My Review of Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline

orphantrainThe story begins in current time with Molly Ayer, an orphan due to sad circumstances, living a shaky existence in Spruce Harbor, Maine, with a foster mother, Dina, who seems to find fault with everything she says or does and a father, Ralph, who doesn’t know how to react to his wife’s accusations or referee arguments between Dina and Molly. During this tenuous time, Molly commits a misdemeanor crime and agrees to community work rather than spending time in a juvenile center. The work she embarks on is to organize and inventory the attic of a ninety-one year old widow, Vivian Daly.

Christina Baker Kline uses chapters to advance the story starting with 2011 and then going back to 1929 when Vivian, known as Niamh Power, begins life in America. A family tragedy puts her on the orphan train from New York to Minnesota, and on the road to her life in and out of foster homes until she ends up in Spruce Harbor, Maine.

The author keeps the story going at a fast pace as both girls find their way around the uncertain path they are given. It is interesting to see the similarities between the two stories, the one featuring Molly in 2011 and the other featuring Vivian spanning 1929 to 2011. As the story unfolds, Molly and Vivian grow closer to one another and the community work turns into afternoon musings with a friend. What follows is the unlocking of Vivian’s biggest secret and an upsetting event in Molly’s life that has her seeking out her friend, Vivian.

I enjoyed Orphan Train and would read more by Christina Baker Kline.

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