Dear Great Book Guru, With the summer months comes one of my favorite Sea Cliff traditions: the Sunset Serenades in Memorial Park- music every Thursday at 7pm from now through August. The brain child of Petrice Kaider, these concerts are such fun for everyone from our youngest to our oldest residents. I like to get there early, find a shady spot, and read for an hour or so before the music begins. Do you have a good book to recommend? Sunset Serenade Supporter
Dear Sunset Serenade Supporter, I too love those concerts and I am going to recommend a book I read a few months ago: THE ORPHAN TRAIN by Christina Baker Kline. Kline writes about an almost forgotten piece of American history: from 1853 until 1929, over 250.000 orphaned, abandoned or homeless children were placed on trains from crowded East coast cities and taken to rural towns in the Midwest where they were placed with farm families. The lives of these children were sometimes improved, frequently not…. and this is where Kline’s story begins. Vivian Daly is a ninety-one year-old Irish immigrant who rode the Orphan Train and found hardship, pain, and some kindness along the way. Her counterpart is Molly Ayres, a rebellious unhappy seventeen year-old who is aging out of foster care. The novel traces the parallel histories of these two women, and while we see the damage inflicted on both we also learn that lives can be recast. This book is a favorite with book clubs across the country for its sociological, historical and mutigenerational appeal. Highly recommended!