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Publisher Description

LAST TRAIN HOME, an orphan train story, is a Dickensian novella about cultural identity and family history set during the nineteenth century at a time when America received an enormous influx of immigrants, and a quarter of a million children whose fates would be determined by pure luck were sent west from East Coast cities by orphan train. Would they be adopted by kind and loving families, or would they face a childhood and adolescence of hard labor and servitude?
The narrative highlights a little known, but historically significant moment in our country’s past by tracing the individual journeys of two children, Johnny and Sophia, bringing about the distinction between the “placing out” of these children to find families and homes. History, culture, and geography celebrate the survival of these children, by weaving individual stories into triumph over tribulation building strength of mind and character into an incredible reserve.
Johnny’s story tells the journey of a young boy making his way from Europe to America as a victim under the padroni system, to an American immigration process. Finally Johnny’s life on the streets of New York lands him in an orphanage with others like himself, until he is dispatched West aboard an orphan train through the New York Children’s Aid Society.
Sophia’s fascinating chronicle tells how a child becomes a victim of circumstance at the New York Foundling, followed by her journey aboard an orphan train yearning for acceptance and her journey to find it all. A heart-wrenching Cinderella story gives way to chance, abuse, and resilience of mind as Sophia’s survival is celebrated by way of individual expressions of love, living by love, and giving of it generously.
Author, Renée Wendinger (Extra! Extra! The Orphan Trains and Newsboys of New York), is an eminent orphan train historian, and an honored essayist supporting historical prose. She has researched the epoch of the orphan trains for decades. She is the honorary president of Orphan Train Riders of New York, and an established sought after public speaker on the subject of the orphan trains. Her protagonist, Sophia, in Last Train Home, an orphan train story, happens to be the author’s mother, substantiating first hand information. Johnny, a lead character in the story, exposes his life through chronicles of hand written journals owing to Wendinger’s authentic orphan train knowledge, research, and quality assurance from Johnny's family, John, Clarice and Sam.

Fiction & Literature
March 3
Renee Wendinger
Smashwords, Inc.