Book Spotlight: Discovery — The Orphan Train Saga, Book 1, by Sherry A. Burton
Book Title: Discovery
Series: The Orphan Train Saga, Book 1
Author: Sherry A. Burton
Publication Date: December 25, 2018
Publisher: Dorry Press
Print Length: 229 Pages
Genre: Historical Fiction
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.
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The children all groaned as the headmistress stepped forward once more and clapped her hands.
“What is it?” Mileta asked.
“Tis time to take our supper,” Mary whispered.
Mileta couldn’t believe her ears. “You mean we get to eat more than once?”
“Yes, and we will have a morning meal when we wake tomorrow. Tis all the same, and never enough, but they do feed us,” Mary said, falling into line and motioning her to follow.
Mileta trailed behind her friend, grimacing with each step. While she wanted to love her new shoes, it was difficult when her toes ached so. She took her tin tray and limped behind as Mary led the way to an open table.
Mary was right; supper was the same mush, along with a hunk of fresh bread, only this time, Mileta opted to forgo the prayer. What was the point of saying thanks for her food if, when she finished praying, there wasn’t any food for which to be thankful?
Mileta took a bite of her bread, instantly surprised at its freshness. For a moment, she wished for some honey to cover it with, then silently scolded herself for being so greedy. She wondered what her momma was having for supper and thought to save her some of her bread. Then, remembering what Mary had said about her not coming back, anger replaced the guilt. Then guilt returned the next instant, and suddenly, tears sprang to her eyes as she realized she didn’t know what she was supposed to feel. She was sad her mother wasn’t here but happy she had food in her belly when there were so many days when she’d had none. I will be thankful I am here so that I have food, she decided at last.
Out of the corner of her eye, she spied one of the older girls stealing a hunk of bread off a younger girl’s tray. Mileta hurriedly shoved the last of her bread into her mouth. The girl then noticed Mileta’s untouched mush and started towards her. In a panic, Mileta dipped her head, stuck out her tongue and licked the length of her mush. The girl wrinkled her nose in disgust and sought out another table.
“That was brilliant; whatever made you think of it?” Mary asked.
Mileta shrugged. “I am hungry, and I did not want her to eat my food.”
“We shall tell all the girls to lick their mush.” Mary giggled.
Papa would not be happy she was eating like a dog. Then again, Papa would not have left me here. She picked up her spoon and quickly shoveled the mush into her mouth before the girl decided to change her mind.
“You need to use the water closet,” Mary said as soon as both girls had finished their meal.
Mileta shook her head. “No, I do not.”
“Yes, you do, and I am going to show you how to get there. If anyone says anything, you tell them you do not remember where it is. Now come with me and act as if you really have to go bad.”
Mileta picked up her tray and followed Mary to the front of the room where one of the mistresses stood.
“I did not call for you to clear your table,” the woman said sternly.
“Oh, but Mileta has to use the water closet. Tis her first day and she does not yet know the rules. She didn’t go before we came in and will surely soil herself if she is not permitted to go,” Mary implored.
“Then she can go, but you stay here,” the woman relented.
“Oh, but as I said, she is new and does not remember the way,” Mary persisted.
The woman turned her attention to Mileta, who shook her head and shifted from foot to foot for good measure. She grimaced from the pain in her toes.
“I can see she has to go. Off with you two but mind your manners in the hallway, or you will see the strap,” the woman said with a wave of the hand.
“This way,” Mary said once the door closed behind them.
“But I thought the water closet was the other way,” Mileta questioned.
“We are not going to the water closet, but we must hurry,” Mary said, breaking into a run.
Mileta followed her down the hall, wincing as her toes rubbed against the front of her shoes. She hesitated when Mary opened the door to the washroom. She’d already been here once today, and the experience hadn’t been pleasant.
“We must hurry,” Mary repeated and pulled her inside, allowing the door to close behind them. “Don’t look so frightened; the mistresses are all in the kitchen helping with supper. Now quick, remove your shoes and give them to me.”
“Hurry,” Mary said when she hesitated.
Mileta took off the shoes, handed them to Mary, who raced into the other room. Seconds later, Mary reemerged and thrust the shoes at her.
Mileta sat on the floor and stuck her foot into the shoe, only then realizing Mary had switched them for a larger pair.
“They fit!” Mileta exclaimed.
“Good, now the other. Hurry!”
Mileta did as she told, then followed Mary to the door. The girls retraced their steps, except this time, they raced past the door to the dining hall. Mary slowed and turned back towards the hall. Mileta did the same, and both girls reached the doorway just as it was opened to allow the children to exit. Mary and Mileta waited for the last girl then fell in line behind them. This time, Mileta’s feet did not hurt.
Born in Kentucky, Sherry got her start in writing by pledging to write a happy ending to a good friend who was going through some really tough times. The story surprised her by taking over and practically writing itself. What started off as a way to make her friend smile started her on a journey that would forever change her life. Sherry readily admits to hearing voices and is convinced that being married to her best friend for thirty-eight plus years goes a long way in helping her write happily-ever-afters. Sherry is the author of The Orphan Train Saga novels, a planned eighteen book historical fiction saga that revolves around the historic orphan trains. Books in the saga include Discovery, Shameless, Treachery and Guardian. Loyal, the fifth in the saga, expected to release summer of 2021. Sherry resides in Michigan and spends most of her time writing from her home office, traveling to book signing events and giving lectures on the Orphan Trains.
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