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Novel set around the route of the 88 Bus – LONDON

18th April 2023

The Girl on the 88 Bus by Freya Sampson, novel set around the route of the 88 bus – London.

Novel set around the route of the 88 Bus - LONDON

#audiobook (Narrated by Annette Holland and Georgia Maguire)

Before starting on a review, it is probably worth noting that the route of the 88 bus – essential to this delightful story – which winds its way through well known parts of London. It starts in Parliament Hill Fields, and continues through Kentish Town, Camden Town, Albany Street, Great Portland Street, Oxford Circus, Piccadilly Circus, Trafalgar Square, Parliament Square, Vauxhall, Stockwell and ends on Clapham Common. The route of the bus forms a backbone to the story and it feels  really transportive. Keep an eye on the National Gallery and the painting “Bacchus and Ariadne” by Titian!

It is a dual timeline story, set in 1962 and then picking up in modern day 2022, two stories linked over a span of 60 years.with the 88 bus and its route through central London absolutely at its heart.

Frank, now suffering from early days Alzheimer’s recalls every single day how he met a young red-headed woman on the 88 bus in 1962 and after only a short conversation, they clearly hit it off and arranged to meet at the National Gallery. Frank was due to call and confirm but he lost her number. He has rued that clumsy mistake every single day. He is desperate to find her – still – and all he knows is that she was an art student. He doesn’t even know her name.

Libby is a young woman riding the 88 bus. She too has a shock of red hair and the year is 2022. Frank happens upon her and they strike up a conversation. Libby is so taken with his story of missed opportunity, that she determines to help him by trawling the internet. When that throws up no leads, she decides on another plan. Dylan, Frank’s carer, becomes involved and the three of them, including Esme, another friend, work on ways of tracking down the elusive woman on the bus. But the chances of finding her 60 years down the line are minute, yet they are not deterred. And we have the voice of Peggy, who will inevitably come to play her part in the whole story as it unfolds.

This is a heart warming story of friendship, community, and mutual support, populated by lovely and quirky characters who will charm their way into your heart. There are ups and downs and good dose of real life events that prevent the story from feeling sugary.

I wonder if you might now be tempted to hop on the 88 bus from Clapham through the centre of the city and out towards Kentish Town? And just how many people will you spot reading The Girl on the 88 Bus as you manoeuvre through streets of this great city?

I listened to this as an audiobook and it is delightfully narrated by Annette Holland and Georgia Maguire.

Tina for the TripFiction Team

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  1. User: philatel

    Posted on: 19/04/2023 at 10:48 am

    I remember the 88 bus starting in Chiswick/Acton and used to go all the way to Mitcham. I lived at the start and my friend lived at the end of the route. The route was then split and it became the 94.


    1 Comment

    • User: Tina Hartas

      Posted on: 23/04/2023 at 7:29 pm

      Oh that is amazing. I caught an 88 on video at Piccadilly. My bus was always the 12….