Living Outside the Stacks

Navigating through life away from the library


Book Review: Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline

Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline - Book Review {Living Outside the Stacks}


Orphan Train is a gripping story of friendship and second chances from Christina Baker Kline, author of Bird in Hand and The Way Life Should Be.

Penobscot Indian Molly Ayer is close to “aging out” out of the foster care system. A community service position helping an elderly woman clean out her home is the only thing keeping Molly out of juvie and worse…

As she helps Vivian sort through her possessions and memories, Molly learns that she and Vivian aren’t as different as they seem to be. A young Irish immigrant orphaned in New York City, Vivian was put on a train to the Midwest with hundreds of other children whose destinies would be determined by luck and chance.

Molly discovers that she has the power to help Vivian find answers to mysteries that have haunted her for her entire life – answers that will ultimately free them both.

Rich in detail and epic in scope, Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline is a powerful novel of upheaval and resilience, of unexpected friendship, and of the secrets we carry that keep us from finding out who we are.


Christina Baker Kline is a novelist, nonfiction writer and editor. In addition to the #1 New York Times bestselling Orphan Train, her novels include Bird in HandThe Way Life Should Be, Desire Lines and Sweet Water. She served as Writer-in-Residence at Fordham University from 2007 to 2011 and was an on-staff editor and writing coach at the social networking site

You can find more information about her on her website, Facebook, GoodReads, or Twitter.


I have to plead ignorance to the whole history of the orphan trains and this makes me sad as a history instructor geek. But it now gives me a new avenue for research, which is the mark of a good story.

And this is a good story.

When I first started reading this book, I immediately rolled my eyes and thought oh, gosh, not another surly teenager who’s too smart for her own good. And, I have to admit, my opinion of Molly didn’t get much better from there. That being said, I do think she was just as much a victim of her circumstances as she was a creator of her fate.

On the other hand, my heart ached for Vivian who was knocked down by life and found herself in circumstances beyond her control. I can’t imagine being a small child and being put on a train to hope that a family chooses to adopt me. And then not knowing what kind of family I’d get..

Although somewhat predictable at points, the story itself was interesting. I would’ve liked to see the conclusion to Vivian’s story a bit more fleshed out but, overall, I was happy with her ending. I did have a lot of questions about Molly though, which is funny given my opinion of her.

I’d recommend this book for book clubs as there are a lot of topics for discussion, e.g. adoption, American history, women’s issues, etc.


Have you read Orphan Train? What did you think?

Daenel T


Macro {#OurProject52}

Dandelion  {Living Outside the Stacks} #OurProject52

Dandelion  {Living Outside the Stacks} #OurProject52

Dandelion  {Living Outside the Stacks} #OurProject52

Dandelion  {Living Outside the Stacks} #OurProject52

I rarely do any heavy editing of my photos anymore. Most of the time I just crop and add my watermark, but something about these photos just begged to be black and white. I’m totally digging them.

Do you edit your pictures? What’s your preference, color or black and white?

Happy Clicking,

Daenel T {Living Outside the Stacks}



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I’m linking up this post with Lipgloss and Binky and Everyday Eyecandy for the Our Project 52 photography challenge. Please check them out and make sure you visit the other participants.


Read the Bible in 90 Days with Me

B90 Days Read with Me

The first time I read the Bible in 90 days was in 2011. I remember being intimidated by the process. I have a habit of starting things, being all in and then petering out. I start making excuses for why I can’t finish…”I’ll pick up where I left off tomorrow.” “I’m tired.” “My favorite TV show comes on tonight.” But I knew I wanted needed to do this. And not for purely spiritual reasons either. But you know the thing about God? He can use anything for His glory. You can read my reflection post by clicking here.

Soon after finishing the challenge, I decided to become a B9oDays mentor. I learned a lot from reading the Bible on my own and I wanted to encourage others to do the same. And I’ll be honest, it was challenging and rewarding at the same time. Read about my experience by clicking here.

This year, I’ll be serving as a mentor again. I’m excited for the opportunity to see how God will bless those who read His word.

If you’d like to register, just click here to visit Mom’s Toolbox and sign up.

In Him,

Daenel T {Living Outside the Stacks}



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