Coming of age on the night train to Lisbon

It's not surprising that I was slightly confused when I picked up a copy of Night train to Lisbon by Emily Grayson. The title seemed so familiar....and of course it was. I previously reviewed another novel of the same name by Pascal Mercier. I wasn't wowed by that novel, and I feel curiously ambivalent about Emily Grayson's romance.

Naive young Carson Weatherell, WASP princess of a wealthy American East coast clan, is set to have an exciting summer travelling with the aunt, who she hasn't met since her childhood, and the aunt's British diplomat husband, on a trip from Paris to Lisbon. En route Carson meets Cambridge physicist, Alec Breve, and the two fall in love. For Carson, it is a major event, as Alec is everything that her family would find unacceptable, but events in a Europe that is about to slide into war are about to make the situation even more complicated for Carson.

I found this book really frustrating. In common with my review for the "other" Night train to Lisbon, the novel suffers from some bad proof-reading. For example, Oliver (rather than Oswald) Mosley makes an appearance. Although the plot itself is a pretty good one, it's a terrible shame that this isn't reflected in the writing itself. Characters are paper-thin, plot rabbits are regularly pulled out of hats, and Cambridge railway station finds itself placed in the centre of the city (local residents will be delighted, though a few colleges may need to find new premises!).

It's poorly paced, poorly written and poorly researched. All of which is truly infuriating as this novel has so much going for it. There are some great ideas, and there's such a lot of promise in it. What a shame that the author doesn't quite deliver.


Popular Posts