|"Is every morning going to be like this? A punch to her stomach every time she opens her eyes?"|
One morning, three women are taking the train from Brighton to London. When the train makes an emergency stop, Anna is impatient to get to work. In another car, Lou watches helplessly as Karen's husband has a heart attack and dies. Later, Anna is struck with guilt when she finds out that the emergency which delayed her train, was the death of her best friend's husband, Simon.
Rayner's heart-wrenching tale is the days events of that Monday, along with the following week. She follows the stories of the these three women, and writes about how their lives dramatically change after that one moment, on that fateful morning.
Karen is numb; the love of her life has just died instantly, without warning. The reader feels her pain and grief as she attempts to deal with her husband's death while taking care of her 5 and 3 year-old children. Anna is angry; she wonders why such a loving and caring father was ripped from his children's lives. She tries to support and help her friend anyway possible. At the same time, she is dealing with the failings of her own boyfriend, failings which seem more obvious now than ever. Through a series of events, Lou, the stranger on the train, has become friends with Anna and Karen, in turn. Although she never knew Simon, she helps Karen tremendously in her hour of need. She is affected by the death as well. Lou is a lesbian, who is out in her community but closeted from her family. She uses Simon's death as a reminder of how fleeting life can be; she is influenced to live her life as she wishes.
This novel was extremely sad. I'm not going to lie - each time I picked it up something different in it made me tear up. I think that it was because of the realness of the story. People die suddenly, and others are left to pick up the pieces. The quote of praise on the back of the novel was true for me. It reads, "it will make you want to call your dear ones to tell them how much you love them". This story was very emotional for me. Most times I was filled with sorrow for Karen and for her young family. In the end though, the women in this novel found joy in each other, in themselves, in their children, and in their lives.
I recommend this book wholeheartedly. Read it at home, though, with a box of tissues ready.
♥ Meg xoxo