Thursday, October 10, 2013

Forgetting Tabitha the Story of an Orphan Train Rider by Julie Dewey ~ Review & Giveaway

Genre: Historical Fiction
Publication Date: 3rd August 2013
Pages: 280
Book Source: Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours

Synopsis: Raised on a farm outside of West Chester County, Tabitha Salt, the daughter of Irish immigrants, leads a sheltered existence. When tragedy strikes the family, the ten year old 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, the Five Points is a chaotic slum. The women find work as laundresses, struggling every day to survive in their squalid living conditions.

When tragedy strikes again, Tabitha finds herself on the streets of New York City, alone. Summoning her courage and willing her legs that are numb with fear and grief to move, she takes to a life on the streets. Stealing food and running from the law, Tabitha dreams of the future.

During this time the Sisters of Charity were plucking orphans off the streets with promises of a new life. Children were told to forget their pasts, including their religious beliefs, families, and names. They were to become Christian and were given new identities, only then could they board the orphan trains. The orphan trains carried the destitute children out west in search of new homes. Siblings were often ripped apart and many didn’t find homes but became indentured workers in exchange for room and board. 

The looming decision would alter her life course; boarding the train meant leaving everything and everyone she knew behind. Vulnerable and afraid she made her decision.

My Thoughts:
Forgetting Tabitha is the story of impoverished and orphaned children in New York City and the impact of the Orphan Train movement on their lives. Not all were adopted into loving homes, some became little more than hired help or indentured servants. It's a graphic and enduring tale of survival and hope. 

Julie Dewey doesn't shy away from the harsh realities of the time. The squalor and despair for those who lived in the Five Points district assailed the senses, while the violence and often tragic outcomes were difficult to read. 

The characters, especially 10 year old Tabitha, (Mary) Scotty and Gert wormed their way into my heart, children who've seen and suffered so much, old before their time. Their story is heartbreaking and sadly, real but I cheered their resilience and each hard-won triumph.

This my 3rd book featuring the Orphan Train movement at its core, so naturally my reading experience was coloured by the two previously read, brilliant books, my favourite being My Notorious Life by Kate Manning. For me, Forgetting Tabitha was a good read but it didn't reach superb heights.  

That said that I'm keen to see what Julie Dewey delivers next :)

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1 copy of Forgetting Tabitha the Story of an Orphan Train Rider by Julie Dewey and good news it's International!!

To enter leave a relevant comment or question for Julie

Extra Entries: 
+ 2 tweet giveaway and leave a link

Giveaway ends 24th October and the winner will be drawn via and announced on my blog. Good luck everyone!


  1. I've heard about the orphan trains, but have yet to read a HF novel about them. I'm afraid it will be one of those that is interesting, but distressing, and one that I need to read. Thanks for the giveaway.

  2. I have read about Orphan Trains which were a big part of history. Unfortunately the detrimental effects were extreme. Reading this novel would be compelling and fascinating. Thanks for the giveaway. saubleb(at)gmail(dot)com

  3. Awful, I mean it was good that they wanted to give them new lives, but at what cost?

  4. I would like to read this novel since I enjoy realistic history which is important and a part of the past. It is meaningful and heartfelt. many thanks. elliotbencan(at)hotmail(dot)com

  5. I read Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline and would like to read more about this period of our history.

    Also tweeted -

    funmail07 at gmail dot com

  6. I read a real saga about the orphan trains and was very interested in the story. I'd like to read this as well. Thanks for making it open to all. Much appreciated.

  7. I like the sound of these books. Orphan trains are something I hadn't heard of til the recent spate of books about that period in history. Interesting.

  8. Hi Julie, the research must have been fascinating & heart breaking I'd say.

  9. So many children have endured similar circumstances for different reasons., throughout history, in different locations all over the world. Thank you for the giveaway. I tweeted.5:51 PM - 12 Oct 13 · Details

  10. This comment has been removed by the author.

  11. An Interesting plot. Will reveal the truth about people who claim to help the ignored and looked upon sect of the society hiding behind the mask of charity and philanthropy.
    I would like to ask the author: where did you get the inspiration or what moved you to write this book? And do you think this book would open the eyes of people and would induce them to think twice about people who do charity, the so-called "philanthropists"?
    Thanks for the Giveaway, by the way.
    Please inform me of any development here:
    And I would love to share about this giveaway with others, so I tweeted:

    1. Please inform me about anything on this Id only:

  12. I've heard about the orphan trains before and the kids who rode them. Some are happy stories and some not so much. This sounds like a thoughtful treatment of the subject in fiction. I'd like to read it. Thanks.

  13. I also tweeted a link to this post to my followers:

  14. Wow...this sounds like a very interesting book. I read Orphan Train by Christine Baker Kline and have been looking for other books that touch on the topic. You mentioned you read 2 other books, but only listed one (which I am also adding to my tbr list) - what was the other one?

    Thanks for this giveaway opportunity!
    ~Kristin @ Always With a Book

  15. I also tweeted this:

  16. I read and loved Orphan Train last year...and I am always eager to read more about children who have been abandoned...especially when something (or someone) turns their lives around.

  17. This year is the first time I ever heard about the orphan train when I too read Orphan Train by Christine Baker Kline. It made me do a little research online. I saw they have a museum type place in Little Falls Minnesota. Wish I knew that when I visited there. I wonder what led Julie to write this story?


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