Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline

Photo Credit: William Morrow Paperbacks

This book was sent to Traveling With T for review consideration.

Orphan Train


Vivian Daly- a 91 year old woman. Outlived every person in her life that has meant something to her (and outlived the people that did not mean anything to her, as well). Vivian, as you see her today, appears to have lived in the lap of luxury. A nice house, money, fine things filling the house. But looks can be deceiving.

Vivian, in her early years, was aboard a train called the Orphan Train. It was a way to help orphans find new homes instead of living at the orphanage till they were adults. Of course, the orphan train was a nice idea in theory only. People would come to where the train would stop to find kids to be part of the family, or farmhands, or girls to clean and sew. Some did have honorable intentions- but some did not.

When 91 year old Vivian meets Molly, a teenager who has been shuttled from house to house in an attempt to find a suitable foster home, Molly thinks that she and Vivian have nothing in common. As Molly helps clean Vivian’s attic, though, she is surprised to find that not only do they have things in common; but that Molly feels a connection with Vivian.

While Molly completes her community service hours helping Vivian, she begins to learn about Vivian’s past. The hard times, the good times, and how the orphan train played a part in shaping what Vivian’s life is today.

Orphan Train, told in alternating view-points, Depression-era Minnesota and current-day Maine- is a story that will make the reader laugh, cry, and feel deeply touched. It’s a story about humanity-at it’s best and it’s worst. It’s a story about how life takes twists and turns, takes people places they never dreamed could happen in their life. It’s a story that shows the readers you’re never too old to learn new things. It’s a story that shows readers that even if love has disappointed  in the past, it should always be welcomed into life.

Orphan Train– heartfelt, emotional, and worth a read. Share with friends. With loved ones. With book clubs. It’s a book that exposes the reader to history, to happiness and sadness, and to memorable characters.



15 thoughts on “Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline

  1. I’ve read a few good reviews and I’m really going to take everyone up on their recommendation – The Orphan Train sounds like a great book 🙂

    • Me too! I would have finished it Fri night- but I had to go to bed early b/c I had a big day planned with my brother. Sunday, tho, I sat down and read the last 100 pages in no time! Already beginning my notes for Twitter chat/discussion!

  2. Wasn’t it so good? I’ve already loaned it out to a friend and will definitely encourage more to read it. It’s a wonderful book club read. I enjoyed your review.

    • Thank you! And yes, it was so good! I absolutely loved it. Thought it was so great! Don’t forget about Twitter chat (I’ll announce on Twitter when I know the details) and the discussion at the end of each month on She Reads!

  3. Loved your review!!! I totally agree with what you’ve said. My heart bled for Vivian when she was forced to stay with the Grote family. I wanted to reach into the page of the book and pull her out of that situation altogether, give her a hug, and bring her home.

    Great review, thanks!


    • Aww thanks, Louise!

      My heart just hurt for Vivian- so much went wrong- and yet, she rose up above it all. She’s a great character!

      Those Grote people, though, grrr- I wanted someone to wise up to them. And fast.

    • Yay! I’ll see you in the discussion! It’ll start Monday (I have to update my countdown clock- I was looking at wrong date when I picked the date!) She Reads will take the month of June off (summer just beginning, vacations, etc) from the Book of the Month (although there will be selections and more being spotlighted all June!) We’ll be back in full force in July!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.