Hoping to make a clean break from a fractured marriage, Agatha Christie boards the Orient Express in disguise. But unlike her famous detective Hercule Poirot, she can’t neatly unravel the mysteries she encounters on this fateful journey. Agatha isn’t the only passenger on board with secrets. Her cabinmate Katharine Keeling’s first marriage ended in tragedy, propelling her toward a second relationship mired in deceit. Nancy Nelson—newly married but carrying another man’s child—is desperate to conceal the pregnancy and teeters on the brink of utter despair. Each woman hides her past from the others, ferociously guarding her secrets. But as the train bound for the Middle East speeds down the track, the parallel courses of their lives shift to intersect—with lasting repercussions. Filled with evocative imagery, suspense, and emotional complexity, The Woman on the Orient Express explores the bonds of sisterhood forged by shared pain and the power of secrets.
Sissy: As a long time fan of Agatha Christie, I was absolutely thrilled to come across this completely intriguing novel by Lindsay Jayne Ashford. The Woman on the Orient Express so artfully weaves actual historical and personal facts from Agatha Christie and her time period with a clever fictional tale. I was so interested in Agatha Christie’s life after reading this novel that I had to go do a complete internet search to satisfy my curiosity. I had, of course, read dozens of her books but I only knew vague facts about her life. What an interesting and enjoyable read! Am I gushing too much? Can you tell that I liked this book?
Bubby: Yes, we can tell. And yes, you’re gushing too much. It’s okay, and nice that it’s you gushing instead of me, like usual! I didn’t love The Woman on the Orient Express quite as much as you did, but I did really enjoy it. The characters of Agatha, Nancy and Katharine are so very different and they evolve so much during the tale that they became real to me. Each of them share a failed marriage and worry about what their futures will bring. As it turns out, two find great happiness and one, well, not so much, but good things come from her suffering. As much as I love Agatha Christie, I think my favorite character was Katharine, surprisingly, since I quite loathed her in the beginning. Max, a man who works with Katharine, ends up being delightful as well. He’s yummy!
Sissy: Aside from the fabulous historical fiction aspect of this story, the thing that I most adored was not one, but two unexpected sweet and loving relationships.
Bubby: No! No spoilers! Stop now!
Sissy: Get out. I’ll say what I want. As these relationships unfold, there are some oh so tender twists and surprises that will, yea verily, warm the cockles of your heart. Plus, how fabulous was Agatha Christie? In real life? What an astounding life she led! And I cannot say what I want to say because if I give things away Bubby will smack me, but let’s just say that when a fabulous “woman of a certain age” attracts a handsome man who is quite a bit younger than her and just adores her, well, I feel positively exuberant. In an exotic location, no less!
Bubby: On the hunt for a younger man, are you? I have noticed that Mr. Sissy is getting a bit gray…
Sissy: I am positively exuberant on behalf of OTHER PEOPLE. Anyway, if you can’t tell, I completely ate up The Woman on the Orient Express. I’m so grateful to the author for bringing to light, for a new generation, the story of a wonderful woman, along with a well done fictional element. I highly recommend it!
Bubby: There’s so much more that I want to say about this story but it’s kind of like one of Agatha’s own novels – it just should be experienced firsthand. The settings are magnificent, the characters are brilliant and it’s all tied up with a neat little bow at the end. So good.
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