Molly has been in foster care most of her life, but is about to age out of the system. She's an incredibly lost girl, unsure of herself (and really who could blame her) and in a difficult moment, steals a book from the library. Rather than sending her to juvenile hall, the judge orders her to do community service.
Placed with Vivian whose attic desperately needs cleaning out, Molly is unable to understand how she'll possibly learn anything. Vivian is old and that's all Molly really sees. What actually unfolds is a beautiful friendship of understanding.
From both being shunned for their outward appearances and heritage to being orphans and experiencing incredibly hardship, both women have truly inspiring stories and quite a bit in common. The reader gets to know both of the characters through flashbacks to Vivian's life at the turn of the 20th century and Molly's current status as foster care kid/juvenile delinquent.
Molly's heartache for her situation and her process of acting out was done in a way that made me want to help her. It wasn't over-the-top, but instead, realistic and an excellent precursor to meeting Vivian and learning her story.
I've always had a strange fascination with orphan trains, though I haven't found many stories about them. The historical detail in this story was excellent and I finished the book knowing more about both the trains and the current foster care system than I had going in. Pair that new knowledge with two beautifully written characters and this book really was a winner for me.
A little bit historical, a lot of emotions, and great characters. Christine Baker Kline is a talent, that's for sure. Highly recommended!
Check out the rest of the tour stops here. Thanks to William Morrow for the review copy!