Molly needs one last chance. When she steals something, her foster parents are about to kick her out. She reluctantly agrees to do community service hours for an elderly lady. Vivian's attic is a disaster and she needs someone who can help her sort through a lifetime of memories. As the two spend time together, Molly finds that they have a lot in common. Vivian was an orphan too, and she traveled across the country on a train with other children hoping to find a new home.
It's clear that Christina Baker Kline has done a lot of research to write this book. She vividly portrays the uncertainty of a family traveling across the ocean, the squalor of a tenement building in New York City, and day-to-day life in a small Midwestern town. It's easy to feel outrage when Vivian is placed with a couple that uses her for free labor, and Molly's foster mother ignores her beliefs and preferences.
However, the story itself was very predictable. It was easy to tell from early on what had happened to Vivian in the past and what would happen between Vivian and Molly in the present. Most of the characters seemed a little flat and defined by only one or two traits.
Orphan Train is a quick read and it gives readers insight into the things that orphans endured a hundred years ago on orphan trains and experience today in our modern foster care system. It's a sweet story about finding home and family in the most unexpected of places.
By Christina Baker Kline
William Morris Paperbacks
Received for review from TLC Book Tours and the publisher
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