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Bridie's daughter

by Robert Noonan

  Print book : Fiction

Historical Fiction Highlighting Plight of Orphan Children!   (2009-04-08)


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by GABixler

Bridie’s Daughter: Second in A Trilogy

Robert Noonan’s second book in his trilogy has just been released!  Bridie’s Daughter follows Wildflowers and if you haven’t yet read it, I highly recommend it to you. These books are a taste of Americana that you don’t want to miss! 

The “orphan trains” moved across the country from 1854 to 1929. Reverend Charles Loring Brace was shocked in 1850 when he learned of and saw 10,000 homeless children prowling the streets of New York City. He founded a Society through which many of these desperate children were sent west to begin new lives.  

And so another trip was planned; the orphan train would carry 37 children under the age of 15. They were optimistic that all of the children might find homes this time since other trips had carried as many as 150 orphans.  The children came from many different places but they were able to meet and make new friends during the train trip. They would ride two days to their first destination in Illinois. Two of the older children were immediately attracted to each other; Catherine and Brian easily found a way to meet and shared many hours together during their trip.  Monica and Jason were their respective friends and they all speculated about what kind of homes they might find.  Brian and Jason had been living on the streets, but Brian shared that he had dreams of becoming an engineer if he ever had a chance to go to school.  In each seat on the train, whispers and dreams and fears were shared as children turned to others who could share their feelings. 

Bridie McDonald was already waiting at the Newberry, Illinois train station as it rolled in.  Her dear friends, Margaret and Tom Holmgren, who were hoping to find a boy to call their son, soon joined her.  Bridie wanted a daughter and she would know her when she saw her.  Indeed, that is exactly what happened and she moved quickly toward the young girl, Catherine, who was already deep in conversation with a couple.  Deciding it was only fair to let the young girl choose, the couple and then Bridie quickly shared with Catherine why they would like to have her come lives with them.  But Birdie had inside information—she had noticed the apparent relationship between Catherine and Brian and quickly highlighted that her good friends had asked Brian to come to live with them and that they lived only two streets away. How could Catherine fail to choose Bridie as she stood there with twinkling eyes? 

The heartwarming stories of these new families will pull readers into each life—those of the children and those of the new parents.  However, there in Newberry, one of the orphans, Monica, Catherine’s friend, did not find the happiness found by others.  Her story is one that also occasionally happened to those riding the trains. She was finally forced to leave the family that had adopted her, but she was smart enough and brave enough to find another life for herself; her story just might be the most gripping tale you’ll read!  You’ll also meet Pina, a young girl who had worked in the Alton Mill and had been a friend of Hillary in Wildflowers.  Finally, you’ll also find out what has happened to Hillary during the last year! 

The orphans’ saga leading to new lives with new families is one that you will always remember.  I’ve found the stories very similar to the series “Little House on the Prairie,” based on the books by Laura Ingalls Wilder that were set in the 1870-80s.  So if you’ve enjoyed this family-oriented program centered on the Ingalls children or Wilder’s books, you will indeed agree with me that Noonan’s Trilogy is a Must-Read!   

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