care of, is truly horrible. I would definitely recommend this book.
Date published: 2015-08-05
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Orphan train What a wonderful story. I loved all the charactors. Molley and vivian became such close friends and were so good for one another. Iloved this story.
Date published: 2015-07-13
Rated 5 out of 5 by from very good book even though the characters were fictional I really enjoyed following them and the fact that the events were true made it very interesting
Date published: 2015-07-09
Rated 4 out of 5 by from I loved it! I liked how the story was based on a historical event. I was not aware of the 'Orphan Trains' until I read this book. I thought the characters were interesting and liked how they evolved. The reality of foster care and the war came through for both main characters. I would recommend this book.
Date published: 2015-06-17
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Orphan Train A book I had a hard time putting down, and a hard time not thinking about it when I had to. Wonderful story, and I've learned something new about the world's history (I'm Canadian.) Highly recommended.
Date published: 2015-06-13
Rated 2 out of 5 by from disappointing This is not a well-written book, and that lack of good writing gets in the way of the reader's enjoyment. Both the writing and the "message" are simplistic.
Date published: 2015-06-06
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Entertaining I found it to be a good way to pass the time. My one criticism... Over too quickly! I had never heard of real orphan train activity; I'm going to read more of the history of that sad subject.
Date published: 2015-04-16
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Good easy read I enjoyed Orphan Train, was easy to read and kept me interested and wanting to find out what happened to the main characters. Also interested to read about this part of history.
Date published: 2015-04-12
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great and moving story I could not put this book down! Orphan Train is the powerful stories of Molly and Vivian whos paths cross by fate, or a well-meaning boyfriend, you decide. Molly is an angry teenager who has been dealt a crappy hand at life. Going from one foster home to another, she is not exactly living a normal life. After getting herself into a bit of trouble, Molly is paired with Vivan, a rich 90 year-old woman, who Molly agrees to help clean out her attic for her community service hours. As each story unfolds, we learn about the sometimes harsh world of foster care and the devastating losses young children should never deal with. Through Vivan's heartbreaking and touching story, both Vivan and Molly finds a piece of themselves and uncover a common bond.
Date published: 2015-04-09
Rated 4 out of 5 by from lovely book This was a wonderful book to read, especially when it was based on actual historical facts. I was not aware of the "orphan trains" until I read the book. This book is highly recommended by me.
Date published: 2015-04-06
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Amazing!!!!! I think that orphan train is an amazing book and i will tell everybody about it! I think that there should be a sequal thats in the adults veiw.
Date published: 2015-04-01
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Wonderful book I could not put this book down once I started it. The two main characters were so well developed and the story was heart-wrenching! I enjoyed every page and was so sad when I finished it! Also, I liked learning a little history as I devoured the story.
Date published: 2015-03-16
Rated 5 out of 5 by from I loved this story I had never heard of the orphan trains, the story and the characters are beautiful. I would recommend the book to family and friends.
Date published: 2015-03-11
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Orphan Train I absolutely loved the story line and the main characters of the book! - I had never heard of the "Orphan Train" and it's children...this book inspired me to research more about this real event... I have recommended this book to friends and relatives.
Date published: 2015-02-23
Rated 4 out of 5 by from enjoyable story I really enjoyed this book the way in went back in time and that the book was based on what use to really happen years ago
Date published: 2015-02-21
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Orphan train Great b00k I Would recommend it to all the parents that adopted o --thank you Sue montreal At t
Date published: 2015-02-14
Rated 4 out of 5 by from interesting I found this story very enjoyable. I never knew a thing about orphan trains till I saw this book. It kept me very interested and you should check it out.
Date published: 2015-02-13
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Orphan train Never knew these actually existed. Interesting subject and well written. I would love to talk to someone like Vivian.
Date published: 2015-01-24
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Excellent book Couldn't put it down. Extremely interesting and even more so when you realize it is based on actual historical events.
Date published: 2015-01-17
Rated 4 out of 5 by from A Great Read Loved this story. I was an eye opener for me from an historical perspective. While I could appreciate the choice of language in some parts, given it fit with the setting, I would have appreciated it abit more if the f word wasn't used. So, it would have been a five star had the author chosen not to use different word. It was only a few times, thankfully. The main characters went through such hardship and such sadness. It is a story that had to be told! The character development was so well done and I wished for more chapters...always a good sign. You could feel the emotions so well of each character.
Date published: 2014-11-03
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Orphan Train This was the first book I've started reading in a long time that I couldn't put down. I read it in just over a day. There's something about a fictional story based on real events that I find intriguing.
Date published: 2014-10-29
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Loved it What an exceptional story. I love both Molly and Vivian. could barely put it down to sleep at night. Got so involved in the story line, the back and forth through time really kept me focused on what was happening. I have since become very interested in the train riders and have started reading articals on the early 1900s when all this was taking place. most interesting.
Date published: 2014-08-18
Rated 1 out of 5 by from totally predictable it's good book for 12 year olds.
Date published: 2014-07-02
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Orphan Train I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I love that it was based on a real event. Those poor orphans, what they went through , just hoping to find loving homes. I love the connection between the rebellious Molly and Vivian. Once again it shows that people are people and can create a bond ,no matter what their age or what their story is. We all have a story.I feel their bond and the plight of Niamh.
