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Orphan Train
Cover of Orphan Train
Orphan Train
A Novel
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The #1 New York Times BestsellerNow featuring a sneak peek at Christina's forthcoming novel A Piece of the World, coming February 2017.Christina Baker Kline's #1 New York Times bestselling...
The #1 New York Times BestsellerNow featuring a sneak peek at Christina's forthcoming novel A Piece of the World, coming February 2017.Christina Baker Kline's #1 New York Times bestselling...
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  • The #1 New York Times Bestseller

    Now featuring a sneak peek at Christina's forthcoming novel A Piece of the World, coming February 2017.

    Christina Baker Kline's #1 New York Times bestselling novel—the captivating story of a 91-year-old woman with a hidden past as an orphan-train rider and the teenage girl whose own troubled adolescence leads her to seek answers to long-buried questions...now with an extended scene that addresses the number one question readers ask, and an excerpt from Kline's upcoming novel A Piece of the World.

    "A lovely novel about the search for family that also happens to illuminate a fascinating and forgotten chapter of America's history. Beautiful."—Ann Packer

    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 woman clean out her home 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 novel of upheaval and resilience, of second chances, and unexpected friendship.

About the Author-

  • Christina Baker Kline is the author of six novels, including the #1 New York Times bestseller Orphan Train as well as A Piece of the World. She lives outside New York City and spends as much time as possible on the coast of Maine. Learn more about Christina at www.christinabakerkline.com.

Reviews-

  • Publisher's Weekly

    February 11, 2013
    Kline’s absorbing new novel (after Bird in the Hand) is a heartfelt page-turner about two women finding a sense of home. Seventeen-year-old Penobscot Indian Molly Ayer has spent most of her life in foster care. When she’s caught stealing a copy of Jane Eyre from the library, in an effort to keep the peace with her stressed foster parents, she ends up cleaning out elderly Vivian Daly’s attic. Molly learns that Vivian was herself an orphan, an Irish immigrant in New York who was put on the Orphan Train in the late 1920s and tossed from home to home in Minnesota. The growing connection leads Molly to dig deeper into Vivian’s life, which allows Molly to discover her own potential and helps Vivian rediscover someone she believed had been lost to her forever. Chapters alternate between Vivian’s struggle to find a safe home, both physically and emotionally, in early 20th-century Minnesota, and Molly’s similar struggle in modern-day Maine. Kline lets us live the characters’ experiences vividly through their skin, and even the use of present tense, which could distract, feels suited to this tale. The growth from instinct to conscious understanding to partnership between the two is the foundation for a moving tale. Agent: Beth Vesel, the Beth Vesel Literary Agency.

  • Kirkus

    February 1, 2013
    Kline (Bird in Hand, 2009, etc.) draws a dramatic, emotional story from a neglected corner of American history. Molly is a troubled teen, a foster child bounced from one unsuitable home to another. Vivian is a wealthy 91-year-old widow, settled in a Victorian mansion on the Maine seashore. But Vivian's story has much in common with Molly's. Vivian Daly, born Niamh Power, has gone "from cobblestoned village on the coast of Ireland to a tenement in New York to a train filled with children, steaming westward through farmland, to a lifetime in Minnesota." Vivian's journey west was aboard an "Orphan Train," a bit of misguided 1900s-era social engineering moving homeless, destitute city children, mostly immigrants, into Midwest families. Vivian's journey wasn't entirely happy. She was deposited with the Byrnes, who wanted only child labor in a dressmaking enterprise. Then, as the Great Depression began, Vivian was dumped into the Grote household, where she suffered neglect and abuse. Only after the intervention of a kind teacher did Vivian find a home with a decent, loving family. The story unfolds through chapters set in the present day, with Molly, caught in a minor theft, forced into community service work and agreeing to help Vivian clean an attic. Other chapters flash back to the period from 1929 through World War II. In those decades, Vivian travels West, endures the Byrnes and Grotes, finds a loving home with the Nielsens, reconnects with Dutchy, another orphan-train refugee, marries and is widowed when Dutchy dies in the war. Molly's life story unfolds in parallel--a neglected half-Native American child, whose father was an accident victim and whose mother drowned in drugs and crime--and Molly slowly opens up to Vivian. Kline does a superb job in connecting goth-girl Molly, emotionally damaged by the "toll [of] years of judgment and criticism," to Vivian, who sees her troubled childhood reflected in angry Molly. The realistic narrative follows characters as they change and grow, making a poignant revelation from Vivian entirely believable, as is Molly's response to Vivian's dark secret. A deeply emotional story drawn from the shadows.

