A Mother’s Song: A Story of the Orphan Train


“I was gripped from the first by the story – the mother’s plight, the desperation, the historical details richly woven into the story. I hadn’t heard of the Orphan Train; what a thought – to send your children into an unknown.” – Amazon review

In 1890, Deirdre O’Sullivan lives in Five Points, New York City with her husband, son and four year old, Ava Rose. Pregnant with their third child, Deirdre works as a washerwoman at the hotel’s laundry. If Sean works at all, he drinks his paycheck at the pub. When he is killed in an accident at work, Deirdre is devastated.

She gives birth to another son, but cannot work at the laundry. The oldest son lives on the street as a newsie. Rather than let Ava Rose and her baby brother starve to death with her, she signs for them to be put on an orphan train. This orphan train takes these youngsters to Nebraska to Claudine, a young woman who has suffered multiple miscarriages.

Will the adoption provide the safety and opportunity that Deirdre hopes?

This researched story of two mothers and the child who loves both is heart wrenching. It is a poignant tale of hope and courage against unfathomable odds for a better life free from prejudice and poverty.