Tuesday, April 30, 2013


Story Description: 
St. Martin’s Press|February 2, 2011|Trade Paperback|ISBN: 978-0-312-67443-4 
Lulu and Merry’s childhood was never ideal, but on the day before Lulu’s tenth birthday their father drives them into a nightmare.  He’s always hungered for the love of the girls’ self-obsessed mother, after she throws him out, their troubles turn deadly. 
Lulu had been warned to never let her father in, but when he shows up drunk, he’s impossible to ignore.  He bullies his way past Lulu, who then listens in horror as her parents struggle.  She runs for help, but discovers upon her return that he’s murdered her mother, stabbed her five-year-old sister, and tried unsuccessfully to kill himself. 
Lulu and Merry are effectively orphaned by their mother’s death and father’s imprisonment, but the girls’ relatives refuse to care for them and abandon them to a terrifying group home.  Even as they plot to be taken in by a well-to-do family, they come to learn they’ll never really belong anywhere or to anyone – that all they have to hold onto is each other. 
For thirty years, the sisters try to make sense of what happened.  Their imprisoned father is a specter in both their lives, shadowing every choice they make.  One spends her life pretending he’s dead, while the other feels compelled by fear, by duty to keep him close.  Both dread the day his attempts to win parole may meet success. 
A beautifully written, compulsively readable debut, The Murderer’s Daughters is a testament to the power of family and the ties that bind us together and tear us apart. 
My Review: 
Lulu, 10-years-old, her sister, Merry, 6-years-old lived with their mother and father in Brooklyn.  Their mother was no “macaroni-necklace-wearing” kind of mother and viewed 10-year-old, Lulu as a “miniature hand servant.”  In July of 1971 their family fell apart.  Lulu and Merry’s mother kicked their father out of the family home and told the girls not to let him in when he came to the door.  Mom went to take a nap and ordered the girls’ to do the same.  While napping someone knocked at the door.  Lulu got up to investigate and realized it was her father.  She told him her mother was sleeping and couldn’t let him in.  Her father, who was drunk, demanded to be let in so Lulu cracked open the door with the safety chain still on.  Her father was becoming impatient and demanded she let him in.  Not knowing for sure what the right thing to do was, Lulu released the safety chain and he barged his way in. 
Their mother was livid when she found him in the apartment and they began to fight and argue.  He picked up a knife to stab the girls’ mother and she yelled to Lulu to run downstairs and get their neighbour, Teenie.  Lulu stood stock still for a moment, disbelief clouding her mind that their father would try to kill their mother.  Finally she took off running and got Teenie.  But by the time they returned to the apartment he had stabbed their mother to death and she was lying in an ever growing puddle of blood.  He had also stabbed little Merry in the chest and tried unsuccessfully to kill himself.  Thankfully, Merry also survived. 
Now with their father in jail and their mother dead, the girls are orphaned.  None of their aunts and uncles wanted to take them in so they ended up in the Duffy Home, an orphanage.  Eventually, Mrs. Parker the head of the home takes a liking to Merry and Lulu and takes them home as foster children. 
The story follows the girls through the rest of their childhood, into their teenage years and finally into adulthood.  The book is written in alternating chapters between Lulu and Merry so we get a close-up view of the emotions and turmoil each is going through. 
The characters were very well-developed.  The girls came from such a dysfunctional family that it’s a wonder either of them even made it to adulthood.  Both girls dealt with this tragedy in completely opposite ways and it was interesting being privy to each of the girls’ thought processes. 
The Murderer’s Daughters was a captivating read and I’ll remember Lulu and little Merry for quite a while to come. 

Sunday, April 28, 2013


Story Description: 
Annick Press|September 12, 2008|Trade Paperback|ISBN: 13:978-1-55451-158-7 
The astounding story of one girl’s journey from war victim to UNICEF Special Representative. 
As a child in a small rural village in Sierra Leone, Mariatu Kamara lived  peacefully surrounded by family and friends.  Rumors of rebel attacks were no more than a distant worry. 
But when 12-year-old Mariatu set out for a neighboring village, she never arrived.  Heavily armed rebel soliders, many no older than children themselves, attacked and tortured Mariatu.  During this brutal act of senseless violence they cut off both her hands. 
Stumbling through the countryside, Mariatu miraculously survived.  The sweet taste of a mango, her first food after the attack, reaffirmed her desire to live, but the challenge of clutching the fruit in her bloodied arms reinforced the grim new reality that stood before her.  With no parents or living adult to support her and living in a refugee camp, she turned to begging in the streets of Freetown. 
In the gripping and heartbreaking true story, Mariatu shares with readers the details of the brutal attack, its aftermath and her eventual arrival in Toronto.  There she began to pull together the pieces of her broken life with courage, astonishing resilience and hope. 
My Review: 
Mariatu Kamara, eleven-years-old lived with her aunt Marie, uncle Alie, and cousins in a small village in Sierra Leone called Magborou.  There were only about 200 people living there.  The eight houses in the village were made out of clay, with wood and tin roofs, and several families lived in each one.  Magborou was an extremely poor village and none of the children attended school because their help was needed on the farms. 
When Mariatu was seven-years-old she was big enough to carry plastic jugs of water and straw baskets filled with corn on her head.  She spent her mornings planting and harvesting.  They grew peanuts, rice, peppers, sweet potatoes, and cassava which is like a potato.  During the afternoon, Mariatu would play hide-and-seek with her cousins and friends.  At night she spent time dancing to the sound of drums and people singing.  Once each week the whole village got together to watch as people put on performances. 
Mariatu was eleven when the war came to Sierra Leone.  The chariman of their village had heard that violent rebels were destroying villages and killing people in eastern Sierra Leone but were headed toward Magborou.  The rebels wanted to overthrow the government which they accused of being corrupt and not helping people.  The villages were hearing that the rebels weren’t just killing people but also torturing them. 
The chairman of Magborou decided that the villagers should move to another village named Manarma in hopes of avoiding the rebels.  He felt they would all be safer there and there were a lot more people in Manarma. 
As they slept and woke in their new village they could hear gunshots in the distance.  They were all quiet with no singing, dancing, or drum playing.  Some of the elders ordered Mariatu and some others to walk back to their village of Magborou to retrieve some food from the supply bin.  Mariatu was afraid and didn’t want to go but you didn’t disobey elders.  She and some others set out together but they never reached Magborou.  During their trek they had to pass through another village and as soon as they entered it they heard gunshots.  About ten of them had left for Magborou from Manarma.  The older men in the group decided they should wait until the gunfire ended before going any further.  After awhile the men in the group decided to send Mariatu and another kid, Adamsay back to Manarma just to be safe.  They began walking. 
When they reached the outskirts of Manarma, they stopped near the soccer field.  They couldn’t see or hear anybody which they thought was very unusual.  Suddenly they saw soldiers of some sort who were bare-chested with bullets wrapped around their bodies.  Adamsay was frightened and began to run away but a man came out of nowhere and caught her by the waist.  He threw her down in the dust beside Mariatu.  He had several guns slung over his shoulders.  Another soldier came and they pushed the two kids into the village.  Mariatu could now see that the soldiers had taken over the village going in and out of people’s houses, robbing them of people’s possessions.  The soldiers ordered Mariatu and Adamsay to sit on the ground and tied their hands behind their backs.  A few minutes later, a couple of the soliders took Mariatu into the bushes and cut off both her hands with a machete.  What happened after this was truly horrible.  An atrocity! 
I give Mariatu a lot of credit for what she saw, what she endured and for having the courage to come forward and tell her story.  The Bite of the Mango is a story of bravery, courage, resilience, strength, and of moving forward.  I would highly recommend that everyone read this memoir. 


