Candice: Phil lent me a book a while ago by an author that I like – David Baldacci. I’ve read a few of his books and Phil found this on in the dark recces of a charity shop. He picked it up because it had the mention of a train, I said I’d wait to read it because of the mention of Christmas.
So I picked it up last week. December was almost here and I thought it wouldn’t hurt to crack it open. To be honest I’d already had the Christmas tunes on for the little person. She’s learning some songs for her Christmas play at nursery so we both needed some practice in remembering the words to ‘Away in a Manger’.
To start I wasn’t sure. The book is about a chap taking a train from east to west coast America to spend Christmas with his sweet heart. Train travel isn’t that popular in the States, everyone flies or drives, but he’s been banned from flying due to an air rage incident so decides to follow the footsteps of his distant relative Mark Twain and take two trains that criss cross the country.
The book was written over 10 years ago and you can tell with some of the technology that is described, it initially distracts from the book, but then the plot gets going.
So, Tom was once a war reporter. His long time girlfriend up and left him after one to many close escapes and he hasn’t heard from her since. Who is on the train? Eleanor, the once girlfriend. In the great tradition of all stories love does not run smooth and she hates him on sight as he still hasn’t worked out why she left him. Just as they are starting to come together then his girlfriend arrives and friction pushes them to the limit. Will they or won’t they get together?
There are other fun things happening on the train too. A young couple have run away from their families to get married, a thief is stealing valuable items and a retired train engineer is watching the skies as he predicts a bad storm is coming. So just as things are calming down an avalanche hits the train and they all get stuck running out fuel and water.
Love conquers all as Tom saves his woman and the train but then the twist appears. The girlfriend, the marriage are all a sham, set up by the film director employer of Eleanor who knows she is still pining for Tom and wants her to finally get her man.
Initially the book is much too detailed about trains, and I was thinking this was more Phil’s bag than mine. But once we got over that it’s actually good fun and you want to know what happens. Some of the characters are larger than life and it gives the story a nice Christmassy feel. What doesn’t get resolved is the Mark Twain element which is a shame but all in all it gave me a nice introduction to the Christmas season.