Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Book Review: Girl on a Train

Sharon Long is with us today to review a book that almost everyone seems to be reading these days: The Girl on a Train by Paula Hawkins. 

The Girl on the Train is a debut novel by Paula Hawkins.  The books starts with Rachel riding the train to work looking at the houses along the tracks as they go by.  At one stop, she looks at one particular house and often sees the couple outside on their deck drinking coffee.  This is the house she focuses on every morning, imaging the prefect life of this couple even going so far as to give them names. On the way home at night, Rachel struggles to see that same house but usually cannot because it is on the other side of the tracks.  Every day she waits with anticipation  hoping to get another glance at the man and woman who live there.  One day when Rachel looks over at the house, she sees something very wrong.  
After what she has seen, Rachel inserts herself into the situation and we find out more about the man and the woman.  In addition, we find out why Rachel is so fascinated with this couple and this particular street. The book has 5 main characters but concentrates on 3 women - Rachel, the woman in the house and Anna, Rachel's ex husband's new wife. Their stories are told in first person and we learn about each of their strengths and weaknesses.  About halfway through the book, I was sure I knew the outcome and where the story was going but I was very wrong.  The dramatic conclusion is somewhat unexpected but definitely fulfilling for the reader.
This story is very well written, both character and plot driven, full of lies, deception and distrust. The author does a great job of leading suspicion from one character to another and back and forth.  I thoroughly enjoyed riding the train with Rachel and the author on this journey.  I personally have often looked at houses while driving and wondered about the people's lives who live there.  The Girl on the Train gives you that look inside and very often it is not what we on the outside envision.  

Paula Hawkins has been a newspaper journalist for the last 15 years and lives in London.  CBS Morning News did a five-minute interview with the author, her first American television interview on February 9th calling The Girl on the Train a runway hit.  The book is currently number one on The New York Times Best Seller List and debuted at the top spot in January.  That is a feat unmatched by any novel in a decade.  I would say this debut author is off great success as a novelist. 

You can read Sharon's review of SJ Watson's Before I Go To Sleep here
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  1. Great review! So many books, so little time.

  2. Its been on my list - probably won't get to it until vacation in May, but now I'm even more intrigued to read it...