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Orphan Train Escape

(Hearts on the Rails #1)

4.23  ·  Rating details ·  1,195 ratings  ·  122 reviews
Bridget Collins is in dire straits - she needs to get out of New York, fast. With two young siblings under her wing, her options are limited.
Her priest sends her as an outplacement agent on the orphan trains that run from New York to out west.
With almost forty orphans under her care, she's relieved fellow and more experienced outplacement agent Carl Watson, is there to g
Kindle Edition, 300 pages
Published July 15th 2018
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Average rating 4.23  · 
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 ·  1,195 ratings  ·  122 reviews

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Lori Ann
Oct 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Awesome Read!

I just learned about the orphan trains a few years ago and have visited the National Orphan Train Complex in Concordia, KS. This story reflects the various situations experienced by the Orphan Train riders as I came to understand them at the complex. Plus, I didn't want to stop reading this story. The story is well paced. The characters are believable and you can't help rooting for a happy ending. I can't wait to read the next book in the series.
AUDIOBOOK: Read 4th April 2019 😒Have returned it
5hrs 58min

Narrator: Ruth Urquhart Does a good enough job.
Maybe good for some who have not yet heard about these orphan trains.
The story line was good but this was very drab...Thought it would be a lot better. To much wishy washy at the end.
Bev Walkling
I had recently read another young adult book about the orphan trains and was interested enough I wanted to learn more. My local library didn't have the other series so I thought I would give this one a try. Set in America shortly before the beginning of the civil war it gives an interesting look at how people found themselves on the orphan trains and how no matter how well intended they might be, the placements of the children didn't always work out well.

There is a quite a strong ele
Jul 07, 2019 rated it liked it
I've read several books about the Orphan Train. This author has chosen to add romance to the story of which I didn't like. I felt it was out of place. The book was a bit fluffy for me.

Jun 25, 2019 rated it liked it
Good Read

I was not moved by this book. The author did make me think, and thinking led me to my own historical research about orphan trains. When an author makes a reader think beyond the scope of a book, it is a good thing.

Thank you, Ms. Wesson, for the read.
Susan E Ballard
Nov 05, 2019 rated it did not like it
This self-published disaster is a bad rip off of 'The Orphan Train' by Christina Baker Kline. I'm more than halfway through and struggling to stay with it. So childish and boring. Was this book written for junior high students? It reads like something written by a pre-teen girl. The characters are all either really-really good, or really-really bad. And of course the heroine of the story is extra super-duper good. And beautiful, and smart, and spunky, and hardworking, and brave, and caring, and ...more
Beth Kaminske
Nov 07, 2019 rated it it was ok
The orphan train

I had a hard time reading this book. I liked some of it and the General plot about the orphan train, but some much felt absurd. Like the ages of the siblings, and the ending,especially the ending. It is like the author got tired of writing the book and gave it the happiest ending possible as quickly as possible. Also who would possibly address a letter to Ms. Collins in the 1890's? And what about doing everything possible to keep the family together. And I don’t even know wh
Nov 03, 2019 rated it it was ok
This book has an interesting subject matter, but flat characters and predictable plot. The writing style is rather basic and not very well structured. At one point, a 4-year-old was giving insight into 2 adults looking at each other as if they liked each other. Not very believable. It wasn’t bad for a free book, but I doubt I’ll purchase the rest of this series.
Stephen Simpson-Hunt
Aug 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Historical Fiction Comes to Life

I had never heard of the orphan trains before reading this book. As a foster parent and adoptive parent I found this book to be an interesting read. While reading this book, I couldn’t help but to make parallels between the orphan trains of the past and the current foster care system in the USA. I experienced firsthand the child welfare system while fostering several young children and adopting two of them. We have certainly come a long way from the orphan tr
Judy G Spivey
Jan 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A story of the Orphan Trains of the West. The good and the bad.