Saturday, April 27, 2013


Story Description: 
Baker Publishing Group|May 1, 2013|Trade Paperback|ISBN: 978-0-7642-0975-8 
When Meg Cole’s father dies unexpectedly, she becomes the majority shareholder of his oil company and the single inheritor of his fortune.  Though Meg is soft-spoken and tender-hearted – more interested in art than in oil – she’s forced to return home to Texas and to Whispering Creek Ranch to take up the reins of her father’s empire. 
The last thing she has the patience or the sanity to deal with?  Her father’s thoroughbred racehorse farm.  She gives its manager, Bo Porter six months to close the place down. 
Bo’s determined to resent the woman who’s decided to rob him of his dream.  But instead of anger, Meg evokes within him a profound desire to protect.  The more time he spends with her, the more he longs to overcome every obstacle that separates them – her wealth, his unworthiness, her family’s outrage – and earn the right to love her. 
But just when Meg begins to realize that Bo might be the one thing on the ranch worth keeping, their fragile bond is viciously broken by a force from Meg’s past.  Can their love – and their belief that God can work through every circumstance – survive? 
My Review: 
William Cole was an oil man and very rich but unfortunately he was now dead.  His daughter Meg always said he was a lousy father but very good at being rich.  Now that he was gone it was up to Meg to step forward and pick up the reins of the business but Meg had different plans. 
Being home at Whispering Creek Ranch is not where Meg wanted to be.  She’s just spent two weeks with Cole Oil Advisors undergoing a crash course on the family holdings.  They also counselled her on Whispering Creek Ranch which included the family home and her father’s horse farm.  The advisors urged her to release the Whispering Creek employees who had fit into her father’s life-style but couldn’t possibly fit into her own.  As a result, Meg had already fired three people this morning and she fired her father’s chauffer – she didn’t need one.  Next on her list was to fire Mr. Bo Porter who ran the thoroughbred horse farm. 
Mr. Porter arrived at her office and Meg was nervous and full of anxiety.  When he walked into her office he was a lot younger than she though he’d be.  Looking at him, Meg pegged him at around thirty to thirty-three.  She also noticed he was very handsome.  Meg said that she regretted to tell him that she was closing down the horse farm and offered him a severance package worth ‘triple’ what normally one would receive.  Bo wasn’t interested in looking at the severance package and informed Meg that he had twenty employees working for him.  Meg made it clear that all employees were to receive the same severance package in order to ensure people had ample time to find new jobs.  Meg then told Bo they were to sell her father’s ninety horses.  A few minutes later, Bo walked back into Meg’s office and said he couldn’t do it – sell the horses.  He told her if he had six more months, then he could break even rather than losing money.  Meg wasn’t happy but her resolve was slipping fast and before she knew it she told him, yes he could have six months but no more.  Bo had one more request that Meg come out and see the horse farm for herself.  Although she hated horses she agreed. 
Giving up the horse farm was going to be very difficult for Bo.  As farm manager he got paid well and he put in twelve hour days, woke at the crack of dawn, and thought about horses 24/7 because it was his dream job. 
Bo was thinking about Meg Cole.  When he’d heard people gossiping about her, he’d pictured her as a “Paris Hilton type of person.”  She did look rich and she must have spent two hours getting ready that morning.  Her make-up could have come straight out of a magazine ad.  As much as Meg looked the part, there had been something about her that had struck him as strange for a rich girl, something he’d sensed more than seen.  Beneath her appearance he detected an uncertainty, a vulnerability about her.  This was bad news for him because he was a sucker for vulnerability and it made him want to protect her.  Bo thought this was laughable since she was the one with all the money and power.  She was the one firing him from his job.  And yet he stood there in the mansion’s office, fighting the urge to help and comfort her. 
Bo had asked Meg to visit the ranch because he had a small hope that she might soften if she could see the place for herself, meet the staff and spend time with the horses.  Over the new few months he could take her out on rides, escort her to the owner’s box at the track for races, explain to her why her father had liked it so much, and show her the farm’s earning projections over the next decade.  For the sake of the people who worked at the farm, he had to try. 
Meg was under so much stress and was feeling anxious.  Her Uncle Michael had arrived who was her father’s youngest brother.  He’d just spent thirty minutes explaining an oil and gas exploration deal that Cole Oil was in the middle of negotiating.  Michael told Meg not to worry that he was going to look out for her and her best interests, no matter what.  But an iron grew around Meg’s chest, and her pulse quickened.  She needed to escape.  Quickly, she made her excuses and let herself out. 
The day arrived for Meg to visit the horse farm.  She was dreading it.  When she arrived, Bo had all of his employees lined up to meet her.  She took the time to shake each person’s hand and say a few words to them.  Bo then began his tour of the stables and the horses telling Meg little stories about each one.  When they were done, Meg realized that her anxiety was gone “like a wisp of smoke.”  Her stomach was easy, her nerves steady, and her heartbeat and respiration were normal.  Astonished, she moved her gaze to Bo.  HE had done this, she realized.  Bo Porter had stilled the roiling inside her.  She couldn’t believe it.  What therapy, antacids, breathing techniques, and hours of self-talk had not been able to do for her, HE’D done.  This person she scarcely knew.  She just wanted to stand next to him and gratefully drink in the calm. 
Soon both Meg and Bo were having deep feelings for each other but they kept their thoughts to themselves.  Meg is thinking that she could never have a relationship with an employee of hers and Bo is thinking Meg would believe he was just after her money.  Finally, Meg decides she can no longer hide how she really feels but something terrible happens.  Can their relationship – and their belief in God work through every circumstance and will they both survive? 
Undeniably Yours was an utterly delicious and beautiful read.  The characters were so well drawn out that I felt I knew each of them personally and could draw a picture in my mind of what each of them looked like.  I will definitely be recommending this scrumptious novel to everyone and plan on reading this one a second time. 
“Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.
Available at your favourite bookseller from Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group.”

