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.
With the success of the real Agatha Christie’s novels, the Orient Express has become a synonym for murder mystery. Any story with it in the title seems to be destined to have at least one body show up. Not so much in this one. I had assumed that this would be a murder mystery surrounding the person of Agatha Christie, similar to the Doctor Who Episode “The Unicorn and The Wasp.” A huge fan of Hercule Poirot and Agatha Christie’s works, I was excited to sink my teeth into a whodunit.
A quick read at a little over 300 pages, this is not a murder mystery, I wouldn’t even call it a mystery at all really. Falling firmly in the historical fiction category, this female based novel sheds light on the time after Christie’s breakdown. With bits of Middle Eastern culture and history sprinkled throughout the story, you find yourself racing through the pages. There is something exciting about reading about travel, and the descriptions really make the book. Combining the known history of two women, Ashford has created a lovely story about three women who meet on the Orient Express and change each other's’ lives. This isn’t a hard read, and I would definitely recommend this book as some light summer reading.
Freelance Editor & Reviewer