Get prepared to read through and go to the next book, with a box of tissue at your side. The story of a family of Iris immigrants, who through circumstances nd up in the ghettos of New York. A time when women and children had no voice, and we're held responsible for being poor. Mrs. Lily has started a mission for young women to teach them a trade,and this old a a door for Kathleen and her family to become involved with the Orpha
Jul 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Very touching story

I really enjoyed this story of a 19 year old girl along with 2 of her siblings travel on an orphan train from New York City to Wyoming. She is helping an experienced man place the orphans on the train in safe homes along the way and going to be a mail order bride to a man in Wyoming. The experiences along the way reveal the type of families they have to deal with to find loving families for the orphans and how their relationship changes during the journey. I won't tell how th
Aug 04, 2019 rated it it was ok
The subject was interesting -- I had no idea about the orphan trains. However, I really struggled with finishing the book because the characters weren't fleshed out. I wasn't moved by the story. I did enjoy the storyline of little Jacob, though.
Beth Amy
Nov 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Well done

It is the 1800s & New York City & to some extant other Wast Coast cities, are dealing with much the same issues we live with today - an overwhelming number of immigrants, then from Europe's most imporverished families.
There is a recession on. Businesses & banks are failing. Unemployment is rampant. Many out of work men somehow seem to find the meams to purchase large quantities of liquor even as they not only starve their families by spending money on booze, but t
Homes for all the children

What a sad thought that orphans and children their parents could not care for need new homes so the don't roam the streets or join the gangs in New York. Lily and Charlie offer sanctuary to a young woman , Bridget, and her family. Bridget was running from a boss that tried to take advantage of her and she stabbed him with a letter opener to get away. Now he is looking for her to get revenge. She joins an Orphan train taking orphans west to find them homes. She is suppo
D. Jane Akins
Sep 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I never knew about the Orphan Trains until now

What a time in our history is reflected in this series of books. I read the 2nd book first and, while they are stand-alone books, I do recommend reading them in order. Although I believe our government is currently too involved in our everyday affairs, it’s certainly easy to understand why it was necessary to regulate care for our most vulnerable citizens, our children, especially those whose parents have died or can otherwise not take care of
Nov 18, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2019-books
Interesting read about the orphan trains in America couched in a fictional story about a family of seven who have recently lost their mother. Times are hard as the older siblings work to take care of the younger ones. Bridget makes the decision to work as an outplacement worker to get kids into new homes across the country. She leaves with two of her young siblings and the story unfolds from there. I always enjoy reading books that are based on real events in history. Although these trains took ...more
Carol Ann
Nov 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Fiction about real events of the orphan trains.

A good story with many children’s lives being followed during their train journey to find new families and forever homes. Some families were more welcoming than others and the adults who accompanied the children needed to be discerning as to the character and reasons for accepting these orphan children. Well written with good descriptions of the characters. Nothing was for certain to turn out how it was planned. Good historic story.
Nov 16, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This book had a decent enough story, but reading it was painful. Between the elementary writing style and complete lack of editing, I felt like I was back in my college writing center job and should be editing someone’s assignment. There were several times when a character’s name was completely wrong (Mr. Collins?) The print copy I had still included the “click here to continue reading” line, which gave me a good chuckle. I honestly can’t believe this is the beginning of a series, and I’m sorry, ...more
Jan 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2019-books
I have to say this was an amazing book. I have been fascinated with the stories from the time in history where the Orphan Trains existed. So it is nothing new for me to pick up fiction or non-fiction on the subject.

This story is about a family that lost their parents, the oldest loses her fiance, and the two other older sisters are working to make ends meet for the family. It shares the troubles they go through and meet along the way. The book was hard to put down at times and kept me wanting m
Linda Hall
Nov 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The Gulf Between Rich and Poor Endures!

A very sad but uplifting account of a piece of history. It's a story illustrating the plight of orphans and women during the nineteenth century. How the poor lived and were treated during that time period versus the current conditions of the jobless families, the homelessness that exists in today's world. Some things have improved, but not much! For the "middle class" in today's world, many are in danger, just a pay check or two from skipping down into pov
Mrs Janet Sykes
Sep 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Emotive Read

I can't recommend Rachel's book enough. The portrayal of the lives of the children of immigrants in 19th century New York brought me to tears as did the treatment received by the orphans who were paraded like cattle at towns along the railway. The intentions of the organisations were admirable and without them the lives of thousands of children would undoubtedly have been abysmal.
Jerry M Morello
Apr 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The best book I have read in a long time

The characters made me feel I personally New them . This made me cry and feel good. It makes today no different of foster care as then on the trains that took children to go to strangers. Some people are able to take children in and give love and some are out to get something free like labor. Then there are some that are just plain evil, and pray on children. I believe everyone should read this book. Loved it
Nov 16, 2019 rated it it was ok
It's really hard to continue reading a book when you find the main character irritating.

She dislikes people who judge others based on looks but to me she was very judgemental herself.

She was very harsh on people who were doing their best in trying circumstances.

I expected such an incredible story to be beautifully written but I was disappointed. Some of the characters conversations seemed forced and unnatural.
Sarah B White
Jan 05, 2019 rated it really liked it
Heart Breaking Plight of Orphans

This book deals with the plight of widows and orphans in the mid-nineteenth century. The book focuses on New York City and tells of the danger facing widows and orphans. If widows and teenage girls accepted work, they were expected to give sexual favors for the ability to earn low wages or physical harm would come to them or younger family members. Orphan trains offered a way to get these children away from abusers.
Oct 22, 2018 rated it really liked it
To escape a dangerous situation, Bridget Collins and her 2 young siblings travel west on an orphan train. Bridget goes along as a chaperone on her way west as a mail order bride. Over the course of the trip, she gets close to several children and the male chaperone.

Despite a tough topic, the story is generally upbeat. It is an easy, enjoyable read
Tj Walker
Aug 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Excellent story!

The orphan trains were an unfortunate reality. I like to think that there were real people like Bridget and Carl looking out for the children. This story was well written with a few surprises along the way. Rachel Wesson is a talented author. I highly recommend this book!
Patricia S Winchel
Nov 04, 2019 rated it liked it
A Different Type of Western Romance

I enjoyed reading this book although way too many things "just happened" to fall perfectly into place. It was far from realistic but enjoyable reading. Another criticism is that the author needs to use pronouns correctly. No writer should be ignorant of the proper usage of myself, himself, herself.
Bernard Holler
May 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Falling in love on the way out west to be a mail order bride.

As a way for Bridgett Collins to leave New York she agrees to be a mail order bride and she takes on the job of helping Carl Watson escort about forty orphans out west to be adopted. On the way she falls for Carl instead of wanting her rancher that is waiting for her.
Kelli Frye
Aug 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
The Orphan Train

I thoroughly enjoyed the book. Would have liked it to continue with Bridget and Carl and their lives working for the orphan train and what became of Bridgets siblings
Sally Albrecht
Aug 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
Compelling subject

The history of the orphan trains was well covered. I found it interesting the way the author made many of the characters people who had experienced the trains also
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Rachel Wesson is Irish born and bred. Drawn to reading from an early age, she started writing for publication a few years back. When she is not writing, Rachel likes to spend her time reading and playing with her three kids. Living in Dublin there are plenty of things to do, although the cowboys and Indians of her books rarely make an appearance. To chat with Rachel connect with her on Facebook - ...more

Other books in the series

Hearts on the Rails (5 books)
  • Orphan Train Trials (Hearts on the Rails, #2)
  • Orphan Train Christmas (Hearts on the Rails, #3)
  • Orphan Train Tragedy (Hearts on the Rails, #4)
  • Orphan Train Strike: The Orphan Train Series (Hearts on the Rails, #5)
“If everyone helps someone who then helps someone the world would be in a better place than it is now. Small steps will lead to big actions.” 0 likes
“Trust him, Bridget. You may not always understand why things happen, but there is always a reason.” 0 likes
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