    COPYRIGHT(2013) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • Library Journal

    November 15, 2012

    Between 1854 and 1929, orphaned or abandoned children from the East Coast were often placed on so-called orphan trains and sent west, possibly for adoption and possibly for a hellish life of virtual servitude. Irish immigrant Vivian Daly was one such child. Now 91, she bonds with welfare teen Molly, who's helping clean out her house. With a 75,000-copy first printing.

    Copyright 2012 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • Naples Daily News (FL) "One of the most powerful novels I've ever read...I am compelling all of you, even begging you, to make this novel your next read. You'll be talking about it for years to come!"
  • Publishers Weekly "Absorbing...a heartfelt page-turner about two women finding a sense of home...Kline lets us live the characters' experiences vividly through their skin...The growth from instinct to conscious understanding to partnership between the two is the foundation for a moving tale."
  • Kirkus Reviews "Kline draws a dramatic, emotional story from a neglected corner of American history."
  • Library Journal "A compelling story about loss, adaptability, and courage . . . With compassion and delicacy Kline presents a little-known chapter of American history and draws comparisons with the modern-day foster care system."
  • Marisa de los Santos, New York Times-bestselling author of Belong to Me and Falling Together "I was so moved by this book. I loved Molly and Vivian, two brave, difficult, true-hearted women who disrupt one another's lives in beautiful ways, and loved journeying with them, through heartbreak and stretches of history I'd never known existed, out of loneliness toward family and home."
  • Ann Packer, New York Times-bestselling author of The Dive from Clausen's Pier and Swim Back to Me "A lovely novel about the search for family that also happens to illuminate a fascinating and forgotten chapter of American history. Beautiful."
  • Ann Hood, author of The Knitting Circle "In ORPHAN TRAIN, Christina Baker Kline seamlessly knits together the past and present of two women, one young and one old. Kline reminds us that we never really lose anyone or anything or--perhaps most importantly--ourselves."
  • Monica Wood, author of When We Were the Kennedys "I loved this book: its absorbing back-and-forth story, its vivid history, its eminently loveable characters. ORPHAN TRAIN wrecked my heart and made me glad to be literate."
  • Cathy Marie Buchanan, New York Times-bestselling author of The Painted Girls "Christina Baker Kline writes exquisitely about two unlikely friends . . . each struggling to transcend a past of isolation and hardship. ORPHAN TRAIN will hold you in its grip as their fascinating tales unfold."
  • Helen Schulman, New York Times-bestselling author of This Beautiful Life "Christina Baker Kline's latest wonder, ORPHAN TRAIN, makes for compulsive reading...Meticulously researched and yet full of the breath of life, Kline's novel takes us on an historical journey where survival depends upon one's own steely backbone, and the miracle of a large and generous heart."
  • Kathleen Kent, New York Times-bestselling author of The Heretic's Daughter and The Traitor's Wife "A poignant and memorable story of two steadfast, courageous women...A revelation of the universal yearing for belonging, for family, for acceptance and, ultimately, the journeys we must all make to find them."
  • Mary Morris, author of, most recently, Revenge "Reminiscent of Elizabeth Strout's Amy and Isabel, this Orphan Train carries us along until the stories of these two women become one."
  • Romantic Times, Top Pick "This superbly composed novel tells two parallel stories of suffering and perseverance, capturing the heart and mind equally and remaining mesmerizing through the intensely heart-wrenching conclusion."
  • Cleveland Plain Dealer "The intertwined stories in this novel will surely please those looking for a compelling new read."
  • The New Maine Times Book Review "One of the most intriguing, tender novels of 2013...This is a warm, satisfying, and inspirational story."

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