“The World and his wife” need to read this!
I don’t usually like sounding like the over-the-top reviewers who just gush with superlatives for an author or a story, but…
The Woman on the Orient Express by Lindsay Jayne Ashford is wonderful!
Ashfod chose to write a fictional account of an actual time in the life of the widely known and read author Agatha Christie.
It was enjoyable to see Agatha in such a very personal light and experience, through her, one of the lowest points in her life and follow her road to happiness. Agatha’s encounter on the train and subsequent friendship with two other women, Nancy and Katherine, the mysterious baggage they are all trying to escape, and the suspenseful turn, resulting from their sordid pasts, their story takes is spell binding.
The Woman on the Orient Express is a historical novel that is so well written it seamlessly blends fact with fiction. It is extremely realistic and every so often I felt compelled to look up biographies of Agatha Christie to see how much of what I was reading was actually fiction. Ashford’s attention to details, use of language (hence the title of this review “the world and his wife” which is just a fancy way of saying everyone), and inclusion customs made the story very authentic. All that and it’s also a great fictional work. It didn’t take long for me to be captivated by the story and found it extremely hard to put down.
Ashford also found ways to pepper optimism and hope in the midst of a crushing time in life for all three characters. I love the scene where a butterfly lands on Max and he proceeds to tell the tale, “where fairies in a wood came and asked a family of caterpillars if they could have their skins to make fur coats. The caterpillars were outraged. They thought the fairies meant to kill them. But they said no, that wasn’t what they meant at all – but they knew a time would come when the caterpillars wouldn’t need their coats anymore, because they’d have something more beautiful to wear.” This story strikes a nerve with Agatha and when she tries to express her confusion, Max reassures her with, “It’s not easy to believe in anything when your whole world turns upside down. The main thing is to keep believing in yourself.”
Surprised that an intriguing historical fiction thriller could also be uplifting and inspirational? So was I! Which is why this story earned a five star from me, and if we had them, I would have given it six stars. This book is PG-13 so anyone who reads an Agatha Christie novel can read The Woman on the Orient Express.