You Belong Here Now

Morrow. Apr. 2021. 368p. ISBN 9780063027893. pap. $16.99. F
DEBUT A century ago, New York City swept up its lost children and sent them out of state to work for their keep as foster kids. In 1925, one train’s trip is to end in Billings, MT, but three kids jump off early to hide their NYC past. They are given shelter and work at the Stewart ranch. Charles is big for his age, so he can work hard, but he has a temper. Patrick is weedy but a gifted horse wrangler. Eight-year-old Opal, scarred and silent, helps the homestead’s matriarch. Slowly, the children earn the affection of all, even Nara, the brusque spinster daughter. But the equilibrium slips, and each child faces disaster that not even the powerful Papa Stewart can avert.
VERDICT This intricately plotted, deeply researched debut ranks among the best of the “Orphan Train”–themed novels and polishes the Western novel to a new radiance. Picture Charles Dickens on an Appaloosa for a fusion of two classic genres.
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