Review of Trains & Lovers: The Heart’s Journey by Alexander McCall-Smith


Think about all the other people on the train with you, what their lives are or have been, and the different experiences you’ve all had. But there is one more thing that you undoubtedly all share: you have all been in love at one time or another. Four strangers meet on a journey from Edinburgh to London. Each has a tale of love and of railways: for Mark, a brief encounter on a railway platform leads to an impulsive and possibly dangerous decision; Kay recounts the long journey back to her childhood home in Australia and the love that was there; David remembers a teenage friendship that faded into love; and Michael makes a discovery that art and people may not be what they seem to be at first glance. These are very different experiences, but throughout them all runs a deep current of love. And loving others, as one of the characters observes, is the good thing we do in our lives.


I spotted this book in Waterstones a while ago and later on that day, it popped up on my Kindle for 99p so I instantly bought it and stuck it on my TBR list. I’ve never read anything by Alexander before, but from other book bloggers, he seems to be quite popular.

The opening chapter discusses how a simple train journey can instantly change your life without even realising it. You’re surrounded by strangers who may or may not take your hand and whisk you off somewhere lovely.

There are three men: David, Andrew and Hugh, as well as one woman: Kay. Upon hearing their names, I thought danger may be upon Kay as she’s surrounded by three men but they all got to know each other in a respectable and polite manner. Each of them tell their own stories in regards to love and before they can blink, their train journey from Edinburgh (my favourite city in the world!) to London has come to an end.

I managed to read this novel within a couple of hours and was slightly disappointed by the ending. I expected something dramatic to unfold in the middle and to be resolved by the end, but sadly, that wasn’t the case. It was a nice, simple novel.

If you recently watched The 7:39 drama on BBC1, this is a novel for you.

Twitter: @McCallSmith
Website: http://www.alexandermccallsmith.co.uk/