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BOOK REVIEW - "Discovery" (The Orphan Train Series) by Sherry A. Burton

Sherry A. Burton is the author of The Orphan Train Saga novels, a planned eighteen book historical fiction saga that revolves around the Orphan Trains. Books in the saga include Discovery, Shameless, and Treachery. Guardian-the fourth book in the saga. Loyal, book five coming in 2021.

Ezra's Story, the first in Sherry's 'Orphan Train Extras' collection, is now available for preorder.

Sherry's fiction titles include Tears of Betrayal, Love in the Bluegrass, Seems Like Yesterday, The King of My Heart, Somewhere in My Dreams, Surviving the Storm, and Always Faithful, a Jerry McNeal Novella.

Born in Kentucky, Sherry and her Retired Navy Veteran husband live in Michigan's thumb. When not in the writing chair, Sherry travels the country doing book signings and giving lectures on the orphan trains


While most use their summer breaks for pleasure, third grade teacher Cindy Moore is using her summer vacation to tie up some loose ends concerning her grandmother’s estate.

When Cindy enters the storage unit that holds her grandmother’s belongings, she is merely looking for items she can sell to recoup some of the rental fees she’s spent paying for the unit.

Instead, what she finds are secrets her grandmother has taken to the grave with her. The more Cindy uncovers, the more she wants to know. Why was her grandmother abandoned by her own mother? Why hadn’t she told Cindy she’d lived in an orphanage? And how come her grandmother never mentioned she’d made history as one of the children who rode the Orphan Trains?

Join Cindy as she uncovers her grandmother’s hidden past and discovers the life that stole her grandmother’s love.



Discovery, the first book in The Orphan Train series, grabs you from the very moment Cindy Moore opens the storage shed containing her grandmother’s possessions. You are there, with her, every step of the way, rummaging through the memories and dust, anxious to find a treasure or skeleton hidden away. The stage is set and offers the reader a story of real family life – of buried secrets we all know families keep and take to their grave. The one Cindy’s grandmother, Mildred, kept reveals itself in a most unusual way. There is a doll, a pinned note, a key, and journals in an attic room. But what these inanimate objects reveal is the heart of an abandoned little girl, a rider on the Orphan Trains of the 1920s, whose hard-knock life leads to a closed-off woman afraid of sharing her feelings and her secrets with her family. I think we all know someone like that, which makes this book so satisfying and real, a book that tugs at your heart.

The history of the Orphan Trains, a new historical tidbit to me, kept me intrigued and I read the entire story in one sitting; and the transition from the modern-day to the past wove together without creating any sort of abruptness or confusion.

I think, ultimately, this is a book about survival under the most trying circumstances and how “life” creates the person we become. Sometimes we harden ourselves, and sometimes we soften, and more often than not, we learn from others.

Mildred is all our grandmothers pieced together into a quilt, dealing with a time in history we cannot imagine, but her experience helps not only Cindy but all of us see beyond our circumstances towards hope. I wished for more about Mildred in the story, about her history in Poland, as I imagined her speaking and thought of my own grandmother. The way Sherry A. Burton relays Mildred’s story left me curious about the complete lack of emotions at some extremely critical times, times you might expect a flood, and other times when the abundance appeared unwarranted. Thus, the skill and complexity the author shows in the fragility of human nature, especially growing up as a confused orphan.

The story is extremely well-written and highly recommended. Thank goodness there are more in this series!

DISCOVERY is the recipient of the "Highly Recommended" award for the best in historical fiction and now entered into the HFC 2021 Book of the Year awards.


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