Friday, April 26, 2013


Story Description: 
Baker Publishing Group|May 1, 2013|Trade Paperback|ISBN: 978-0-7642-1046-4 
When Eve Marryat’s father is laid off from the Ford Motor Company in 1931, he is forced to support his family by leaving St. Paul, Minnesota, and moving back to his Ohio roots.  Eve’s uncle Cyrus has invited the family to live and work at his Marryat Island Ballroom and Lodge. 
St. Paul seemed like a haven for gangsters, and Eve had grown fearful of living there.  At seventeen, she considers her family to be “good people.”  They aren’t lawbreakers and criminals like so many people in her old neighborhood.  Thrilled to be moving to a “safe haven”, Eve is blissfully unaware that her Uncle’s lodge is a transfer station for illegal liquor smuggled from Canada. 
Eve settles in to work and makes new friends, including an enigmatic but affecting young man.  But when the reality of her situation finally becomes clear, Eve is faced with a dilemma.  How can she ignore what is happening right under their very noses?  Yet can she risk everything by condemning the man whose love and generosity is keeping her and her family from ruin? 
My Review: 
Seventeen-year-old Eve Marryat left St. Paul, Minnesota on May 30, 1931 with her family.  They were moving to Mercy, Ohio to live with her Uncle Cyrus.  Her father was laid off from the Ford Motor Company and Uncle Cyrus had offered him a job at his Marryat Island Ballroom and Lodge.  After a three day drive they arrived at the lodge.  Uncle Cy’s wife, Cora, wasn’t there as she as convalescing in a tuberculosis sanitarium.  This would also be the first time Eve’s father and his brother, Cy have seen each other in a number of years.  They had had some type of argument back then but Eve didn’t know what it was about. 
Cassandra Marryat was Eve’s sister who was now twenty-five-years-old but she didn’t make the move with the family.  She was married now and her home was back in St. Paul.  Cassandra and Eve were not close as a lot of sisters are. Eve saw Cassandra as “silly and shallow”, a party girl tailor-made for the twenties.  The years were to prove her right when Cassandra ended up pregnant without a husband, and wasn’t even sure who the father was. 
Too excited to sleep on her first night at the lodge, Eve wanders down the stairs and into the ballroom.  She sees a record player and begins dancing and twirling until she stumbles and falls down.  She backed into someone or something but couldn’t imagine what.  Suddenly a hand extended into her vision.  When she looked up, she fell back and stifled a scream.  They guy withdrew his hand and said: “All right then…you can just get yourself up.”  Eve knew what he was but had never seen one before – he was an albino.  He had pale skin, stark white hair and two crimson eyes that glowed like rubies.  Eve asked his name and he said it was, Jones which was his mother’s maiden name.  It suddenly dawned on Eve that he was Cora’s son.  When she asked Jones if Cora was his mother he responded yes.  Eve asked why he wasn’t at Uncle Cy and Cora’s wedding and Jones said he had pneumonia so had to stay in Chicago with other relatives.  Eve asked him why she had never heard about him before considering he’d lived there five years now and Uncle Cy have never told them either.  Jones’s only response was: “It’s no secret, just because you don’t mention someone.”  Eve was speechless, then felt bad at the way she acted and offered to start over.  She reintroduced herself, told Jones it was nice to meet him but his features stiffened into a sneer, took one step back and said: “Yeah, I bet.”  With that he turned and walked away. 
Eve was sitting in a rowboat one morning thinking when Jones appeared on the dock.  He wanted to go out rowing in the boat Eve was sitting in.  She was about to climb out when Jones told her she didn’t have to, but “just move up to the front seat” he said.  Jones began to row and Eve watched the water dripping off the oars as they came up from the water.  A couple of boats passed them carrying boxes marked “castor oil”.  Eve asked Jones where the men would be going with castor oil and he began to laugh and shake his head.  Jones informed her it was “moonshine!”  Eve was astounded and started into a speech about Prohibition and how moonshine was illegal.  Jones saw it as a way for the men to feed their families and told Eve there were a lot of people around the area that made moonshine. 
Later that evening, back in her room, Eve suddenly realized she didn’t feel safe and secure anymore.  She was so happy to leave St. Paul where there were a lot of robberies, shootings, and stabbings.  Eve and her family actually witnessed a man being shot which Eve still dreams about.  She thought she’d feel so very safe at Marryat Lodge and was so elated to be there but this whole moonshine business burst her bubble of happiness and security. 
One day a man about twenty showed up at the lodge for a meal.  He was basically homeless and lived in a shantytown up the river near the railroad.  Uncle Cy was a kind man, he fed anyone who showed up looking for food.  He never turned anyone away.  When Annie, the cook, had the plate of stew with some bread and lemonade ready, Eve took it out to the man.  He told her his name was Link.  Soon, Eve would have more to do with Link that she thought.  Right now she views him as nothing more than a bum. 
The whole idea of bootlegging is still very present in Eve’s mind and she wants absolutely nothing to do with it.  However, it is much closer to her than she could ever have imagined and makes her lose faith in everything she believed.  How is Eve possibly going to handle the devastating secret that is about to be exposed? 
The stunning conclusion to this story will knock your socks off and make your heart race.  It was unbelievably well-done!  Ann Tatlock has written a masterpiece in Sweet Mercy and I would highly recommend this book to everyone. Great writing!

"Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.
Available at your favourite bookseller from Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group." 

Thursday, April 25, 2013


Story Description: 
Baker Publishing Group|May 1, 2013|Trade Paperback|ISBN: 978-0-8007-2181-7 
Hannah Gregory is good at many things, but that list doesn’t include following rules. So when she is forced to apply for a job as a telephone switchboard operator to support her two sisters, she knows it won’t be easy.  “Hello Girls” must conduct themselves according to strict – and often bewildering rules.  No talking to the other girls.  No chatting with callers.  No blowing your nose without first raising your hand.  And absolutely no consorting with gentlemen while in training. 
Meanwhile, young lawyer Lincoln Cole finds himself in the unfortunate position of having to enforce the bank’s eviction of the three Gregory girls from their parent’s home.  He tries to soften the blow by supporting them in small ways as they settle into another home.  But fiery Hannah refuses his overtures and insists on paying back every cent of his charity. 
When one of Hannah’s friends finds himself on the wrong side of a jail cell, Hannah is forced to look to Lincoln for help.  Will it be her chance to return to her dreams of studying law?  And could she be falling in love? 
With historic details that bring to life the exciting first decade of the twentieth century, Lorna Seilstad weaves a charming tale of camaraderie and companionship that blossoms into love.  Readers will get lost in this sweet romance and will eagerly look forward to championing each sister’s dreams. 
My Review: 
Twenty-year-old Hannah Gregory lost both of her parents from influenza and was left to care for her two sisters:  Charlotte and Tessa.  Money was tight and if she didn’t find a job soon the three of them would starve.  Three months ago, Hannah was attending Drake University studying law, but with the death of her parents and the little money her parents left wouldn’t allow her to continue paying her education and supporting her sisters and herself. 
While sitting and eating dinner a knock came at the door.  Hannah got up to answer it and it was man named Lincoln Cole who was there representing Iowa Bank and Trust.  Unfortunately, he had come with some very bad news.  Apparently her father had taken out a second mortgage on their farm and he owed the bank a large sum of money.  And, in the three months since their parent’s deaths, Hannah had been unable to make any payments at all.  Mr. Cole informed Hannah that the bank was foreclosing on the property but said they could take dishes, their beds, dressers and other personal items but the rest would go to auction.  Hannah was very worried.  How was she going to move, find a new home and start over all on her own? 
Hannah had seen an ad in the grocery store for a telephone operator.  They called them “Hello Girls”.  Hannah went for a job interview and was hired and would begin training on Monday.  The nice thing was that it was a “paid” training and the three girls sure could use the money.  She would earn five dollars a week during training and eight when she became a full-fledged operator. 
While at the interview, Hannah met another girl, Rosie Murphy who was also hired on as a Hello Girl.  At the end of their day, Rosie invited Hannah to her house for tea and snacks and to meet her mother.  During their walk, Hannah told Rosie about her parents passing and that the bank now owned their home so she and her sisters needed to find someplace to live.  Rosie told Hannah that she could probably help.  After being seated at the Murphy’s table with a plate of egg salad sandwiches and ginger cookies, Mrs. Murphy told Hannah that she had a cottage she and her sisters could rent.  This was wonderful news for Hannah.  And, Mrs. Murphy said she wouldn’t accept: “…a cent until you’re a bona fide operator.”  Hannah was excited beyond belief for she had found a job and a small house to rent. 
