The Girl On the Train

GirlOnTheTrainSOMETIMES, BOOKS THAT START SLOW and drag from chapter to chapter have a short life on my bookshelf.  THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN: A Novel  by Paula Hawkins is not one of those books.

RACHEL, THE MAIN CHARACTER, is in an emotional tailspin ever since her divorce. She never wanted the divorce but knew it was inevitable. She is THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN because each day she passes her old home, and her old life while on her way to work. However, Rachel cannot seem to pull herself together and drinks to bury her sorrow and pain. “Drunk Rachel sees no consequences, she is either excessively expansive and optimistic or wrapped up in hate.”

THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN is a suspenseful, murder mystery set in a small “village-on-the-edge-of-London feel.”  Each chapter toggles between three characters and explains how each is an integral part the storyline. An underlying thread is the link between the characters: Rachel, Megan, Anna, Tom and Scott.  Each one knew that “Having power over someone,” and  using that power, “. . . That’s the intoxicating thing.” They were all connected – Wives, ex-wives, neighbors, ex-neighbors, friends, ex-friends, husbands, and ex-husbands.

FROM THE TRAIN WINDOW, Rachel can see the residents in their backyards and has grown “attached” to them. Then one day, one of her “attachments” is reported missing. Rachel believes she can help the police, but because of her drinking history, she is not taken seriously. Unable to shake the feeling that the missing person’s report is wrong she goes into super sleuth mode. She feels she must push against the pain of self-doubt and ridicule to find the truth.


  • The holes in your life are permanent. You have to grow around them, like tree roots around concrete; you mould yourself around the gaps.”
  • There’s nothing so painful, so corrosive, as suspicion.”

THE ENDING WAS NOT obvious, although not totally predictable. It reminds you of an Alfred Hitchcock movie.  Rachel’s redeeming quality was her inability to let go of that nagging feeling and follow her gut instinct. Even after you have finished the book, you feel like you have to re-read the last page because you will be left speechless.

THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN . . . Is an engaging read that sneaks up on you and before you know it you’re hooked.

Let’s BOND over BOOKS rates THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN as CHALLENGINGLY CHARISMATIC (301-500 pgs) . . . Borderline lengthy – It better have a good ending and it does!


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