Orphan Train *** (3/5)
Christina Baker Kline - Fiction
Orphan Train was an interesting read and definitely kept me engaged through to the very end but I found Molly, a teenage girl trapped in the shuffle of the foster care system, to be very flat and one dimensional. Totally an unnecessary character to the story as a whole.
While I see the connection Baker created between Molly and Vivian, I think Vivian's story itself is more than enough to sustain an entertaining and meaningful experience for the reader. I just didn't see any added value to Molly's character, especially not the back and forth between Vivian's life and Molly's. The ping-ponging between characters was not only a bit cumbersome to follow, but it could easily cause someone to put the novel down without really getting a true feel for the book.
Orphan Train portrays a period in history that I am so thankful to have not experienced first hand. The reality that children were treated like cattle, boarded onto trains, lined up and picked for their working features rather than to become members of a family is beyond me. Children no older than 10 forced to work as farm hands doing manual labor and sleeping on hay bales along side cattle is absurd and heartbreaking.
It's an emotional read for sure, but I really did enjoy learning about Vivian and her journey right up until the very end. I just wish Molly's character had been less prominent and more of Vivian's story had been told.
Other Books By Christina Baker Kline
The Paper Magician ***
Charlie N. Holmberg- Teen/ Young adult Historical Fiction
The Paper Magician was Charlie’s 9th novel but her first published and only after receiving an abundance of rejection letters. So many she joked about fashioning a quilt from the stack.
The book is set in historical England at the turn of the century and is filled with quirky charm and magical splendor.
Ceony Twill is assigned to Magician Emery Thane as his apprentice and begins to learn the ins and outs of becoming a master folder. Without giving too much away Ceony is, at first, very displeased with the mandated title of “folder” and arrives to her new home with a broken heart and sour outlook on the situation. Her feelings and displeasure morph as the novel wares on and her heart soon learns to love the bond she forms with paper through magic.
This is the first of three novels in the series and, in my opinion, is the least entertaining of the trio. It’s a great read and holds your attention rather well but its successors are a bit more dramatic and intriguing in content. Much of the center of this book is spent traveling alongside Ceony and she wanders through the chambers of Emery’s heart (I don’t want to say more than this in hopes it intrigues you enough to pick up the book! ) just keep reading, it gets better.
I had few qualms with this book though there are two that present themselves by the close of the last chapter:
#1. Why do Excisioners (Magicians who bond to blood and practice dark magic) exist at all. What is their goal, their purpose? World domination? To destroy all good magic? I haven't a clue!
#2. The development of a prospect romantic relationship between Ceony (Who's 19) and her instructor (whose 30 and once divorced) is absolutely NOT needed and strikes the reader out of left field. Either the Charlies attempt to kindle romance between the two was very poorly executed or the romance was an afterthought because, lets face it, love sells. Either way, it’s awkward and unnecessary.
I picked up this book on a whim as it was free with KindleUnlimited but I thoroughly enjoyed the easy read! So much so I downloaded and read its sequel and am now onto the third and final book in the series!
An avid reader with a thirst for knowledge, and adventure through words printed on paper.
Books Read in 2020
*The Tattooist of Auschwitz