Friday, August 15, 2014

Orphan Train

Vivian Daly is a ninety-one year old woman living a quiet life in Maine. She agrees to let seventeen year old Molly Ayer do her community service hours cleaning out her attic. Molly is not thrilled about this assignment, but it keeps her out of juvenile detention. It also convinces her foster parents to let her stay with them, for now. While going through the many trunks and boxes in the attic, Vivian tells Molly about her past as a young Irish immigrant and being orphaned in New York City. She also talks about her experiences being part of one of the orphan trains out west. Molly is shocked to learn that Vivian has not had an easy life, and starts to discover parallels to her own life. Sharing their stories might help them both discover what they are looking for.

At first I was concerned with the character perspectives being so different, and from different time periods. I usually do not care for this, because I find it pulls me from the story. I was pleasantly surprised to discover that the two view points worked really well together. I did find myself preferring Vivian's story about her past, but I did find both characters stories to be engaging.

I was pleased that this book got a lot of attention because it portrays an interesting part of American history. I was surprised to learn how many people had not heard of the orphan trains before. I like it when a book brings new attention to an historical event. It is a quick read, but is a gripping story that lets you feel the emotions of the story rather than telling you what to think and feel.

If you are a fan of historical fiction, I recommend this book.

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