Book Review: Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline

Title:  Orphan Train
Author: Christina Baker Kline
Publisher: William Morrow, Imprint of HarperCollinsPublisher
Release Date:  November 29, 2016 (Paperback Edition)
Genre: Contemporary Fiction

Christina Baker Kline’s #1 New York Times bestselling novel—the captivating story of a 91-year-old woman with a hidden past as an orphan-train rider and the teenage girl whose own troubled adolescence leads her to seek answers to long-buried questions…now with an extended scene that addresses the number one question readers ask, and an excerpt from Kline’s upcoming novel A Piece of the World

“A lovely novel about the search for family that also happens to illuminate a fascinating and forgotten chapter of America’s history. Beautiful.”—Ann Packer

Between 1854 and 1929, so-called orphan trains ran regularly from the cities of the East Coast to the farmlands of the Midwest, carrying thousands of abandoned children whose fates would be determined by pure luck. Would they be adopted by a kind and loving family, or would they face a childhood and adolescence of hard labor and servitude?

As a young Irish immigrant, Vivian Daly was one such child, sent by rail from New York City to an uncertain future a world away. Returning east later in life, Vivian leads a quiet, peaceful existence on the coast of Maine, the memories of her upbringing rendered a hazy blur. But in her attic, hidden in trunks, are vestiges of a turbulent past.

Seventeen-year-old Molly Ayer knows that a community service position helping an elderly woman clean out her home is the only thing keeping her out of juvenile hall. But as Molly helps Vivian sort through her keepsakes and possessions, she discovers that she and Vivian aren't as different as they appear. A Penobscot Indian who has spent her youth in and out of foster homes, Molly is also an outsider being raised by strangers, and she, too, has unanswered questions about the past.

Moving between contemporary Maine and Depression-era Minnesota, Orphan Train is a powerful novel of upheaval and resilience, of second chances, and unexpected friendship.

The Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline is one of those books that have been on my to-be-read list for some time, but just didn't get to it. With the release of this new extended edition, I'm quite thrilled to have the opportunity to read and review it. (Thank you, TLC Book Tours!) And did you notice I said extended edition? Yep, this is the new re-release with an extended scene for fans that felt the original scene lacked some explanation. So the author and publisher have decided to re-release this beloved story. I just loved that, so had to share.

Back to the Orphan Train. If you're a history fan, you'll take pleasure in the rich historical moments throughout, from the lives of the Irish immigrants of the 1920s to the orphan train focus, the stock market crash and to modern day social dilemmas.  The dual timeline story telling, when done right is mesmerizing, and this was done right. You'll understand Molly's emotional struggle of her identity parallels to Vivian's story in finding a stronghold, and I guess that's what it is. It's about finding a home for both. Finding what home is, not only where. An unlikely friendship that sparked the comfort and search for answers. A story that's profound and poignant, yet beautiful. And I love that ending. Sweet and worthy of joyful tears.

For my clean readers, this story has minor profanity (a word here or there), but understandable for the character. I don't think it deters from the story.

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the author/publisher. I was not required to write a positive review, and have not been compensated for this. This is my honest opinion.

For my review policy, please see my Disclosure page.




Christina Baker Kline is the author of five novels. She lives out-side of New York City and on the coast of Maine.

Find out more about Kline at her website, connect with her on Facebook, and follow her on Twitter.

TO CONNECT WITH THE AUTHOR:  Website | Facebook Twitter

Check out the full tour schedule for more information! Click on the image below to take you there.



  1. I am a HUGE history fan, and I love learning new things from novels. I'm looking forward to reading this one!

    Thanks for being a part of the tour.


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