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Monday, June 1, 2009

Once An Outcast by Jane Toombs

Once An Outcast: The Orphan Train Series by Jane Toombs
Publisher: Champagne Books
Genre: Historical
Length: Full (205 pages)
Heat: Sensual
Rating: 5 Books
Reviewed by Sunflower

When beautiful half-gypsy Jehenna Scovia is thrust aboard an orphan train by a man employed by her father, she knows she’s an outcast. Nathan Cohen, hired by her father to find her and bring her home, believes she’s a runaway. She’s good at eluding him, but he’s even better at finding her. Each time they connect, the spark between them scares them both. What will happen when it bursts into flame?

Between 1854 and 1929 an estimated 200,000 children who were either orphaned, abandoned or homeless and living on the streets of New York, were placed on a train and transferred to all forty-seven states and Canada. This is the story of Jehenna Scovia and Nathan Cohen who has been hired to find her and return her home.

This is the final book of the Orphan Train series and, although fiction, could have been the story of any one of the thousands of children placed on the Orphan Train to become an outcast.

Jehenna Scovia is placed on the orphan train believing that her father no longer wants her around. Losing her mother was hard enough on her, now she is also losing her father. She already knows that she is an outcast, since she's half-Gypsy. In a short time she has lost two homes, her mother and now her father.

And it seems that every time things seem to be getting better for her, something happens and she has to escape from another predicament.

Nathen, who has been hired by her father, finally finds her, but needs to try and convince her that her father did not have her placed on the train. Can she trust him? Can she believe him? Her Gypsy grandmother taught her from a young age to be self-sufficient and if need be she can make it on her own.

Jane Toombs has written a most powerful conclusion to this series, from the meeting of the five girls from the earlier books of the series to their pact at the end. This is just not a story of the train. It's about self fortitude and survival, from the people who had little but was willing to share. We can see just a little of what it was like to live in that day and age. Women who had to stay home all winter while their husbands logged, trying to raise a family in the cold of the Michigan winters. These are the very people who helped shape our nation today.

This is a series that will find a place on my bookshelf to be read and re-read, and I would recommend this to anyone who loves to read historical novels. All six books would make a great made-for-TV series.