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Wildflowers: The First Story in the Orphan Train Trilogy.

Wildflowers: The First Story in the Orphan Train Trilogy

Robert Noonan

iUniverse, Inc.

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9780595426836, $15.95, 2007

"Wildflowers," the first of three books in the "Orphan Train Trilogy," is set in the small mill town of Alton and begins in the year 1898. It is a difficult era in which it is a necessity for young children to work in the mills in order for their families to survive. The story centers round eleven-year-old, Hillary Cook and her mother Laura. Hillary's father Jeremiah had passed away five years earlier in a construction accident and now Hillary and her mother are on their own. Laura's best friend Kate is very close to the Cook family and treats Hillary like a child of her own. Circumstances throughout the book draw them closer and as the book goes on Hillary needs to count on Kate more than ever.

Hillary works long twelve-hour days at the Alton Textile Mill, where abuse runs rampant. Not only are young children operating dangerous machinery, but the mill owner Frank Dragus feels that he can take advantage of the young girls in his employ, as he frequently has girls of his choice sent to his office.

Her only chance to be a kid is on Sunday which is Hillary's only day off. After church, Hillary and her two best friends Vera and Iris play outside exploring the fields and cemeteries, watching for wildlife, and just having fun. The three create a special group and dub themselves as "wildflowers." Hillary and her friends always are on the lookout for orphan trains and strain to catch any glimpse of the children inside the passenger cars. Orphan trains were an integral part of this time period transporting the parentless children from out east to the Midwest to place these children with families. Sometimes the orphans ended up in loving families and other times they were just considered laborers where they would work in exchange for room and board.

"Wildflowers" is a historical novel, that although fiction, accurately depicts the events of that era. Noonan's expertly-written story draws you in to a time long ago and exposes you to the injustices that were common, particularly those involving children. The plot draws you in and although somewhat predictable in spots still holds your interest. The main characters are well-developed and you truly begin to take an interest in their well-being. I look forward to reading the two remaining books in the trilogy.

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Author:Aures, Kam
Publication:Reviewer's Bookwatch
Article Type:Book review
Date:Apr 1, 2008
Previous Article:The Winter Rose.
Next Article:Bridie's Daughter: The Second Story in the Orphan Train Trilogy.

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