POVone: The First Person Perspective

Rants and Reviews on Novels Written in the First Person Point of View

Tag Archives: England

Book Review: The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

Author: Paula Hawkins
Title: The Girl on the Train
Genre: Mystery and Suspense
Publication Date: January 13, 2015
Publisher: Riverhead (Random House)
Number of Pages: 336
Narrators: Rachel, Megan, and Anna
Quality Rating: 81.34

The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

What’s It About?

Everyday, Rachel takes the train into town so that her roommate thinks she still has her job. Ever since her husband cheated her and left her for another women, she has dissolved into a pitiful drunk. Eventually, her new slovenly manner had cost Rachel her job. Now, she rides the train everyday and makes up stories about the people she sees. One of these people just happens to be Megan.

Megan has grown restless in her marriage. She is tired of simply being a housewife. In an attempt to experience something new and exciting, she starts an affair with another man that has recently come into her life. One day, Rachel happens by on the train and sees her kissing a man who isn’t her husband.

Soon after Rachel sees her betraying her husband, Megan disappears. Trying to help, Rachel tells the police about the affair Megan was having. Given that she’s a drunk, though, her testimony is deemed unreliable. Anna, Rachel’s ex-husband’s new wife, had recently hired Rachel as a babysitter. As the worlds of Rachel, Anna, and Megan collide, all three women must face a truth that neither of them are prepared to face.

Should You Read It?

If you enjoy a good psychological thriller built around dark secrets and hidden relationships, you’ll love this book. It has rightly been likened to Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl, and it also bares a resemblance to Kimberly McCreight’s Where They Found Her. Themes include drunkeness, adultery, abuse, female independence, and broken memory. While the story does contain a good bit of reflection and introspection, there are a large number of twists and turns that build mystery and keep the reader guessing until the end.

Links and References

Author Information: Website, Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads

Book Reviews: The New York Times, The Guardian, NPR, The Boston Globe, The Washington Post

Purchase: Buy It On Amazon.com

Other Books By Paula Hawkins: The Girl on the Train is Paula Hawkins’s debut novel.

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Book Review: The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessy by Rachel Joyce

Author: Rachel Joyce
Title: The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessy
Genre: Literary
Publication Date: March 3, 2015
Publisher: Random House
Number of Pages: 384
Narrator: Queenie Hennessy
Amazon.com Reviewer Grade: B, Very Good; of the first 167 reviews, the average reader rating was 86.95%.

The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessy by Rachel Joyce

What’s It About?

Queenie Hennessy has reached the end of her days and she lies ready to pass in a hospice facility of southern England. Then, she unexpectedly receives a message from an old friend whom she has always secretly loved. “Wait for me,” says Harold Fry. Her friend, she discovers, is walking all the way from the northern end of England to see her–believing that he can keep her alive as long as he is traveling.

Partly overjoyed and partly panicked, Queenie begins writing Harold a letter that she insists he read when he arrives–before he sees her. All her life, she has been harboring two secrets–the secret of her love for him and a secret that can destroy any love he might have for her. As she writes her letter, she tells her story in a series of flashbacks and slowly reveals these secrets in her narrative.

As Queenie waits for Harold, she becomes the center of attention among the other residents of the hospice and its staff. Everyone gets involved in waiting for Harold Fry–giving a group of dying men and women a reason to hang on and inspiring an outside world with a remarkable love story.

Should You Read It?

Although I haven’t read it at this time, I understand this book to be a “companion novel” to the story of Harold Fry–I
in which Queenie is a minor character in the tale of Harold and his wife. So, if you enjoyed The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry, you’ll definitely want to read this. While carrying a serious, melancholy tone throughout, there is plenty of dialogue laced with humor. With much of the story unfolding through flashbacks and dialogue, the novel is largely character-driven. If you enjoy contemporary British works focusing on memory and longing, you’ll love Queenie’s story.

Links and References

Author Information: Website, Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads

Book Reviews: Washington Post, The Telegraph, The Guardian

Purchase: Buy It On Amazon.com

Other Books By Rachel Joyce: This book is the sequel to The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry (2012), which takes place concurrently with The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessy.