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
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
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.