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Roseanna M. White
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Orphan Train: A Novel

Orphan Train - Christina Baker Kline What a journey!!

Having an Orphan Train Museum in my hometown of Opelousas, Louisiana, I have long known about the Orphan Train and the child riders from the New York Founding Hospital. Opelousas was one of the many destinations for the young orphans or abandoned, homeless children that sought rural homes across the U.S. from 1854 to 1929. I did lack a general understanding of what the children must have sensed and felt during their travels. Although fictional, Kline's story can't be far from truth. I imagined the fear of the unknown each child must've felt. What about those children that were not selected by families right away? How could a child not feel the pain of abandonment?! Would a family finally select a neglected, overlooked orphan? Perhaps at the next train depot there would be a mother and father to love and call one's own. Perhaps not.

Orphan Train is the beautifully written tale of two women, ages apart, who form an unlikely bond and find that they have more in common than what appears outwardly. Vivian, 91, is an Orphan Train rider. Molly, 17, is a ward of the state and doing community service. Vivian agrees to have Molly fill these punishable hours by cleaning out Vivian's Maine mansion attic, where each box sorted through has a memorable past of it's own. As the two become closer, each discovers something familiar in the other and a loving friendship is formed. It is a time for hopeful second chances.

I was mesmerized by this beautiful story, a story that left me filled with every emotion imaginable. So descriptive and well written. It was easy to envision the drama as it unfolds. I really loved this book! I think it is time for a visit to the Louisiana Orphan Train Museum.