Orphan Train

Orphan Train

Margaret (“Maisie”) Character Analysis

Maisie is Vivian/Niamh’s biological little sister. She is conceived during the voyage to America and born in New York in 1927. As a child, Niamh is responsible for taking care of her little sister and forms a strong bond with her. In 1929, a house fire kills her father and brothers. The family’s neighbors, the Schatzmans, lie to Niamh and tell her that the fire killed Maisie, too—but they actually adopt her and raise her as their daughter. Maisie moves to upstate New York, marries and has children and grandchildren. She dies just months before Vivian discovers that she survived the fire. Unlike Vivian/Niamh, Maisie has blonde hair.
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Margaret (“Maisie”) Character Timeline in Orphan Train

The timeline below shows where the character Margaret (“Maisie”) appears in Orphan Train. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 3: New York City, 1929
Belonging and Connection Theme Icon
Safety and Survival Theme Icon
Trauma and Loss Theme Icon
Hope and Skepticism Theme Icon
...she was nine years old. She stayed awake soothing the cries of her 18-month-old sister, Maisie, while her twin 6-year-old brothers, Dominick and James, slept nearby on a pallet. The narrator... (full context)
Chapter 4: New York City, 1929
Belonging and Connection Theme Icon
Safety and Survival Theme Icon
Trauma and Loss Theme Icon
...he explains her mother “isn’t coming back.” Mr. Schatzman also says that the narrator’s sister, Maisie, “didn’t make it.” The girl is grief-stricken. The night before, she was stung to hear... (full context)
Belonging and Connection Theme Icon
Safety and Survival Theme Icon
Trauma and Loss Theme Icon
Secrets, Reality, and Illusions Theme Icon
Hope and Skepticism Theme Icon
...and family in Kinvara. Caring for Carmine both comforts and pains her, reminding her of Maisie. She thinks of other, larger immigrant families in her New York tenement, and wonders if... (full context)
Chapter 23: Hemingford County, Minnesota, 1930
Safety and Survival Theme Icon
Trauma and Loss Theme Icon
...won’t be responsible for delivering the baby. She remembers her neighbors helping her mother deliver Maisie while she watched the younger children. Soon winter arrives, and when the snow comes, it... (full context)
Chapter 27: Spruce Harbor, Maine, 2011
Belonging and Connection Theme Icon
Trauma and Loss Theme Icon
Secrets, Reality, and Illusions Theme Icon
...and discovers that in 1929 they adopted a daughter, Margaret. Molly realizes the daughter was Maisie. With further research, she discovers that Maisie lived in upstate New York, had several children... (full context)
Chapter 33: Spruce Harbor, Maine
Belonging and Connection Theme Icon
Self and Identity Theme Icon
Safety and Survival Theme Icon
Trauma and Loss Theme Icon
Secrets, Reality, and Illusions Theme Icon
...but Molly responds that it “hasn’t felt like punishment.” Feeling burdened by the secret about Maisie, Molly then carefully tells Vivian her discovery. She shows her the photo of Maisie online,... (full context)