One of the great pleasures of train travel is reading on a train, especially if you’re sitting by a window, have a cup (paper) of British Rail (ok so British Rail no longer exists) tea (made with a teabag, stirred with a wooden stick and with milk from a tiny plastic top) A genre which I don’t often read is travel writing, but I have read quite a few books where some or all of the action takes part on a train. Being an Agatha Christie fan I read all her books, and several have trains and railways featuring, Murder on the Orient Express The Mystery of the Blue Train’, 4:50 From Paddington,
It’s not surprising that being in a book club I have also read other books about train travel… and here is one such, and what I thought of it:
I wrote a few days ago that I am beginning to feel that I’m a failure as a book club member… I never seem to get on with the books we choose… so as we have two books for this month’s meeting which is tomorrow, and having absolutely hated Elizabeth Jane Howard’s ‘The Light Years’, I determined that I would like the other book. It’s flying high in the best-selling charts and has been made into a film and is about what happens to a young woman travelling somewhere on a train. It’s a mystery, and I do like mysteries, there is a puzzle to be solved and I do like puzzles… so all was looking positive.
One of the others was going to lend it to me but somehow I didn’t manage to get it, never mind, I downloaded and started to read it a few days ago. I got off to a promising start, it wasn’t the best written book I’d ever read, but it was by no means the worst and had an intriguing and unexpected beginning, then another thread of mystery introduced too. The characters seemed a bit stereotypical in a way, but they were ok, sort of believable. At least, I thought I will have positive things to say about it! As I read on, I couldn’t see where it was going – good, I had no idea who, why or how certain things had been done yet – also good, so all was going very well.
This afternoon I dropped in to see Judith, another book clubber for a cup of tea and we were comparing notes; I said I was quite relieved I was at least enjoying this one, and I was wondering what happened to the little boy who disappeared… Judith said she didn’t remember that bit, but she thought the idea was so good, looking into people’s windows from a train carriage flashing past… I didn’t remember that bit – maybe I hadn’t got there yet… I asked about Elly’s parents, were they of any significance? Judith looked totally blank, and then said she was hopeless with names and couldn’t remember them, but she thought Rachel was a good character…
“Hang about, Judith, are we talking about the same book? I’m reading Girl on the Train'”
“Yes, that’s right, The Girl on the Train…”
“Is it about a woman who’s sitting next to someone who is very anxious and nervous, who then gets off the train and when it sets off throws herself under the engine?”
“I don’t remember that, this is about Rachel who goes into London on the train every day and looks into people’s windows and makes up stories about them…”
“No, this girl’s a journalist, and she begins to investigate why the nervous woman killed herself…”
Meanwhile, Judith’s husband Brian has gone onto Amazon, and the truth is out! There are two books, Girl on the Train and The Girl on the Train…
Girl on the Train by A.J.Waines (2015)
Everything points to suicide – but I saw her face…
Headstrong Journalist, Anna Rothman, knows what suicide looks like – her own husband killed himself five years earlier. When Elly Swift, an agitated passenger beside her on a train, leaves a locket in Anna’s bag before jumping onto the tracks, Anna starts asking awkward questions. But everything points to suicide and the police close the case.
Anna, however, believes Elly’s fears for Toby, her young nephew, missing since being snatched from St Stephen’s church six months ago, fail to explain the true reason behind Elly’s distress. Through a series of hidden messages Elly left behind, Anna embarks on a dangerous crusade to track down Toby and find Elly’s killer.
But nothing is as it seems and Anna opens a can of worms that throws into question even her own husband’s suicide – before the threads of the mystery converge in an astonishing conclusion.
The Girl on the Train… by Paula Hawkins 2015
Rachel catches the same commuter train every morning. She knows it will wait at the same signal each time, overlooking a row of back gardens. She’s even started to feel like she knows the people who live in one of the houses. ‘Jess and Jason’, she calls them. Their life – as she sees it – is perfect. If only Rachel could be that happy.
And then she sees something shocking. It’s only a minute until the train moves on, but it’s enough.
Now everything’s changed. Now Rachel has a chance to become a part of the lives she’s only watched from afar.
Now they’ll see; she’s much more than just the girl on the train…
I think my confusion is justified! I bought the book which had such a similar title to the one we were supposed to read – I wonder which was published first? I wonder how many people have done as I have and bought the wrong one? I wonder how mad one of the authors is that someone published a book with such a similar title?
I could also nearly have bought this:
A Girl on the Train by Ashok Kumar Singh (2015)
He is a Catholic priest from America. She is a lesbian beggar in a north Indian railway station. He is a dare-devil priest who works hard to spread the good word of god. She is a fraud of the most vile kind who earns money through part-time prostitution. Father Burns makes it his duty to bring the fraud along the correct path. She is adamant to embrace crime and kill the Christian priest. Will their stars ever meet?
There is a war on. Christians under Father Burns go into overdrive mode to stop the corpse abusing mafia from further abusing dead bodies. The mafia exports and sells these bodies to medical students in the US. The bodies were once impoverished people who died of hunger and whose near and dear ones failed to pay for their cremation. Father Burns is adamant to cremate them with Christian respect. The corpse mafia are desperate to continue exporting dead bodies. The lesbian beggar has the final word. She decides Father Burns must die. He is a man who refuses to listen to reason.
I think it is actually quite odd that these books were published with such similar titles. When I published the fourth in my Radwinter series, Beyond Hope, I thought it might be a title other people had used and I really checked it out, and looked at every book which had a similar sounding title – but there were none exactly the same – at that time!
Well, I will take my odd one out book, my apologies, and maybe a bottle of wine!
Here is a link to Beyond Hope – and perhaps I am beyond hope with the book club!:
… it is the fourth in the Radwinter series, so maybe you would like to read the others first: