Renée Wendinger—Last Train Home

Renée Wendinger's "Last Train Home" is a Dickensian novella about cultural identity and family history set during the nineteenth century, at a time when America received an enormous influx of immigrants, and a quarter of a million children were sent west from East Coast cities by orphan train. Would they be adopted by kind and loving families, or would they face a childhood and adolescence of hard labor and servitude? The narrative highlights a little known, but historically significant moment in our country’s past by tracing the individual journeys of two children, Johnny and Sophia, by weaving individual stories into triumph over tribulation and character of incredible reserve.

About the Author

Renée Wendinger is from southern Minnesota and is the youngest of five children. Her mother, Sophia (Kaminsky) Hillesheim, 1917 orphan train rider, was one of the children of the orphan trains taking part in a phenomenal journey from New York City to the Midwest. As an avid historian, Renée has researched the epoch of the largest mass migration of children to occur in American history for decades. Inspired by her mother, Renée's orphan train books, "Extra! Extra! The Orphan Trains and Newsboys of New York," and "Last Train Home, an orphan train story," embrace authoritive research with compelling stories from the people who “made history” aboard the orphan trains of New York.