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10 Great Books set on trains

6th December 2019

10 Great Books set on trains. An excellent way to pass the journey and really become engrossed in what you are reading, when the environment mirrors the content of a book.

10 Great Books set on trains

Life is like a train station, people come and go all the time, but the ones that wait for the train with you are the ones that are worth keeping in it.  (unknown)

Violet by SJI Holliday, set on the Trans Siberian Express

Carrie’s best friend has an accident and can no longer make the round-the-world trip they’d planned together, so Carrie decides to go it alone.

Violet is also travelling alone, after splitting up with her boyfriend in Thailand. She is also desperate for a ticket on the Trans-Siberian Express, but there is nothing available.

When the two women meet in a Beijing Hotel, Carrie makes the impulsive decision to invite Violet to take her best friend’s place.

Thrown together in a strange country, and the cramped cabin of the train, the women soon form a bond. But as the journey continues, through Mongolia and into Russia, things start to unravel – because one of these women is not who she claims to be…

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The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins, set in London

Rachel 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…

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Slow Train to Guantanamo by Peter Millar, set in Cuba

It is an island more than 1000 kilometres long and was the sixth in the world (before its colonial master Spain) to have a national rail network. Cuba today feels like a nation at the end of a long, hard war. Peter Millar jumps aboard a railway system that was once the pride of Latin America and is now a crippled casualty case to undertake a railway odyssey the length of Cuba in the dying days of the Castro regime. Starting in the ramshackle but romantic capital of Havana, he travels with ordinary Cubans, sharing anecdotes, life stories and political opinions, to the far end of the island where he meets a more modern blot of American history, the Guantanamo naval base and detention centre.

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Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie, set across Europe

Agatha Christie’s most famous murder mystery, reissued with a striking new cover designed to appeal to the latest generation of Agatha Christie fans and book lovers. Just after midnight, a snowdrift stops the Orient Express in its tracks. The luxurious train is surprisingly full for the time of the year, but by the morning it is one passenger fewer. An American tycoon lies dead in his compartment, stabbed a dozen times, his door locked from the inside. Isolated and with a killer in their midst, detective Hercule Poirot must identify the murderer — in case he or she decides to strike again.

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A Night on the Orient Express by Veronica Henry, set across Europe

For one group of passengers settling in to their seats and taking their first sips of champagne, the journey from London to Venice is more than the trip of a lifetime.

A mysterious errand: a promise made to a dying friend: an unexpected proposal: a secret reaching back a lifetime…As the train sweeps on, revelations, confessions and assignations unfold against the most romantic and infamous setting in the world.

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Riding the Iron Rooster by Paul Theroux, set in China

Paul Theroux left Victoria Station on a rainy Saturday in April thinking that taking eight trains across Europe, Eastern Europe, the USSR and Mongolia would be the easy way to get to the Chinese border – the relaxing way, even. He would read a little, take notes, eat regular meals and gaze contentedly out of windows. The reality, of course, was very different.

In fact, Theroux experienced a decidedly odd and unexpected trip to China that set the challenging tone for his epic year-long rail journey around that vast, inscrutable land – a journey which involved riding nearly every train in the country.

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Murder on the Flying Scotsman by Carola Dunn, set England to Edinburgh

Daisy’s in danger of heading off the rails! Daisy’s embarking on a journey to Edinburgh and her biggest worry is that she has forgotten her book, so how will she pass the time? Her concern proves to be pointless, however, as once the journey begins Daisy finds a pint-sized stowaway on board – Belinda, the daughter of dreamy Detective Chief Inspector Alec Fletcher, Daisy’s beau. No sooner has this problem revealed itself than Daisy and Belinda run into a bickering Scottish clan en route to the deathbed of the head of the family. But before the express reaches its first stop, one of the greedy McGowans has turned up dead. Is it murder? Daisy’s willing to bet her first-class ticket it is – after all, the victim was the heir-in-waiting and she’s sharing the carriage with an entire family of suspects who have everything to gain by his death…

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Night Train to Lisbon by Emily Grayson, Europe to Lisbon (not to be confused with Pascal Mercier‘s novel with the same title)

Night Train to Lisbon is a sensuous tale of the pursuit of love and passion against all odds, set in the 1930s when the world was on the brink of war and suspicion of loyalty, motivation, and intent — to both country and lover — was at flood tide.

Carson Weatherell is a privileged young American woman travelling in Europe in 1936, courtesy of her aunt and uncle who live abroad and have kindly offered to show her the sights. A bout of illness and self-pity almost send her back to her sheltered Connecticut life, but on an overnight train to Lisbon, she suddenly can’t imagine returning home. On that train she meets Alec Breve, a young British scientist travelling with a group of colleagues — and in his company, Carson finds that she’s enjoying herself, certainly for the first time since she left New York Harbour, and quite possibly for the first time in her life.

A riveting page-turner, Night Train to Lisbon travels back to the days when war loomed, the Mitford sisters dazzled, and night trains brimmed with romance and intrigue, delivering a mesmerising novel of a love that must truly conquer all in order to survive.

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The Sleeper by Emily Barr, set London to Cornwall

Everyone thinks she has a happy life in Cornwall, married to the devoted Sam, but in fact she is desperately bored. When she is offered a new job that involves commuting to London by sleeper train, she meets Guy and starts an illicit affair. But then Lara vanishes from the night train without a trace. Only her friend Iris disbelieves the official version of events, and sets out to find her. For Iris, it is the start of a voyage that will take her further than she’s ever travelled and on to a trail of old crimes and dark secrets. For Lara, it is the end of a journey that started a long time ago. A journey she must finish, before it destroys her…

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The Big Red Train Ride by Eric Newby, set on the Trans Siberian Express

The only continuous land route between Western Europe and the Pacific coast of the USSR, the Trans-Siberian Railway covers nearly a 100 degrees of longitude, seven time zones and 5900 miles in a journey lasting 192 hours and 35 minutes. In 1977 Eric Newby set out with his wife, an official guide and a photographer to gather a wealth of irreverent and humorous detail about life in the USSR. Eric Newby has also written “When the Snow Comes, They Will Take You Away”, “The World Atlas of Exploration”, “Great Ascents” and many travel other travel books.

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BONUS BOOKS:

Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone by J K Rowling

Harry Potter has never even heard of Hogwarts when the letters start dropping on the doormat at number four, Privet Drive. Addressed in green ink on yellowish parchment with a purple seal, they are swiftly confiscated by his grisly aunt and uncle. Then, on Harry’s eleventh birthday, a great beetle-eyed giant of a man called Rubeus Hagrid bursts in with some astonishing news: Harry Potter is a wizard, and he has a place at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. An incredible adventure is about to begin!

These new editions of the classic and internationally bestselling, multi-award-winning series feature instantly pick-up-able new jackets by Jonny Duddle, with huge child appeal, to bring Harry Potter to the next generation of readers. It’s time to PASS THE MAGIC ON

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Stamboul Train by Graham Greene

Carleton Myatt meets Coral Musker, a naïve English chorus girl, aboard the Orient Express as it heads across Europe to Constantinople. As their relationship develops, they find themselves caught up in the fates of the other passengers and drawn into a web of espionage, murder and lies

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So, have we whetted your appetite? We have only skimmed the surface and I am sure you can suggest more titles to complement the list. Do leave your suggestions in the COMMENTS below!

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  1. User: MiriamSmith

    Posted on: 08/12/2019 at 5:47 pm

    The Railway Children

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