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2015 One Book One Community Selection:
Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline
Between 1854 and 1929, so-called orphan trains ran regularly from the cities of the East Coast to the farmlands of the Midwest, carrying thousands of abandoned children whose fates would be determined by pure luck. Would they be adopted by a kind and loving family, or would they face a childhood and adolescence of hard labor and servitude?
As a young Irish immigrant, Vivian Daly was one such child, sent by rail from New York City to an uncertain future a world away. Returning east later in life, Vivian leads a quiet, peaceful existence on the coast of Maine, the memories of her upbringing rendered a hazy blur. But in her attic, hidden in trunks, are vestiges of a turbulent past.
Seventeen year old Molly Ayers knows that a community service position helping an elderly widow clean out her attic is the only thing keeping her out of juvenile hall. But as Molly helps Vivian sort through her keepsakes and possessions, she discovers that she and Vivian aren’t as different as they appear. A Penobscot Indian who has spent her youth in and out of foster homes, Molly is also an outsider being raised by strangers, and she, too, has unanswered questions about the past.
Moving between contemporary Maine and Depression era Minnesota, Orphan Train is a powerful tale of upheaval and resilience, second chances, and unexpected friendship.
Born in Cambridge, England, Christina Baker Kline was raised in Cambridge, Maine and the American South. She received a Bachelor of Art in English from Yale University, a Master of Arts from Cambridge University, and a Master of Fine Arts from the University of Virginia, where she was also a Henry Hoynes Fellow in Fiction Writing. A writer-in-residence at Fordham University from 2007 to 2011, Kline has also received Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation Fellowships, a Writer-in-Residence Fellowship from the Virginia Center for Creative Arts and a Fordham (University) Faculty Research Grant. She has taught courses in fiction and non-fiction writing, poetry, English literature, literary theory and women’s studies at Fordham University, University of Virginia, New York University and Drew University.
A novelist, non-fiction writer and editor, Kline’s works have been widely published in San Francisco Chronicle, Coastal Living, More, Psychology Today and many other publications. She is a New York Times best selling author of five novels and four non-fiction books. She also volunteers her editing skills for several organizations including Volunteer Lawyers for Justice. Kline has worked as a caterer, cook and personal chef in Maine, Martha’s Vineyard and Virginia. She now lives in New Jersey with her husband and three sons; the family summers in Maine.
You can visit the author’s official website here.
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