Date published: 2014-06-27
Rated 5 out of 5 by from beautiful and intriguing story I just can't put this book down when I'm reading it, I have to see what happens to Vivian next. I love this book.
Date published: 2014-06-23
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Awesome read! The novel Orphan Train was an excellent read. I loved that it was both historical and modern day. I was really sad when the story finished as it was such an excellent book. Really made you think about life as an abandoned kid both then and now.
Date published: 2014-06-16
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Great read, couldn't put it down. This was a great book. Gave me insight into a period of history I was not aware of. I cannot believe orphan children were put on trains in hope of finding a new home/family at each train station. Many of these young children were chosen for farm labour or to work around the house. Not wanted as a child to love, just cheap labour. So very sad. I am definitely recommending this book to friends.
Date published: 2014-05-26
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Compelling I really enjoyed this small treasure of a book. The story is told in two different eras, with more in common than the years would warrant. Molly is a foster child about to age out of the system in modern time. Vivian was an orphan on the train in the 1930s, with a remarkable spirit and will to survive. Their lives intersect in modern time when Vivian is in her 90s. Vivian's ability to relate to Molly and the marvel that is their shared circumstance was really compelling. This was a very sweet read that makes me want to give my grandma (also in her 90s) a big squeeze. Recommended.
Date published: 2014-02-05
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Fascinating and engrossing The Good Stuff Epic, its been a long time since I read a story like this. These used to be my favorite types of stories. Parallel stories told years apart, characters of different eras face the same prejudice and hardships - human nature never really seems to change. Interesting story based on a little known piece of history Was hooked in right away and didn't want to put it down Heartbreaking and horrific at times because even though this is a fictional story it is based on fact and what some of these children had to go through is truly brutal Loved the conversations between Molly and Vivian and would love to have more of the story Makes me want to research more into the "Orphan Trains" The Not So Good Stuff The storyline that focused on Vivian was far better developed than that of Molly which is a shame. I found the Molly bits to be a bit jumpy I wanted more - this was one of those stories that could have been much longer Favorite Quotes/Passages "Do you believe in fate?" I ask. 'What's that again?" "That everything is decided. You're just - you know - living it out." "God has it all planned in advance." I nod. "I dunno. I don't like the plan much so far." "Me either." "No time," Vivian calls over her shoulder. "I'm old , you know. Could drop dead any minute. We've got to get going." Who Should/Shouldn't Read Great book for a reading at the cottage, on the beach or just about anytime you want to lose yourself in a great story 4 Deweys I received this from William Morrow in exchange for an honest review
Date published: 2013-05-08
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Truly an Amazing Story!! Story Description: HarperCollins Publishers|March 25, 2013|Trade Paperback|ISBN: 978-0-06-195072-8 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 by 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. My Review: Seventeen-year-old Molly lives with her foster parents, Dina and Ralph in Spruce Harbor, Maine. Dina wasn’t all that excited about having Molly as a foster child as their last one tried to set the school on fire, but husband Ralph wanted her. Having been through the Big Brother’s program as a child himself, he felt he had something to offer Molly. But Molly isn’t surprised Dina didn’t want her because not much ever went right in her life. At school she was an outcast because she dresses goth, that is, until she meets Jack during a school work group. Jack liked her and thought she was “awesome” which made Molly smile. Jack’s mother works for an elderly woman, Vivian Daly who is ninety-one-years-old. She wants someone to help her clean out her attic and Jack’s mother doesn’t want to do it so she offers the opportunity to Molly after Jack convinces her that Molly is trustworthy. Molly takes on the chore as she can complete her fifty hours of community service instead of going to juvenile hall for stealing something and it gives her an excuse to stay with Dina and Ralph. Vivian Daly was only seven-years-old when she came to America from Ireland in 1929 with her family. However, she ended up in the care of the Children’s Aid Society just three years later after losing her family. Shortly after her arrival there, she found herself seated on a train called the “orphan train” which was bound for the countryside and out of the big city of New York. There were hundreds of children on the train with her, all bound for farmland and new families, that is, if any picked them out of the line-up. I felt so very sorry for Vivian when she was living in the Grote household. The deplorable conditions under which she was forced to live were heartbreaking. I cried when I read the passage about something horrible that happened to her in that house. I wanted so badly to reach into the pages of the story, put my arms around her, and rip her out of that situation. Then, being forced to walk so, so far in the dead of winter was totally unacceptable. What cruel and heartless people they were. As Molly and Vivian continue to clean the attic, each box opened brings back another memory and another amazing story from Vivian. It soon becomes apparent that Molly and Vivian’s lives didn’t differ that much from each other despite the seventy-four-year age difference between them. I think they found a kindred spirit in each other. Molly having been in and out of foster homes herself has now found a new friend in Vivian and one who understands what she has been through. The Orphan Train was a phenomenal story that affected me deeply. My heart went out to all the children on the orphan train. I will most definitely be recommending this wonderful masterpiece to all who’ll listen. Orphan Train gets a huge thumbs up from me! Thank you Ms. Kline for a most interesting and intriguing story.
Date published: 2013-04-23

Editorial Reviews

“One of the most intriguing, tender novels of 2013...This is a warm, satisfying, and inspirational story.”