Book Review: Orphan Train

I recently finished Orphan Train and immediately wanted to share with you all about it. It's such a fantastic story! I don't think there are any spoilers, but if there are then I apologize in advance :)

Synopsis from Goodreads
Nearly eighteen, Molly Ayer knows she has one last chance. Just months from "aging out" of the child welfare system, and close to being kicked out of her foster home, a community service position helping an elderly woman clean out her home is the only think keeping her out of juvie and worse.

Vivian Daly has lived a quiet life on the coast of Main. But in her attic, hidden in trunks, are vestiges of a turbulent past. As she helps Vivian sort through her possessions and memories, Molly discovers that she and Vivian aren't as different as they seem to be. A young Irish immigrant orphaned in New York City, Vivian was put on a train to the Midwest with hundreds of other children whose destinies would be determined by luck and chance.

The closer Molly grows to Vivian, the more she discovers parallels to her own life. A Penobscot Indian, she, too, is an outsider being raised by strangers, and she, too, has unanswered questions about the past.  As her emotional barriers begin to crumble, Molly discovers that she has the power to help Vivian find answers to mysteries that have haunted her for her entire life - answers that will ultimately free them both.
goodreads page for Orphan Train

What I Thought About the Book
I was hooked on Orphan Train from the very beginning.  I love historical fiction of any kind, set in any era. I love learning more about the times I was not around for. When there are children involved I definitely want to find out what's going to happen to them. I'm a sucker for books like this.

The biggest draw for me, however, was that it was about immigrants from the 1920's.  My family came to America from Italy around that time. I was on a youth group trip in 2000 and we went to Ellis Island where my brother found our surname on the wall. Reading this book made me want to research my family history. Lucky for me I have an aunt that is crazy about all of the ancestry stuff!

The Cover
The little girl on the cover seems so sad. I was immediately drawn to this book just based on the cover art. Clearly she's an orphan. I get that from the title, but what is this business about a train? How could you not pick this up to find out more?

The Characters
There are two main characters in the book - Molly and Vivian.  Molly is 17 years old and in the foster system about ready to get kicked out of her current foster home. Vivian is a 91 year old window who lives alone in a great big mansion. These two woman are not as different as you might think.

The World
I find it so interesting to read about how other people grew up. This poor little girl that's been pulled from her world and forced to live in another. The Midwest in the 1920s/1930s was a hard life if you weren't affluent. Reading how this little orphan girl grew up was, at times, heart breaking. When we learn about Molly's life in the foster system and her birth parents, it's not much better. Molly's had it rough too.

I have one book read for the year and the letter 'O' marked off of my alphabet list.

What have you read so far this year?

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