4. Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline
Orphan Train is the story of two women decades apart in age, but whose lives are very similar. Molly is a teenage girl about to age out of the foster care system and living with a couple who are the most recent in a long line of foster families that don’t want her. Caught stealing a book from the library lands Molly on probation with service hours. To fulfill her requirement she winds up helping 91 year old Vivian clean out her attic.
As Molly helps out Vivian she discovers Vivian’s past and realizes they have a lot in common. An Irish immigrant, Vivian loses her family in a fire and winds up an riding sent across the country on an orphan train to be adopted by families who essentially wanted to use her as slave labor. The two develop an unlikely friendship as Vivian’s story is fully revealed and Molly works to right her situation in the present.
I really liked this book a lot. I was not familiar with the concept of orphan trains at all before I read it, but it’s a fascinating topic about a period in our history I knew nothing about. I love the way the two stories twine together and parallel each other. I would highly recommend this book. I give it an 8 out of 10.