Title: My Heart Remembers
Author: Kim Vogel Sawyer (Narrated by Heather O’Neill)
Series: My Heart Remembers #1
Genre: Historical Fiction
Publishing Date: March 1st 2014 by Recorded Books, Inc. (first published March 1st 2008)
(My) Format: Audiobook
About the Book:
Kim Vogel Sawyer, ACF Book of the Year winner for Waiting for Summer’s Return, delivers historically rich tales with unforgettable characters. After an 1886 fire kills their parents, three children are split up. Keeping her parents’ love letters, Maelle entrusts the family’s picture to Mattie and its Bible to Molly. And, in a tearful parting, eight-year-old Maelle’s vows to one day find her younger siblings. “Interesting historical detail . A good family read.”-Library Journal
This was a remarkable story of the strong will of three siblings separated as youngsters, fighting to find one another in the late 1800’s. As if it wasn’t enough for them to lose their parents in a horrible house fire, they are then sent off on the orphan trains to find new families. Little did they know that they had no choice in even being able to stay with one another. With exception to Molly because she was too young to remember, the siblings endure through hardships with the hope of one day finding each other again.
I’ve recently found myself reading several stories that are set around the backdrop of the orphan trains, and each one of them really seems to capture my emotions. The upheaval that the children face is certainly far different than it would be handled today. Nowadays more effort is made to keep siblings together or at least allow them to have visitation with one another in the event of a separation. Back during the times of the orphan trains, siblings were often separated by up to hundreds of miles never to see each other again. It’s truly heartbreaking to consider.
The fight for child labor laws is a strong presence throughout the pages. The realization that education is able to open doors for children’s futures is a driving force to get them out of the workforce and into the schoolrooms. Unable to fight for themselves, it’s the responsibility of adults to fight for the rights and freedoms of children.
I really enjoyed this story. I listened to the audio version of this, and really liked the narrator’s voice. It was read in a soft Irish accent and she did a great job of altering her voice for each of the characters. I’d recommend this story to historical fiction fans especially those interested in the orphan trains and development of child labor laws.
*PLEASE NOTE: This section may contain mild spoilers but I do my best to reveal the difficult and/or triggering content without giving away the story
Overall I’d consider this a clean read. As is shared in the description, the kids are orphaned after a house fire. There is also some physical child abuse that is briefly discussed later in the story.