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Hearts on the Rails Books In Order

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Publication Order of Hearts on the Rails Books

Orphan Train Escape (2018)Description / Buy at Amazon
Orphan Train Trials (2018)Description / Buy at Amazon
Orphan Train Christmas (2018)Description / Buy at Amazon
Orphan Train Tragedy (2019)Description / Buy at Amazon
Orphan Train Strike (2020)Description / Buy at Amazon
Orphan Train Disaster (2020)Description / Buy at Amazon
Orphan Train Memories (2023)Description / Buy at Amazon

Hearts on the Rails Series
Hearts on the Rails Series is a historical fiction series by Rachel Wesson. This series takes you back to the civil war era when Orphan Trains were the norm. In these trains, orphans were transported from New York to the west, where they were often sold to the highest bidder. There was no way of telling what kind of life these orphans would lead in their new homes. Some were fortunate to find loving parents, while others were expected to do all sorts of filthy jobs. The train rides from the city were quite adventurous, and there were many lessons to pick along the way.

Orphan Train Escape
Orphan Train Escape is the debut novel in the Hearts on the Rails series. The book introduces Bridget Collins, a woman in desperate need of a change. Bridget needs to move from New York, and the fact that she has two siblings under her care doesn’t make things any easier. However, she knows that staying longer after attacking her evil boss could come with dire consequences. Bridget is fortunate to get a gig as an agent in the orphan trains, thanks to her priest. These trains running from New York to the west transported orphans to their new homes. On her maiden trip, Bridget has close to forty orphans to take care of. Can this young lady adequately take care of all these young children throughout the journey?

Carl Watson, a more skilled outplacement agent, is there to help Bridget. However, with enough personal issues to deal with, he is no much help with the orphans. These children are dealing with a lot of pain, and taking care of them at times gets overwhelming. Through laughter, tears, and everything in between, everyone on the orphan train learns something about life, love, and loyalty. Bridget also discovers a new calling. Her belief that the children deserve happy homes will see her going to extra lengths to ensure that the orphans are placed in good families. Is this going to be easy? The answer is no, but as you will see in the story, Bridget is no quitter.

This is an intriguing story set in America just before the start of the civil war. Through this story, you get to know how children found themselves inside the trains and how their lives turned out. While the efforts were primarily well-intended, things sometimes ended badly. The story has a strong Christian faith element and a protagonist who remains hopeful even in challenging times. It is admirable how Bridget is determined to ease the children’s pain and ensure they enjoy living in their new homes. The rest of the cast is developed well enough to keep you reading and curious to see how their lives turn out.
Orphan Train Escape is a heartbreaking and inspiring story. The way the author describes the children’s auctions will leave you with tears in your eyes, and Bridget’s plight doesn’t make things any easier. However, your heart will swell with joy when you see Bridget and her partner take action to ensure the orphans’ comfort. These two souls already had enough personal problems to handle, yet they were concerned about the orphans’ wellbeing. The author has adequately covered a difficult period in American history. A romance element helps lighten the mood and bring some happiness in a rather heartbreaking story.

Orphan Train Trials
Orphan Train Trials comes second in the Hearts on the Rains series. The book takes us deeper into the Collins family and their experiences in the orphan trains. In this story, we get to hear from Kathleen Collins and Bella Jones. These two women are closer than sisters, and they would want things to remain this way. However, fate has something different for them. When Kathleen’s brothers go missing after traveling on the Orphan train, this young woman is forced to go looking for them. Kathleen has a bad feeling about her brother’s disappearance, and she is determined to find them. Is she prepared for what awaits her? Will Kathleen be reunited with her brothers?

Eileen and Megan are twins who feel like they have lost too much already. True, life has not been kind to them, but there is always hope of a better tomorrow. Bella will not let these two sisters on the Orphan train alone. Despite her fears, Bella decides to accompany these two girls on the Orphan train. She knows that in her absence, there is a high chance that Megan and Eileen will be abused. Will Bella manage to keep her sister safe throughout the trip? What will happen when the girls meet their adoptive families? Follow Bella and Catherine throughout their journeys to find out.

In this book, Kathleen and Bella will be tested in ways they never thought possible. The author also lets us on the children’s lives and what happens to them after adoption. Some are placed in loving homes, but others are not as lucky. Some are beaten, starved, and hosted in barns and other deplorable conditions. Others are denied medical care leading to deaths out of treatable illnesses. Young boys are forced into cattle rustling, a serious crime whose punishment is hanging. Their fathers and their friends molest some young girls. Thankfully, those who grow in loving homes become productive citizens who leave a positive mark in other people’s lives.

Orphan Train Trials is another wonderful story focusing on the Collins family. The story draws you in from the first page and holds your attention to the end. In this story, you will be following Kathleen as she searches for the Collins brothers and Bella, who is traveling with the twins on the Orphan Train. There are parts that will pull at your heartstrings, but you will be glad to see that the story ends on such a happy note. Despite all the crooked people that these two girls interact with, it is amazing that they also find some good people who positively impact their lives.

Book Series In Order » Characters » Hearts on the Rails

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