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Trains and Lovers: The Heart's Journey [Paperback]

Alexander McCall Smith
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (131 customer reviews)
RRP: 7.99
Price: 5.59 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over 10. Details
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Book Description

1 Nov 2013
'Warm, funny, poignant and touching' - The Good Book Guide Imagine you're on a train. Think about all the other people on the train with you, what their lives are or have been, and the different experiences you've all had. But there is one more thing that you undoubtedly all share: you have all been in love at one time or another. In this surprising and poignant story, four strangers meet on a journey from Edinburgh to London. Each has a tale of love and of railways: for Mark, a brief encounter on a railway platform leads to an impulsive and possibly dangerous decision; Kay recounts the long journey back to her childhood home in Australia and the love that was there; David remembers a teenage friendship that faded into love; and Michael makes a discovery that art and people may not be what they seem to be at first glance. These are very different experiences, but throughout them all runs a deep current of love. And loving others, as one of the characters observes, is the good thing we do in our lives.

Frequently Bought Together

Trains and Lovers: The Heart's Journey + Sunshine on Scotland Street (44 Scotland Street) + The Uncommon Appeal of Clouds (Isabel Dalhousie Novels)
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Product details

  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Polygon An Imprint of Birlinn Limited (1 Nov 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1846972639
  • ISBN-13: 978-1846972638
  • Product Dimensions: 19.4 x 13 x 2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (131 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 16,441 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Following a distinguished career as a Professor of Medical Law, Alexander McCall Smith has turned to writing full-time. He is the author of over sixty books on a wide array of subjects, and his books have been translated into forty-two languages. He lives in Edinburgh with his wife.

Product Description


'His writing is as warm as cocoa, as cosy as thermal underwear, and just what the doctor ordered for cold winter evenings. Exceedingly good.' --The Times

'A charming, humorous journey of the heart' --Woman and Home

'Really rather lovely' --The Bookbag

'From a platform tryst to long-distance love, the tales are sure to stick with you' --The Book Review

'Really rather lovely' --The Bookbag

About the Author

Alexander McCall Smith is one of the world's most prolific and most popular authors. For many years he was a professor of Medical Law, then, after the publication of his highly successful No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency series, which has sold over twenty-five million copies, he devoted his time to the writing of fiction and has seen his various series of books translated into over forty-six languages and become bestsellers throughout the world. These include the 44 Scotland Street novels, first published as a serial novel in The Scotsman, the Isabel Dalhousie novels, the Von Igelfeld series and the Corduroy Mansions novels.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
28 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars More beautiful stories from A M Smith 24 Nov 2012
By Ms L
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
As a reader of nearly all of Alexander Mcall Smith's previous books I found this a departure from his usual style. However, very soon I found myself enjoying his usual skill of writing his characters with detail and compassion. The book contained stories told by four totally different people who met on a train journey. Each one had a beautiful and very different story to tell on their experiences of love. These were not told in the fashion of a romantic novel, but unfolded in a manner that was sympathetic to each person and compelled me to want to read more to find out what happened to each character in the end. It was quite an unusual book that I thoroughly enjoyed reading.
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27 of 28 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Heart's Journey indeed 12 Nov 2012
This book is a slight departure from the other series, but no less enjoyable. Through the four riders in the train, we learn about the loves in their lives (or in her parents', in one case). The four stories are told through the riders from Scotland, U.K., Australia, and the United States. Some are personal and are shared with the others. One is through his remembrance of his own untold and unrealized love. Another is about her parents, spanning two generations.

As a reader of AMS's adult books, I've come to expect his wry humor. In that I think this is a departure, only in the sense that you don't see passages which make you burst out laughing or smile to yourself. But these stories are nonetheless touching and heartwarming, effectively weaving the different generations and their perspectives. I think this is more like "La's Orchestra Saves the World" than "44 Scotland Street."