Someone in their small town began setting fires and no one could figure out who was responsible.  Within a couple of days, Walt, Hannah’s best and long-time friend had been arrested and thrown in jail.  Hannah knew deep in her heart that Walt was innocent and she needed to help him.  Lincoln Cole was a lawyer and had helped Hannah and her sisters move to their new home.  He had felt so bad about being the one to tell her the bank was foreclosing on their home that he felt it was the least he could do.  Plus, Lincoln was quite smitten with Hannah.  Hannah thought over her options about how to help Walt and approached Lincoln to ask him if he’d defend Walt.  Lincoln not only said yes, but he said he’d do it pro bono – for free!  It didn’t take long before Hannah realized that Lincoln had much more than just a passing interest in her.  And, Walt also felt the same way about Hannah.  Who is the real arsonist?  And, who will win Hannah’s heart? 
When Love Calls was a smart, sassy, funny, and addictive read.  I couldn’t put this book down.  Each page turned made me want to read more and more.  A huge thumbs up for When Love Calls!

"Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.
Available at your favourite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group."


Tuesday, April 23, 2013


Story Description: 
Baker Publishing Group|March 26, 2013|Trade Paperback|ISBN: 978-0-7642-0979-6 
When schoolteacher Jodi Winfield goes for a morning run, the last thing she expects to find is a disheveled little girl all alone on the side of the Pennsylvania road, clad only in her undergarments, her chubby cheeks streaked with tears.  Jodi takes the preschooler home with her, intending to find out where she belongs.  But Jodi is mystified when no one seems to know of a missing child, and the girl herself is no help, since she can’t speak a word of English.  It’s as if the child appeared out of nowhere. 
As the days pass, Jodi becomes increasingly attached to the mysterious girl, yet she is no cloer to learning her identity.  Then an unexpected opportunity brings Jodi to Hickory Hollow – and into the cloistered world of the Lancaster Old Order Amish.  Might the answers lie there? 
My Review: 
The Esh family had been at a benefit to raise money to help two Mennonite families with children who suffered from fragile X syndrome.  When Maryanna arrived home to her Amish community with her children: 9-year-old twins, Benny and Leda; 7-year-old, Tobias; and 4-year-old, Sarah, she found Sarah to be missing.  Maryanna checked the house first thing thinking perhaps little Sarah had jumped out of the wagon when she entered the driveway and had dashed inside but she wasn’t there.  The other children checked the barn, springhouse, and greenhouse while Maryanna checked next door with her parents, but still no sign of 4-year-old, Sarah.  It dawned on Maryanna that little Sarah had most likely fallen out of the wagon on the ride home.  At that point, the other children said that Sarah had been hanging over the edge.  Maryanna was sick with worry as neighbours and family began a search party and searched throughout the night and into the following day. 
The next morning, 27-year-old, Jodi Winfield, an Englischer was out jogging in Hickory Hollow when she stumbled upon a little girl sleeping beneath a tree.  The child had no dress on and was only in her underclothes.  She also had a large bump on her head.  The little girl was crying so Jodi picked her up and held her.  She tried speaking to the little girl but she didn’t speak English, only German and Jodi could not speak German. 
Back at her cousin’s home where she was housesitting, Jodi gave the little girl a bubble bath, washed her hair, and had washed and dried her underclothes as they were filthy dirty.  Jodi then made something for the child to eat before setting out for Hickory Hollow.  She had to find where this precious child belonged. 
After finding the little girl’s family, Jodi learned her name was, Sarah and that she was only 4-years-old.  Her mother, Maryanna couldn’t thank Jodi enough for finding and bringing her precious daughter home.  Little Sarah thought Jodi was an angel, HER angel, sent by God to find her and she referred to Jodi after that as her angel. 
Maryanna and Jodi strike up a friendship that becomes so loving and much more than either of them ever dreamed it would be.  Each thought of the other as a sister.  Little did Maryanna and Jodi know that their ongoing friendship was going to have such far reaching positive changes in both their lives. 
The Guardian was a beautiful and sweet story and one that I will recommend to everyone.  Beverly Lewis never disappoints! 
"Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.
Available at your favourite bookseller from Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group". 


