Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline

Orphan Train, Christina Baker Kline, Sheila DeChantal, Book JOurney

Molly Ayer knows the Foster Care System all too well.  She has been a part of it for most of her life bouncing from one home to another.  Now at seventeen years old she is required to do community service for a petty theft crime.  She is required to go through an elderly woman’s attic and clean up, toss out, and organize the cluttered dusty boxes.  An undertaking that on sight appears impossible, especially since the widowed old woman Vivian, does not seem to keen on parting with her things.

As Molly explores the attic and what is inside the boxes, she discovers that Vivian too was part of a much earlier foster system called the Orphan Train. The Train would take children from stop to stop where families could come to the train and choose children to go home with them… that system unfortunately, worked about as well as some of it does still today. As Molly and Vivian spend their days together in the attic they learn of each others experiences with the foster care system, some good..and some bad.  Some times it was your wits and your desire to survive that pulled you through.

Both women find out that they have a lot more in common than one would ever guess by looking at them.



Orphan Train was our book club selection for August.  We chose this book because we won the books for our group from Harper Collins – woo hoo!!!!!!!!  AND the author Christina Baker Kline will be speaking in our town on August 12th, as it happens, our regular Tuesday that we hold our book club on.

Orphan Train turned out to be a delight.  As I had loaned my copy of the book out to a friend, I did not have one in my possession so I decided to try it on audio.  I had heard it was an excellent listen and that turned out to be true.  Narrator Suzanne Toren was perfect for this book.

I went into this book with little knowledge of what it was about other than the Orphan Train (*spoiler alert… it’s the title! 😉  )  I had not read any reviews of the book so even the format of going from Molly’s story to Vivian’s was a surprise and a pleasant one at that.

I enjoyed the storyline and the knowledge I picked up along the way regarding the Orphan Train.  It is a subject I hope to learn more about and I am hopeful that next week Christina Baker Kline will talk more about her research.

Historical Fiction fans will enjoy this read.

I will talk more about the Bookies Book Club thoughts on the book as well as the Author Event next week.




  • Audible Audio Edition
  • Listening Length: 8 hours and 21 minutes
  • Program Type: Audiobook
  • Version: Unabridged
  • Publisher: Audible Studios
  • Audible.com Release Date: April 2, 2013






25 thoughts on “Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline

  1. I actually have this title hidden away on my kindle with other wonderful books I haven’t gotten to. I need to remember to read it–it garnered such good buzz and I have another older book by this author on my kindle also to read.
    Enjoy your new “job description”, though you are still as busy as ever!

      1. Received Orphan Train today from my library. The library has a lot of new ebooks a d I place on hold 4 books. Have read any of Victoria Thompson’s Gaslight books? They will give you an idea of why the OT.

          1. Gaslight book take place in New York city in the 1900s. The main characters are a midwife and an Irish detective. All parts of society will cover. The life of tenements portray. From the deathly TO new arrive immigrated. My library now has them in ebooks.

          2. Author is Victoria Thompson and I am not sure the first one. Mostly can be read as stand alone. Mysteries but no sex and violence is off stage.MURDER IN BANK STREET is one.

  2. Until only about two months ago (?) I’d never heard of the orphan trains. I was shocked! There is also a novel for kids written on the subject. So glad you enjoyed this 🙂

  3. I can’t wait to read this book! I work in a bookstore and a woman came in so excited about it because her grandfather had been on one. This looks really good!

  4. ORPHAN TRAIN: I’ve read novels about the orphan trains. I find the stories sad at times. I’ve also seen a TV show about the real orphan trains. I’d love to read this book.

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