The Woman on the Orient Express- a Book Review

I sleep better when I have a good book to read. I simply can’t fall asleep without reading. My daughter too wants to be read to before she dozes off. She tells me she’ll have bad dreams otherwise! When I don’t have an interesting book at hand or on my e-reader, even sleeping becomes just another chore to be ticked off on my to-do list! I’m serious! I then resort to browsing my favorite blogs, instagram accounts or pinterest, which is a surefire way of wiping all the sleep from my eyes!

Gimme a good book, and you’ll find me sleeping like a baby after a while! 🙂

So… What did I want to write about? Ah! The Book Review. I wonder why I got started about my sleep routine!

(Thinking…)

Yup! “The Woman on the Orient Express” was one such interesting book that made me want to wrap up all my chores, speed-read my kiddos’ books and dive into the World of the famous detective novelist, Agatha Christie (who is one of the 3 protagonists in this book), the luxurious Orient Express from London to Istanbul and the archaeological wonders of Ur mentioned in the book.

This book is for someone like me who can’t stand books full of mush or magic or Vampires and their slayers, like most Young Adult books do, nor the ones that contain gruesome murders, horrific kidnappings. apocalypse or terror attacks like most books for adults do. It falls somewhere between the 2 extremes. It was just what I needed to read, as I couldn’t finish any other book I started!

The book is all about 3 women- Agatha, Katherine and Nancy- who come from different walks of life, each carrying the heavy load of  a not-so-rosy past, but heading towards the same destination- Baghdad. Among them, Katherine is going further down to Ur, an archaeological Dig site and towards “doom”, as she suspects. They are all aboard the Orient Express with its drool-worthy customer service. Something, an incident, triggers the beginning of a friendship between these 3. As they get to know one another, each one shares her secret, bit by bit. This unraveling of their pasts, even as they set out to begin a new chapter in their lives forms the core of this story. Their loyalty to each other and the promises they have made to protect one another’s secrets are tested along the way by people and circumstances they come across. Do they remain BFFs despite the roadblocks they face? You will find out when you read…

When I mentioned this book to my friends, most thought I was talking about “Murder on the Orient Express”, a murder mystery written by Agatha Christie herself. I must have read that book a long time back. I want to re-read it and compare the 2. Of-course there are no comparisons. There’s no murder in this contemporary novel, nor is there a mystery to be solved. There’s an undertone of “Something sinister must be lurking around the corner, the next page, ready to pounce upon the reader” kinda feeling through the book though. This book also makes me want to read Agatha Christie’s memoirs.

Lindsay Jayne Ashford does a great job of interweaving fiction with real life events, so much so that we are left to wonder what’s real and what’s not. As soon as I was done with the book, I had the urge to find out the authenticity of the characters and situations mentioned in the book, and to learn a bit more about the author, whose writing I thoroughly enjoyed. She described the comforts of the train journey, the seemingly endless  desert sand and the smells and colors of an Arabic spice market so vividly I simply felt like I was experiencing them all myself. If there’s another book written by the same author, I’ll surely get my hands on it! And I suggest you do too. 🙂

Here’s something to think about-

“For the train, like life, must go on until it reaches its destination. You might not always like what you see out of the window, but if you pull down the blind, you will miss the beauty as well as the ugliness”

-Agatha Christie, The Woman on the Orient Express.

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