The Orphan Train by Cristina Baker Kline, speaks to a program led by various Christian church groups at the turn of the twentieth century to place orphaned immigrants in homes as domestic and farm workers. Most of the orphaned children land in New York and are put on trains to the Mid West. The book describes situations which were harsh and exploitative, but focuses in a positive way on two main female characters who are parallels of one another. The lives of 91-year-old Vivian Daly, who was part of the Orphan Train, and 17-year-old Molly Ayer who is a modern kind of orphan, become intertwined and the two women find they have a lot in common. While this is a fictionalized version of what happened in American history, it informs us of a part of our history that is not found in your average American history book. It is well written and the characters are well developed. This book was read and enjoyed by the Lev Eisha Book Club.
Submitted by Lillian Laskin