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Book Review: The Girl On The Train by Paula Hawkins

The+Girl+on+the+Train+by+Paula+HawkinsRachel catches the same commuter train every morning. She knows it will wait at the same signal each time, overlooking a row of back gardens. She’s even started to feel like she knows the people who live in one of the houses. ‘Jess and Jason’, she calls them. Their life – as she sees it – is perfect. If only Rachel could be that happy.

And then she sees something shocking. It’s only a minute until the train moves on, but it’s enough.  Now everything’s changed. Now Rachel has a chance to become a part of the lives she’s only watched from afar.  Now they’ll see; she’s much more than just the girl on the train…

This is is a really strong debut novel – the premise is original: boozed up Rachel, hopelessly self-deceitful, weaves stories around a perfect couple she sees from the window of her commuter train, who live a few doors down from where her ex husband now lives with his new wife and baby. It is a compulsive story – I couldn’t put it down. Some may find it difficult to connect with the central character Rachel, and though her alcoholism is off-putting at first, she is sympathetically portrayed. I wanted her life to work out. Hawkins’ writing is vivid and draws you in deeply. Her insight into the three narrators gives the novel more depth than many fast paced thrillers offer.

Of course, ultimately, the mark of a good story, as such, is whether the mystery can keep you engaged and is plausible without being predictable. Once Rachel begins to glean hints of something very wrong in the relationship between the couple who she glimpses from the train, then a new and powerful impetus is injected into the story.

Thoroughly engaging throughout and deserving of its best seller status.

Emma Corfield-Walters

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