Raised on a farm, Tabitha Salt, the daughter of Irish immigrants, leads a bucolic and sheltered existence. When tragedy strikes the family, Tabitha and her mother are forced to move to the notorious Five Points District in New York City, known for its brothels, gangs, gambling halls, corrupt politicians and thieves. As they struggle to survive in their new living conditions, tragedy strikes again. Young Tabitha resorts to life alone on the streets of New York, dreaming of a happier future.
The Sisters of Charity are taking orphans off the streets with promises of a new life. Children are to forget their pasts, their religious beliefs, families and names. They offer Tabitha a choice: stay in Five Points or board the orphan train and go West in search of a new life.
The harrowing journey and the decision to leave everything behind launches Tabitha on a path from which she can never return.
I have read several fictional accounts of the orphan trains all from Christian writers and my enjoyment of them led me to "purchase" this book when the kindle edition was offered for free on Amazon. I'm glad I read it. This was more raw and a bit rougher than the Christian versions but that also makes it more realistic.
These kids had a tough lot and absolutely nothing about their lives was sweet and simple. In that regard, the plight of orphans or unwanted children today is not really much different. I believe that is why these books call out to me. I am an adoptive mom of four special needs children brought to our family through the state foster care system. I see myself in Pap as I struggle sometimes to identify with who my children really are as they are somewhat foreign to me but in the end I pray that my children see me more like Edna...proud to be their mom and loving who they are.
books by Julie Dewey
Julie Dewey is a novelist residing in Central New York with her family. Julie selects book topics that are little known nuggets of U.S. history and sheds light on them so that the reader not only gets an intriguing story-line but learns a little something too.
Her works include Forgetting Tabitha: the Story of an Orphan Train Rider, The Back Building, One Thousand Porches, The Other Side of the Fence, and Cat (the Livin' Large Series). To follow Julie visit www.juliedewey.com and sign up to get regular updates and reading guides.