Bridie’s Daughter, Secrets
Orphan Train Trilogy History by Robert Noonan History of 1800s N.Y. Children
Review by Sharlet Liebel
Readers follow the lives of the children in Robert Noonan’s Orphan Train Trilogy: Wildflowers, Bridie’s Daughter, and Secrets.
If you are a John Steinbeck (The Grapes of Wrath, Of Mice and Men), Irving Stone (The Agony and the Ecstasy about Michelangelo), and James Michener (Hawaii) fan, you will be amazed at the saga of 200,000 orphaned American children during the years 1854 to 1929.
The plight of the children impassions the research and dedication to the orphans’ stories as fictionalized by Robert Noonan. His research follows a path through archives and documents for exact details. The results of his intrigue lead Noonan to write three books, A Trilogy. He weaves tales of disadvantaged children from the streets of New York who board trains to travel West to meet adoptive parents.
The stories are written about destitute families who give-up their children to blind-adoptions that send them on so-called Orphan Trains. The children adapt to whatever fate awaits them. Some children are fortunate and some are not.
Noonan embarks on a historical train-ride that reveals hand-written letters by numerous children trying to keep in touch with friends, family, and their patron pastor who founded a social network for their adoptions. Subsequently, the untold histories beg to be told and Robert Noonan devotes the necessary gift of storytelling to accomplish the task. In this endeavor, he sets aside all distractions to live in near isolation in the wooded cabin he calls home.