27 Dec 2016



AMAZON.CO.UK BLURB: Rich in detail and epic in scope, Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline is a 
powerful novel of upheaval and resilience, of unexpected friendship, and of the secrets we carry that keep us from finding out who we are. 

Penobscot Indian Molly Ayer is close to "aging out" out of the foster care system. A community service position helping an elderly woman clean out her 

home is the only thing keeping Molly out of juvie and worse...

As she helps Vivian sort through her possessions and memories, Molly learns 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.

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.

FIRST SENTENCE {PROLOGUE}: I believe in ghosts.

MEMORABLE MOMENT {PAGE 64}: "The child you select is yours for free," he adds, "on a ninety day trial. At which point, if you so choose, you may send him back."

SOURCE: A Reader's Group read.

MY THOUGHTS: Though there were some gritty elements to Orphan Train, on the whole I found the writing to be more in tune with a book written for the Young Adult market. Not that I'm adverse to reading books aimed at this market, I was just expecting a more gritty, a more 'adult' read.

Verging at times on the overly sentimental (dare I say a bit cheesy?), largely predictable, the ending rushed. 

Two orphans, two time lines. 

I much preferred one aspect of the story to that of the other. Though tempted as I was to skip through Molly's story, I'm glad I didn't as hers and Niamh's story did eventually merge. That said I can't help but think the book might have benefited from either the author omitting Molly's story altogether, expanding on Niamh's/Vivian's OR, maintaining both stories, lengthen the book from its rather meagre 273 or so pages.

Despite these misgivings, essentially a good read. I'm just not sure the finer details (to say nothing of the characters) will stay with me for very long which is a shame given the theme of the book.



Gina R said...

Ah shucks. Surprised actually since I've heard great things about this one, but that's the beauty of reading.... no two ever have quite the same experience. Thanks for the share!

Kelly said...

The Amazon blurb really captured me, but after reading your thoughts I can't help but wonder if it couldn't have been much better. I think I would pick it up if seen on a bargain rack at a bookstore, but don't think I'll seek out. I always appreciate your honesty in that we often share the same reasons for disliking a book.

Sherry Ellis said...

Too bad it was predictable. I liked the first sentence. Good hook.

Literary Feline said...

I really enjoyed this one, but agree Vivian's story was stronger than Molly's.

Shooting Stars Mag said...

Sorry it didn't really feel like an adult read! Thanks for sharing though, and I'm glad you liked it overall. :)

Brian Joseph said...

As per your description the ending sounds like it might mar the book a bit too much.

On the other hand, this is at the very least an important subject, it is good that fiction writers are exploring it.

Mary (Bookfan) said...

I've read other reviews that mentioned it read like YA. Not a bad thing but if the reader isn't expecting that it could cause one to pause. Not sure I'll read it but I've enjoyed other books by the author that were more women's contemporary fiction.