A Night on the Orient Express by Veronica Henry
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
After reading The Long Weekend by Veronica Henry I grabbed the next book of hers with two hands. I loved the style of her writing, the characterisation and the way all of the stories interlinked.
A Night on the Orient Express is about, unsurprisingly, the events that take place just before, during, and just after a journey on the Orient Express. This book focuses on several different characters, Imogen, off to Venice to pick up a painting that belonged to her grandmother Adele, who has a story of her own; Simon and Stephanie and his troubled children Jamie and Beth; Robert, the guard on the train; Emmie and Archie, thrown together by a match-making company; and Riley, a famous photographer and Sylvie, his muse and an actress.
Veronica Henry describes the Orient Express with exquisite detail and love. She has clearly travelled this way and I believe she talks from experience. For me, travelling on the Orient Express is nothing but a dream and to me it sounded wonderful and magical. I have been to Venice, and she described that beautifully too.
For me, these books are all about the characters, and unfortunately that's where I was let down. I enjoyed Imogen's story, but Adele's was much more intriguing. I felt like Imogen and her bad boy Danny were too caught up in what others thought and what 'kind' of people they were. I wanted to scream at her to 'just get over it'. Simon, Stephanie, Jamie and Beth had lots of interesting twists and turns, but I would have liked to know more about Simon and his ex-wife. I didn't particularly find him very sympathetic. I would have liked to know much more about Robert, like we did with Angelica in The Long Weekend, while Emmie and Archie were very predictable. Riley and Sylvie seemed to go on and on about how they were 'famous' and being recognised, although, as a keen photographer I did find his insight sometimes interesting.
I suppose the thing that irritates me, as it did with the last book, is that Veronica Henry seems to be obsessed with label, and material things. All of her characters are wealthy, upper class people (with the exception of just one) and seem to be able to throw money at everything. Staying on in Venice for a few more days, on a whim, is no problem.
But this won't stop me from reading more of her books, and I do race through them, turning each page with excitement, looking forward to the stories unfolding.
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