Story Description: 
HarperCollins Publishers|March 25, 2013|Trade Paperback|ISBN: 978-0-06-195072-8 
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 by a hazy blur.  But in her attic, hidden in trunks, are vestiges of a turbulent past. 
Seventeen-year-old Molly Ayer 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.
My Review: 
Seventeen-year-old Molly lives with her foster parents, Dina and Ralph in Spruce Harbor, Maine.  Dina wasn’t all that excited about having Molly as a foster child as their last one tried to set the school on fire, but husband Ralph wanted her.  Having been through the Big Brother’s program as a child himself, he felt he had something to offer Molly.  But Molly isn’t surprised Dina didn’t want her because not much ever went right in her life.  At school she was an outcast because she dresses goth, that is, until she meets Jack during a school work group.  Jack liked her and thought she was “awesome” which made Molly smile. 
Jack’s mother works for an elderly woman, Vivian Daly who is ninety-one-years-old.  She wants someone to help her clean out her attic and Jack’s mother doesn’t want to do it so she offers the opportunity to Molly after Jack convinces her that Molly is trustworthy.  Molly takes on the chore as she can complete her fifty hours of community service instead of going to juvenile hall for stealing something and it gives her an excuse to stay with Dina and Ralph. 
Vivian Daly was only seven-years-old when she came to America from Ireland in 1929 with her family.  However, she ended up in the care of the Children’s Aid Society just three years later after losing her family.  Shortly after her arrival there, she found herself seated on a train called the “orphan train” which was bound for the countryside and out of the big city of New York.  There were hundreds of children on the train with her, all bound for farmland and new families, that is, if any picked them out of the line-up. 
I felt so very sorry for Vivian when she was living in the Grote household.  The deplorable conditions under which she was forced to live were heartbreaking.  I cried when I read the passage about something horrible that happened to her in that house.  I wanted so badly to reach into the pages of the story, put my arms around her, and rip her out of that situation.  Then, being forced to walk so, so far in the dead of winter was totally unacceptable.  What cruel and heartless people they were. 
As Molly and Vivian continue to clean the attic, each box opened brings back another memory and another amazing story from Vivian.  It soon becomes apparent that Molly and Vivian’s lives didn’t differ that much from each other despite the seventy-four-year age difference between them.  I think they found a kindred spirit in each other.  Molly having been in and out of foster homes herself has now found a new friend in Vivian and one who understands what she has been through. 
The Orphan Train was a phenomenal story that affected me deeply.  My heart went out to all the children on the orphan train.  I will most definitely be recommending this wonderful masterpiece to all who’ll listen.  Orphan Train gets a huge thumbs up from me!  Thank you Ms. Kline for a most interesting and intriguing story.