NEW this month…
Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline
3 of 5 stars
A troubled foster child connects with an elderly woman who — as a child — was sent to the Midwest for adoption on an “orphan train.”
In my nightmares, I am alone on a train, heading into the wilderness. Or in a maze of hay bales. Or walking the streets of a big city, gazing at lights in every window, seeing families inside, none of them mine.
I love learning about new things in books, which is why historical fiction is one of my favorite genres. This book tells the story of one girl on the “orphan train” — one of two hundred thousand children sent from the East Coast to the Midwest between 1854 and 1929. I enjoyed Niamh’s story, felt with her each emotional letdown and heartache.
However, I could have done without Molly’s story. The contemporary tie-in with a historical novel can be done well (I love how Kate Morton weaves her stories together), but in cases like this, the modern-day story seemed only to detract from the ‘real’ story, providing surface parallels and making the Molly’s issues seem trite in comparison — the same problem I had recently with a similar structure in Sarah’s Key by Tatiana de Rosnay.
Also, for some reason, the narrative voice did not work for me here. The historical story was told in first person present tense; the modern-day in third person present tense, and in both narratives sounded awkward. I generally don’t mind present-tense novels, but it simply did not seem to fit here, particularly since Niamh’s story was one of recollection and retrospection; it seemed like it should have been in past tense.
Heads up: This book does contain sexual content, including attempted assault.
Overall: Fascinating historical content and definitely worth a read, though perhaps not a re-read.
Check out what other bloggers on the tour thought of ORPHAN TRAIN:
Tuesday, April 2nd: Broken Teepee
Wednesday, April 3rd: A Bookish Affair
Thursday, April 4th: Bloggin’ ‘Bout Books
Monday, April 8th: Cerebral Girl in a Redneck World
Wednesday, April 10th: Peppermint PhD
Thursday, April 11th: Melody & Words
Tuesday, April 16th: The House of the Seven Tails
Wednesday, April 17th: missris
Thursday, April 18th: Kritters Ramblings
Monday, April 22nd: Tiffany’s Bookshelf
Tuesday, April 23rd: Book Chatter