Orphan Train - Christina Baker Kline

4 Stars!

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.

Christina Baker Kline was born in Cambridge, England, and raised there as well as in the American South and Maine. She is the author of five novels: Orphan Train, Bird in Hand, The Way Life Should Be, Desire Lines, and Sweet Water. She is co-editor, with Anne Burt, of About Face: Women Write about What They See When They Look in the Mirror and co-author, with Christina L. Baker, of The Conversation Begins: Mothers and Daughters Talk about Living Feminism. She has edited three other anthologies: Child of Mine, Room to Grow, and Always Too Soon. Writer-in-Residence at Fordham University from 2007 to 2011, Kline has also taught literature and creative writing at Yale, NYU, UVA, and Drew University. A graduate of Yale, Cambridge University, and the University of Virginia, where she was a Hoyns Fellow in Fiction Writing, Kline is a recipient of a Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation Fellowship and several research fellowships, and has been a Writer-in-Residence at the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts. Kline lives with husband and three sons in Montclair, New Jersey. She is at work on another novel and an anthology.

My feelings for this is kind of split. This book is really two stories. One that takes place today with a troubled teen who is an orphan herself. And the story of the elderly woman she works for, who was on the Orphan train. I have always been very interested in the Orphan trains and love to read books about that time period. That is the part of the story that I loved!

I thought the author did an excellent job with the historical aspects of the story and I loved reading about Vivian's plight on the Orphan train and what happened to her and those she knew. It was the other part of the story I did not really care as much for. I didn't like Molly's character at all. She was mouthy and rude. I know she was suppose to be that way but I just never did connect to her.

The other thing was that I felt that the ending with Vivian was very rushed and I didn't really care for that ending. On the other hand - the ending with Molly I thought was very good! I kind of did a flip flop there!
If I could have picked apart the book - taken out the present day time and took off the ending (or changed it) I would have given it 5 stars!
But, even with all of that it was still a very good book! It had lots of details about the Orphan trains. So if you like reading about that like I do, or if you just like American history - this would be a good book for you too read.

I ordered this book from the public library!


  1. Good morning, I too read library books when there is one I am wanting to read and don't have, have seen this one and thought I would read sometime. thanks for your comments I am probably one too that would like the historical part best but I enjoy many type books so will give this one a try. always good to see your comments.

    Paula O

  2. Great review! I've had my eye on this one, and finally picked it up as an ebook on sale a few weeks ago. I'm looking forward to reading it - I like stories that go back and forth between a historical story and a present-day story (like Sarah's Key by Tatiana de Rosnay).

  3. Orphan Train was beautifully written and skillfully wove two lives together seamlessly. The historical aspects of the novel were amazing and the human interest aspects were also woven well emotionally. It was so good, that I decided to read it again right away, and I've never done that before!


Post a Comment

Popular Posts