I received Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline as a Christmas gift back in 2016 from my brother and his wife. They had noticed I had pinned it on my to-read board on Pinterest (or maybe a Christmas list… I have a lot of Pinterest boards). This was one of those “always in the back of my mind to read” books. Honestly, I can’t believe I haven’t read it sooner. Orphan Train was a beautiful story of second chances and overcoming adverse circumstances.
Molly Ayer has been in the foster care system since she was around seven years old. She is about to turn eighteen, about to be free from the state system, on her own. But she’s in trouble: her current foster mom hates her and she’s one wrong turn away from juvie. So when her boyfriend suggests Molly serve her community service time helping his mom with the elderly lady she works for, Molly reluctantly agrees to the position.
Vivian Daly is a quiet, rich, elderly widow living on the coast of Maine. On the outside, she appears to have had a simple life: she inherited a fortune from her parents, and although her husband has now passed, they lived a long, full life together. But there is more to Vivian Daly than meets the eye, as Molly discovers as they take on the task of sorting through Vivian’s attic together.
Through this intriguing, touching, and beautiful story of second chances, both Molly and Vivian learn that people are not always as they seem, and they may be more like you than you think. Orphan Train alters between 1929 (and the following years) and 2011, paralleling Vivian’s and Molly’s lives as abandoned children with nowhere to go. Through these shared experiences, both Molly and Vivian learn to open up, find new purpose, and hope. This book grips your heart, teaches you a piece of little-known history, and will probably make you tear up by the end.
Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline gets 5/5 stars.