Orphan Train

Orphan Train

Large Print - 2013
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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 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.

Publisher: Detroit : Kennebec Large Print, a part of Gale, Cengage Learning, 2013.
Edition: Large print edition.
ISBN: 9781410460523
Branch Call Number: LARGE PRINT KLINE C
Characteristics: 459 pages (large print) : illustrations ; 22 cm
large print


From Library Staff

"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 juvi... Read More »

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May 16, 2020

Excellent quick read! Captivating too

Mar 20, 2020

At first I did not like the jumping back and forth from the past to the present. However, the author did an excellent job of blending the stories together. Life as an orphan from Ireland and yet as a nine year old child is heart wrenching. Thought of as a street urchin, thief, dirty and worthless is heart breaking. Like any child who wants love and approval from family she was welling to become a slave to those who never returned that love. So many questions to be answered and thankfully the author answers many of them as the story progresses.

Mar 19, 2020

This book was the topic of a lot of book clubs and I picked it up to see what all the talk was about. I was not disappointed. I knew nothing about the history of the "orphan trains" in the United States. The story flows simultaneously with Molly, a 17 year old modern day orphan in the system and 91 year old Vivian, an elderly widow with a story of her own. The reader follows their stories and the more you find out about the past, the more you love them both. If you love historical fiction and a book that makes you want to learn more, then this book is for you. I loved it and spent time afterwards researching the orphan train history.

Jan 27, 2020

I'm glad that what happened to orphans during this period gains increasing attention and remembrance through historical novels. I enjoyed this one, and how it wove the parallel stories together.

Dec 05, 2019

I really liked the one story line, but the other (modern) one felt trite. I wanted to skip the chapters about Molly and go straight to the Vivian goodness. I'm sure their stories eventually overlap and intertwine better (I imagine through them getting to know each other and telling their stories) but I got bored of/annoyed with the flat Molly story too quickly to get to that point. Wish I could just skip over her chapters and still read a complete book! Ultimately didn't finish it because the book was due to be returned and it didn't grab me, but if you put it in front of me with no time limit I would probably keep going.

Nov 01, 2019

Good for CASA volunteers

Sep 20, 2019

Returning for long wait list - will try later.

Aug 06, 2019

I knew very little about these orphan trains which brought thousands of children from New York to the American mid-west in the late 1920s. The author’s research on the topic was excellent and the way she brought together a 91 year-old train rider (Vivian) and a 17 year-old « rebel ». (Molly) who is a ward of the children’s aid society of Maine. As Molly helps Vivian sort through decades of boxes in her attic, she discovers how love, resilience, heartbreak and rejection do not necessarily equal a bad life. The reader becomes very attached to these two characters. There is an interesting twist near the end of the novel. Well worth reading.

Aug 05, 2019

Historical fiction is my favourite genre and this one does not disappoint. Throughout the book we get to know a little girl from 1929 as well as another girl from 2011. Their stories collide in the modern 2011 era. Reading about the lives the poor "orphan train" children had is very sad and very informative and very worth reading.

Aug 02, 2019

I TOTALLY agree with Dream24! The book is amazing. But is also VERY accurate in the mishaps that happen to Vivian. There is some sexual content such as in child abuse through it, but, as a thirteen year old I was not bothered by it.
It's nice to read a book that acknowledges the things that happened to kids back then, beacause the Feminist in me is bothered when people try to cover up truths. All together I totally recommend it.❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️

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Add Age Suitability
Jul 24, 2015

Magicworld thinks this title is suitable for 14 years and over

May 12, 2015

spolleys thinks this title is suitable for 16 years and over

Jun 11, 2014

maroon_moose_31 thinks this title is suitable for 13 years and over

Jun 22, 2013

suzee5454 thinks this title is suitable for 13 years and over


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Feb 02, 2019

Favorite quotes from the book:
“I've come to think that's what heaven is- a place in the memory of others where our best selves live on.”
“You got to learn to take what people are willing to give.”

Jul 24, 2015

“I feel a joy so strong it’s almost painful—a knife’s edge of joy.”


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