Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Guest Post: Orphan Trains by Julie Dewey

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Thanks so much for having me at Flashlight Commentary, it’s a pleasure to be here.

My book, ‘Forgetting Tabitha; the Story of an Orphan Train Rider’, explores what it was like to be an orphan living in the Five Points District of New York City in the 19th century.  Tabitha, the heroine, is a spunky young ten year old girl who was raised by Irish Immigrants until tragedy strikes and leaves her alone to navigate the tumultuous city streets. 

We follow Tabitha on her heart breaking journey and meet many other orphans along the way.  The common factor between the children being the will to survive.  

Orphan trains took the indigent off the city streets and transported them via railway in all directions west in hopes of finding stable homes or work.   Children were given new identities along with bibles that would help them become Christian.  They were to forget their pasts as they boarded the trains and never look back.

What makes this story so remarkable is that it really happened and few people are aware of this time in our history.  I wonder why it isn’t studied in history class as I feel it would be a fabulous addition to the curriculum.   The construction of the rail road itself proved as interesting as the study of Reverend Brace, the gentleman who developed the idea of orphan trains.  As a result of his progressive thinking we now have our modern day foster care system.

I thank you all for taking the time to learn more about Tabitha, Scotty, Edmund, Gert, and Sonya, all characters in my book who rode the orphan train.

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About the Author: Julie Dewey is a novelist who resides with her family in Central New York. Her daughter is a singer/songwriter, and her son is a boxer. Her husband is an all-around hard working, fantastic guy with gorgeous blue eyes that had her falling for him the moment they met. In addition to researching and writing she is an avid reader. She is also passionate about jewelry design and gemstones. She loves anything creative, whether it be knitting, stamping, scrapping, decoupaging, working with metal, or decorating. Visit her website to get your reading guide for this book and to read an excerpt from her second novel, One Thousand Porches.

About the Book: 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.

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Check out all the stops on Julie Dewey's Forgetting tabitha virtual book tour

Monday, October 7
Review at Flashlight Commentary
Tuesday, October 8
Review & Giveaway at Peeking Between the Pages
Guest Post at Flashlight Commentary
Wednesday, October 9
Review at West Metro Mommy
Interview & Giveaway at Passages to the Past
Thursday, October 10
Review at A Bookish Affair
Review at CelticLady’s Reviews
Review & Giveaway at The Eclectic Reader
Friday, October 11
Guest Post & Giveaway at A Bookish Affair

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