Orphan Train – by Christina Baker Kline – independent book review – Historical Fiction (U.S.)

Two teenage girls, with troubled histories in foster care, meet under ordinary circumstances, with amazing stories to tell. Awarded four stars on Goodreads.

Though they are more than 70 years apart in age, the friendship that develops between these two, as their stories emerge, is a beautiful thing to see, as each inadvertently brings meaning to the other’s life.

But an even more compelling part of the book for me was learning the history of the orphan trains, a welfare program that brought several hundred thousand orphaned and homeless children from Eastern cities to foster homes in the rural Midwest, between 1854 and 1929. This is a fascinating, dramatic, and embarrassing piece of American history I knew nothing about. And what this novel does so well is portray the randomness of the foster home experience, from a child’s point of view, and the impact that randomness has throughout that child’s entire life. It’s a very dramatic story.

Christina Baker Kline

More about the author, Christina Baker Kline.

You may be interested in my review of another novel by this author, A Piece of the World.