FOR LOVERS OF HISTORICAL ADVENTURE, A FAMILY APART IS THE MIDDLE-GRADE ANSWER TO CHRISTINA BAKER KLINE'S NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLING ORPHAN TRAIN.
Imagine being taken from your home. Imagine your mother is the one who lets it happen.
This is the fate that befalls the Kelly children. It’s 1856, and their widowed mother has sent them west from New York City because she’s convinced that she can’t give them the life they deserve.
The Kellys board an “orphan train” and are taken to St. Joseph, Missouri, where their problems only grow worse. It was bad enough that they had to say goodbye to their mother, but now they’re forced to part ways with their fellow siblings as well. Thirteen-year-old Frances won’t stand for it. She’s going to protect her brothers and sisters, even if it means dressing up like a boy and putting herself in danger.
Will Frances be able to save her siblings? And what about her mom—was splitting up their family really her greatest act of love? Ride the rails with Frances and her siblings to find out!
“This is as close to a perfect book as you’ll buy this year.” –VOYA
This first book of the Orphan Train Quartet tells the story of Frances Mary, 13, eldest of the six Kelly children. Life in New York's grim 19th century slums consists of hardship for the poor but honest Kelly clan. When widowed Mrs. Kelly feels that she is no longer capable of providing for her children, she sends them west on the Orphan Train, to be adopted by farm families. Frances masquerades as a boy in order to be adopted with Petey, the brother she promised her mother she would protect. The practical difficulties Frances faces in maintaining this disguise are handled in an amusing and thoughtful manner. Since Frances and Petey are adopted by a couple with strong abolitionist sympathies, it should come as no surprise that Frances, just days after her arrival on the farm, finds herself helping two runaway slaves on the Underground Railroad. Though the plot is predictable and sometimes overly sentimental, and the Kelly family lapses into stilted Irish syntax, the rapid succession of high-spirited adventures make for lively reading. Ages 10-up.
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Every second of every day