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Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Review: The London Train by Tessa Hadley

The London Train (P.S.)Publisher: Harper Perennial
ISBN: 0062011839
Pages: 352 pages
Genre: Fiction/Novella
Challenges-100+ Reading Challenge, Outdo Yourself Reading Challenge
Buy this Book: Amazon, Powell's, Indiebound clip_image0013_thumb_thumbclip_image0014_thumb_thumb

 Summary from publisher:
Unsettled by the recent death of his mother, Paul sets out in search of Pia, his daughter from his first marriage, who has disappeared into the labyrinth of London. Discovering her pregnant and living illegally in a run-down council flat with a pair of Polish siblings, Paul is entranced by Pia’s excitement at living on the edge. Abandoning his second wife and their children in Wales, he joins her to begin a new life in the heart of London.
Cora, meanwhile, is running in the opposite direction, back to Cardiff, to the house she has inherited from her parents. She is escaping her marriage, and the constrictions and disappointments of her life in London. But there is a deeper reason why she cannot stay with her decent Civil Service husband—the aftershocks of which she hasn’t fully come to terms with herself.
Connecting both stories is the London train, and a chance meeting that will have immediate and far-reaching consequences for both Paul and Cora.
My Review:  
I’ve been a bit of a stress mess since yesterday. I have a HUGE baking order (500 cupcakes) and I’m panicking about baking in the heat. I needed something to calm my nerves and distract me before I paced myself into an early retirement. This kinda did the trick.
First of all, I had no idea when I picked this up that it was two novellas. I usually hate novella’s and short stories. It’s a call back to my earliest reading days in which I was forced to read terrible literature from the huge readers that always, somehow, smelled of mildew and vomit.  I like my books big and thick with lots of description and verbiage. But I was pleasantly surprised that I didn’t mind the format at all in this one. I found that I, in fact, liked it quite a bit because both stories really were very interesting and they melded together very nicely. I also loved how this book was written. It really flowed well and when I had trouble engaging in other parts of the novel, the writing brought me right back in.
The only real problem I had with this book was that I had a difficult time making any sort of connection some of the characters. I mean I liked their stories and was very interested but not so much the characters themselves. I just couldn’t make myself like Paul. I wanted him to step in and take care of Pia but he just seemed to join in at times. I wanted him to be more paternal, I guess, but he was almost as immature as Pia. I did like Cora quite a bit. Much more than I liked Paul and I could commiserate with her story much more.  I did, however, like how their stories mirrored each other. It really created a cohesiveness between both novellas.
What initially attracted me to this book was the cover. I have said in the past that I don’t judge books based on their covers…I may have to take that back. This was such as simply designed cover but it was so appealing. Who thought images of a girl in a skirt with flowers would be enough to attract me to a book? You learn something new about yourself every day.
*A copy of this book was provided to me by the publisher for review.   My opinion is my own and has not been influenced in any way and any monies   made from associate or affiliate accounts are recycled back into the  blog.


  1. Cora certainly seems to be a more likeable character, so I totally understand your feelings there.

    I'm glad that this book gave you the distraction you needed. Hopefully all your baking turned out ok!

    Thanks for being a part of the tour.

  2. I like that you admitted that you were pulled in by its cover. Great covers have a way of doing that to me, as well. I've been eyeing this book and I'm glad that I found your review of it.

    The Girl from the Ghetto



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