Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Book Review ~ The Woman on the Orient Express by Lindsay Jayne Ashford, narrated by Justine Eyre

The Woman on the Orient Express
by Lindsay Jayne Ashford

 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.

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For this review of The Woman on the Orient Express, I am doing something different. As my mother read the book and I listened to the audio version at the same time, I thought it would cool if we both provided our thoughts on this spectacular novel.  Let’s begin shall we?

Nancy's thoughts…..
"I loved this book!  It’s a fact and fictional story of Agatha Christie’s life.  Even though I have read all her novels, I never really knew anything about her.  The thing that drew me in right away was the setting for the story.  I have traveled to a similar part of the world, and her words brought back all the smells of the spice markets, the taste of exotic food and pastries, the Bedouin tents and the alternately hot and freezing sand dunes.  Oh, to have traveled with her on the Orient Express and experience a gentler, more romantic era of travel!  I have seen the places like Baghdad before they were torn and ravaged by war and this story brought back so many memories."

Tamara’s thoughts…..
Like my mother, I loved this book as well.  Ms. Ashford did an amazing job of character development and imaginary.  I could perfectly visualize each and every scene unfolding before me. I especially loved the archaeological dig scenes and the budding romance between Max and Agatha.  Katherine’s story both sadden and angered me as she finally told Agatha about her ‘situation’.  To have a doctor tell her what he did is beyond unforgiving and completely sickening.  Then, there was Nancy.  My heart broke for her as she struggled with the decision that she made.  

Everything about this story was perfect!  The whole story of three women with different personalities meeting by chance and forming friendships that will be with them forever was beautiful. I laughed and I cried, and in the process, learned a bit about Ms. Christie.  Yes, this was a fictional account, but with actual facts interweaved throughout about Agatha Christie's life really made this an outstanding read!  I am ashamed to admit that I have not read any of Agatha Christie’s novels, but now that I have somewhat a glimpse of her life, I am beyond intrigued with her works and will be adding them to my reading list.  There is so much to love in The Woman on the Orient Express and I am glad that I gave it a chance as this is not something I normally would have picked up to read.

The audio version of this book was narrated by Justine Eyre and her performance was outstanding and absolutely delightful.  With her lyrical voice and amazing accents, I could not stop listening as she drew me into this emotional story.  Her pacing was just right and the production quality was outstanding.  

Both Nancy and I give The Woman on the Orient Express 5 stars and would highly recommend it to not only Agatha Christie fans, but anyone looking for a great book to read.