by Lindsay Jayne Ashford
Narrator: Justine Eyre
Length: 9 hours 42 minutes
Genres: Historical Fiction
Purchase*: Amazon | Audible *affiliate
Narration: 5 cups
Hoping to make a clean break from a fractured marriage, Agatha Christie boards the Orient Express in disguise. But unlike her famous detective Hercule Poirot, she can’t neatly unravel the mysteries she encounters on this fateful journey.
Agatha isn’t the only passenger on board with secrets. Her cabinmate Katharine Keeling’s first marriage ended in tragedy, propelling her toward a second relationship mired in deceit. Nancy Nelson—newly married but carrying another man’s child—is desperate to conceal the pregnancy and teeters on the brink of utter despair. Each woman hides her past from the others, ferociously guarding her secrets. But as the train bound for the Middle East speeds down the track, the parallel courses of their lives shift to intersect—with lasting repercussions.
Filled with evocative imagery, suspense, and emotional complexity, The Woman on the Orient Express explores the bonds of sisterhood forged by shared pain and the power of secrets.
It’s time once again to welcome Sophia Rose to the blog. Today she has an audio review of The Woman on the Orient Express by Lindsay Jayne Ashford and it looks like a good one! Curl up with your hot cocoa and check out her thoughts.
Sophia Rose’s Review
How could I resist a fictional accounting of an adventure in the life of the Queen of Crime herself? This lovely and thoughtful tribute picks up during some of the darkest days of Agatha Christie’s life just after her mother dies, she gives her husband a divorce to marry the woman he really loves, and the press is having a field day with the disappearance stunt. The Orient Express is there to carry her away from it all and into the east where the next part of her life will begin.
The story turns out to be about three different women who meet on the Orient Express with Agatha getting the most narration. Each have secrets in their past and these slowly come out as the train rolls ever east through Europe and their real journey of personal adventure begins when Europe is left behind.
It’s not a fast-paced or thrilling journey for the most part, but rather a steady one building steam and focusing on internal conflict much of the time, though yes, there are some blips of excitement now and then.
It’s a slow mover, as I said, but captivating as it’s told mostly through Agatha Christie’s eyes. Fans will spot references to many of her books and also get a glimpse of what she was like. I’ve read and watched a few biographies and feel the author did her homework about Agatha as an author at the time, a new divorcee, and a mother. This covers a small portion of her life and yet it is a pivotal point. I liked how the author chose to write her with Hercule Poirot’s, her mother’s, and even her ex-husband’s voices in her head that give added insight into how these people affected her life, but slowly she learns to rely on her own voice and instinct leading her toward new chances of happiness and fulfillment.
The attention to historical detail for the time period for London and Europe, first class travel, and several places in the Near East really built up the story so the reader feels they are right there along with these women experiencing through all the senses what they do. There is also the archeological aspect once Agatha and the others are on the Ur dig site which was fascinating in its own right.
There is something of a mystery when it comes to the women’s secrets and these tease out as the book goes with one of the secrets bringing an exciting climax toward the end. After the end, and only then, does the frame story which introduced the whole thing and brings the reader/listener right back around to why Agatha is recalling the story finally makes sense.
Justine Eyre was a splendid match for this book. She voiced Agatha, Nancy, and Katherine distinctly so I always knew whose perspective I was getting, but she managed other accents and male voices, and a broad range of emotion so well particularly the melancholy that permeated things at first for the women and then didn’t struggle with Middle Eastern cultural references. Definitely one of my favorite narrators and thrilled she was telling this book.
All in all, this was a captivating story that I took my time with and enjoyed all the lush layers it presented leaving me with a strong desire to dive into an Agatha Christie novel. Historical fiction and women’s fiction fans are definitely the target crowd.
I am a HUGE Agatha Christie fan and as this title and cover reminded me of her well known mystery Murder on the Orient Express I had to check this one out for myself! I am so glad I did because I’d never heard of this one before but it sounds right up my alley. I would be up for a gentler pace as well!
Yes!!!! Glad I could point you toward it, Olivia!
Laurel Ann Nattress
This is in my TBR queue too. I loved Ashford’s The Mysterious Death of Miss Jane Austen. Thanks for encouraging me to move it up the list.
Glad I could tempt you to up it’s priority status, Laurel Ann. 🙂 It was a sensational bit of listening for me.
Tyler H. Jolley
Hi Sofia! Great review, I hope you’re well! Always good to see you on the blog.
Yes, its a fun time when I can stop by. Thanks! Hope you’re doing great.
Oh, Sophia. I think you struck gold. Thanks for the heads-up. 🙂
Anna from elements of emaginette
You are so very welcome, Anna. 🙂
ya have ta watch out for those slow moving stories. LOL
You are so right, Sherry. It was going along all gentle and emotional and then wham, excitement and twists. 🙂
It’s been so long since I haven’t read a book in this genre but this onelooks really good!
Same here. I need to pick up more. I was really into it, Melliane.
I’ve never read a book like this or about her but I’ve heard a lot about her. This sounds like an interesting story idea.
A fiction story about a real life character like Agatha Christie sounded really good for me. I could see this being a great gateway to a fiction lover getting into biographies and memoirs.
Debbie S Haupt
You are just everywhere today LOL. I LOVE the sound of this. It is going on my audio wish list right now
Yeah, I was cracking up as everyone sent me my place on the schedule and I realized it was going to be a splash of a Wednesday. I don’t mind. 🙂
Yep, this was a lovely surprise find during an audio sale. Hope you get the chance, Debbie!
Debbie S Haupt
I bought it 😉
Woohoo! Crossing fingers you enjoy it.
I never realised that Agatha Christie disappeared like she did — or that there were so many books of goodness like this that played on it. This is so incredibly interesting — brilliant review!
Oh yes, the disappearance was real. She never spoke out about why, but the other events around it make one have a good educated guess. This was great. Hope you get the chance, Verushka!
wasn’t the Orient Express fiction? Bet Agatha would have given Hercule a run for his money
Yes, the Murder on the Orient Express was fiction. However, the actual Orient Express was and is a real train. 🙂
There are some great mysteries with her as a detective so its fun to see her doing as well as her own fictional detective. 🙂
I learn something new today! Oh yes, she’s really into it
I’ve gone on line and seen pictures and videos of the real Orient Express. I think you’d have to be a millionaire to get a ticket, but it looks fabulous.
Definitely she’s into it. 🙂