This novel tells the story of Vivian, a young Irish migrant girl, orphaned when her parents and siblings died in a fire in New York in 1929. At the age of nine she is put on the orphan train and travels to an uncertain and unknown future in Minnesota. Some ninety years later she is in Maine, now very elderly but still very sharp, living in a house full of memories. Into her life comes Molly, a teenage girl of native Indian descent. Molly has had a pretty rough road so far too, and as part of a community sentence she finds herself helping Vivian clean out her attic. Vivian's story slowly unfolds, and as the relationship between the old lady and the troubled Molly grows, Molly herself changes and grows, finding her own internal strengths and resilience.
It is a marvellous story, beautifully told, with a number of twists and surprises in it. The beauty and strength of this story lies in what the true meaning of family is, the relationships we form, the kindness of those around us, and how these truly define and cement our place in the world. Wonderful reading. Warning - have tissues handy.