16 July 2013

Book Review: A Night on the Orient Express by Veronica Henry

"The Orient Express. Luxury. Mystery. Romance.

For one group of passengers settling in to their seats and taking their first sips of champagne, the journey from London to Venice is more than the trip of a lifetime.

A mysterious errand; a promise made to a dying friend; an unexpected proposal; a secret reaching back a lifetime...As the train sweeps on, revelations, confessions and assignations unfold against the most romantic and infamous setting in the world."

Rating: 5/5

You can buy A Night on the Orient Express as a paperback or an eBook now.

I am a massive Veronica Henry fan - I've read almost every book she has written so far in her career, and I always look forward to her latest book because I know it's going to be a treat. Her brand new book is about the infamous Orient Express train. I'll be honest and say I didn't know a huge lot about it before I went into reading this book, so was hoping Henry would be able to fill me in on the glamour and grandeur of the train, as well as a riveting story about the characters who climb aboard it too! The cover is gorgeous, with a stunning scene of Venice, and makes it look like the perfect summer read.

Adele Russell owns an art gallery, but knows that in her later years, she's going to want to relax, and that her grand-daughter who is running it at the moment, Imogen, is ready to move on to bigger and better things. But first, there's something from her past that she has to collect, and sends Imogen on the Orient Express to retrieve the said item from her old friend Jack. There's young farmer Archie who is set up on a blind date with a milliner called Emmie; Stephanie is off on her first proper holiday with partner Simon and his two troubled teenage children, and there's old romantics Sylvie and Riley, who have a tradition of travelling aboard the Express together. This group of passengers are unaware of how much their lives are destined to change on their latest ride from London to Venice on the Orient Express...

I was so eager to get stuck in to this book, that I'll admit I was surprised about the amount of different characters within the story, but as usual, Henry juggles them all with ease and I didn't struggle at all to keep up with who was who, and what their storyline was. Henry introduces them to us bit by bit, telling us about their back story and why they are going on the train, and I really found getting to know these characters to be a really enjoyable experience. They were all very different, at various stages in their lives, and I wondered how many of them would have happy endings. Henry doesn't shy away from writing about some tough subjects within the book, and the way she approaches these in the book makes for really good reading, and certainly had me surprised as things become revealed.

My favourite characters, though, had to be Adele and Jack's story, something which was utterly riveting. We are told about Adele's past through flashback chapters in the book which come quite frequently, but I found myself getting lost in her story, and what she did when she was a young woman. Even though I was totally absorbed with the story aboard the Express, as soon as it switched to Adele's tale, I was enthralled by that - there was something deeply romantic about it, and you're left wondering how it's going to relate to her in the modern day part of the book. I also loved reading about Emmie and Archie, who are set up on a blind date together, and struggle to find any common ground. It was a bit of light relief with poignant overtones thanks to the set-up of their story, and I really enjoyed reading about them.

Now, I can't review the book without talking about the infamous Orient Express train, which is pretty much the centre of the book! It sounds so glamourous, and Henry really brings it alive in your mind with her vivid descriptions, I love reading everything about it, from the opulent dining cars to the cabins, and even the exterior of the train. Even the staff stand out in their own way too, and it sounds like the perfect trip in so many ways. There was something magical about the train, and as the book moved towards it ending, I was hopeful for a pleasing ending for all the characters, even though I really didn't want it to end! Veronica Henry's writing style is so easy to read, you can immerse yourself straight away in her stories, and this book is certainly no exception. It features a likeable cast of characters, lots of love stories and drama too - what more could you ask for?! The perfect summer read :)

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