Riding the Rails to Home: A Newsie Rides the Orphan Train
Stephen Reily finds relief from living on the streets. He gets a job as a newsie, selling newspapers during the day and living at the Newsboys’ Boarding House. Sleeping on a cot, eating a hot meal, and attending classes at night help Stephen to survive. But his heart longs for a home, a place to belong. But who would adopt a street kid from Five Points, New York City in the late 1800’s?
Selected to ride the orphan train, Stephen encounters difficult circumstances until he is chosen to live on a farm in Nebraska. Through the patience of the couple who foster Stephen, he faces his fears. He struggles with forgiveness and faith in a God who he cannot see. Only a quilt square reminds Stephen of his dying mother and sister, who was sent to an orphanage. How will the women of the town use this scrap of fabric to comfort Stephen? Can a cast-off child find a home? A place to belong?
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Addy Meyer wants to teach children in a one room school house in Colorado during the 1930’s Dust Bowl. Black Blizzards, the Board of Education, and bank president overwhelm her. Addy falls in love with the orphans her grandfather adopted, and her students, but vows to guard her heart against Jess Dettmann, who has a suspicious past. Foreclosure on grandpa’s homestead threatens the security of all of them. Creating a quilt from Grandma’s stash pile serves as a way for Addy to cope, but eventually leads to help and justice for her family. Despair, dust and drought weave through the Great Depression and Dust Bowl producing a fabric on which vivid threads of hope appear. Will Addy save the farm, her job, and her heart on the Colorado ranch?
“I love you, Ava Rose,” she whispered.
“I love you enough to give you life.”
All Irish immigrant Deirdre O’Sullivan has ever wanted is a home and a family. But her dreams didn’t include living in a cramped tenement in Five Points, New York, with the disillusioned love of her life. Nor could she have imagined that, each day, she’d be torn away from her children to work for low wages in the steamy laundry of a hotel just to survive. Then tragedy strikes twice, and Deirdre struggles with the ultimate act of love—to give her children the chance to live and blossom…without her.
When Nebraska homesteaders Sam and Claudine Thompson lose their third baby, she retreats into hopelessness, convinced that the secrets of her past won’t ever allow her to be a mother. Then one day the orphan train rolls into town. Claudine insists, “A baby is out there crying. And he’s crying for me,” and hurries toward the railroad station.
Strawberry-blond-haired Ava Rose, four years old, waits on the railroad platform, watching over her fragile baby brother and clinging to hope. Neither has any idea they’ll not only fulfill the deepest longings of two mothers, but will also kick off legacies of hope for numerous others who live with poverty and prejudice.
A poignant tale of hope and courage amidst unfathomable odds.