Wilma Grote is Vivian/Niamh’s second adoptive mother. She lives with her husband Gerald in a shack in the woods outside of Hemingford, Minnesota in the late 1920s. They have four children, and Mrs. Grote becomes pregnant again during “Dorothy’s” time living with them. Mrs. Grote is depressed and irritable, and sleeps all day. She doesn’t seem to like her children. She takes little interest in “Dorothy,” who she expects to take over the work of caring for her home and children. She kicks “Dorothy” out after she discovers her husband trying to rape her.
The timeline below shows where the character Wilma Grote appears in Orphan Train. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 17: Hemingford County, Minnesota, 1930
...takes Niamh into the house, where they find a three-year-old girl, Mabel. Eventually, a grumpy Mrs. Grote emerges. The woman appears exhausted. She explains that her husband just lost his job at... (full context)
Chapter 18: Hemingford Country, Minnesota, 1930
Chapter 22: Hemingford County, Minnesota, 1930
...dark hair ever again and was careful to keep her children clean. Reluctantly, Niamh tells Mrs. Grote , who instantly accuses Niamh of bringing the lice. For hours, Niamh boils water and... (full context)
Chapter 23: Hemingford County, Minnesota, 1930
...become aloof and angry. When Baby Nettie cries, Mr. Grote shakes her until she “whimpers.” Mrs. Grote is also pregnant again, and Niamh hopes that she won’t be responsible for delivering the... (full context)
...stay quiet. He undresses and molests her. He tries to rape her, but just then, Mrs. Grote comes into the living room. She yells, calling her husband an “animal”—but she blames Niamh... (full context)