It's still a vintage AMS novel.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars special tales 3 Dec 2012
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
It always amazes me how Alexander Mcall Smith writes his stories of real people, even in unusual circumstances they excist.
And even this was a strange way of people telling each other about their totally different lives, it gets to you and touches you.
The brain and heart of Mr. Mcall Smith must be full, because he writes so much and it almost always brings a smile to my heart.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Heart warming 28 Dec 2012
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
The main feature of all McCall Smith's fiction is his belief in the fundamental decency of most people, borne out again in this heart-warming collection of stories, some private, some shared with the others, of four strangers on the Edinburgh to London train. Geographically, they cover the planet, from the fine art world of London and Edinburgh familiar to readers from his other books, to the Maine countryside and the Australian outback. I particularly enjoyed the story of the young Scot, leaving these shores for Australia in 1946, which bought back my own childhood memories of sailing from Southampton in 1947. As it would be in life, several of these tales are complete, others are unresolved, leaving us to wonder what happened next.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A Bit Rushed 7 July 2013
By Mrs. K. A. Wheatley TOP 500 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
I love Alexander McCall Smith's books. I have been reading them ever since the first No 1 Ladies Detective Agency was published, and I generally enjoy every book he produces, and he produces a lot of books. This one is not one of my favourites, it has to be said. It is sweet enough, telling the story of four random strangers who meet on a long train journey and begin to chat, sharing their stories about how love has affected them in greater and lesser ways. The premise was intriguing and I knew McCall Smith could handle this material in a way that I wouldn't find schmaltzy or irritating, and he did that, but I did find the stories rather clumsily put together. There seems to be a lack of finesse here, which is usually present in spades in his other work. I felt I had missed something here though, and reread several sections in case I'd missed some connection through inattentive reading. I hadn't.

The other thing I missed was McCall Smith's delightful sense of humour. Even in the saddest, most emotionally touching parts of his other books, there is a deftness of touch with humour which lifts the stories out of the ordinary and makes them special. That really wasn't in evidence here.

I felt like there could have been a fantastic novel here, but what we got instead was a rather rushed, alright novella.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars It's not Precious 16 July 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I love Alexander McCall-Smith's Botswana stories, but I've never been smitten by his Scottish tales. This one is about four strangers who meet round a table on the train from Edinburgh to London (a journey I know well). But the way one character launches into the baring of his soul just isn't believable. If he wasn't famous, he'd be urged to 'show not tell'. Sorry. I know others will love it. But I don't.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Trains & Lovers: The Heart's Journey 4 Dec 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Although I enjoyed this book it was not up to the usual standard of McCall-Smith's work. The storyline did not hold my interest and the characters were not in the same league as the 'Scotland Street' series.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Trains and Lovers 16 Aug 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Again a very different Alexander McCall. A group of travellers on a train from Scotland to London are persuaded to tell their life and love stories. Sympathic characters. i did need to look back to check names which is not easy as i have an earlier Kindle without page numbers!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant
Lovely read
Published 4 days ago by Ruth
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
Not up to his usual high standards but an interesting page turner.
Published 19 days ago by John Watkins
5.0 out of 5 stars Great little book.
Loved it! Read in one sitting :-)
Published 20 days ago by Tracey Bonell
2.0 out of 5 stars Being a great fan of Mr McCall smiths' Scotland Street series and ...
Being a great fan of Mr McCall smiths' Scotland Street series and many of his other books, I found this rather disjointed and therefore rather disappointing. Read more
Published 26 days ago by Mrs R Macleod
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
This was an interesting read with various characters coming together through a common thread.
Published 28 days ago by Patricia Barratt
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
not bad
Published 1 month ago by doreen owen
4.0 out of 5 stars ONE OR MANY
Not one of his best, nevertheless I find Alexander McCall-Smiths work of tremendous value.
All lighthearted and generally fun. Read more
Published 1 month ago by linda hartley
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent
I love all of Alexander Mcall;Smith's books and Trains and Lovers ; The Heart's Journey was more than I had hoped for.
Published 2 months ago by Elizabeth Taylor
4.0 out of 5 stars delightful
Having only read two other books from this author being the ladys detective agency this was quite a heart felt novel encapuring the lives of the four travellers on boad a long... Read more
Published 2 months ago by bookworm
4.0 out of 5 stars Always a delight
Alexander McCall-Smith's novels are always something to look forward to.. He characters are kind and very human. A really relaxing read.
Published 2 months ago by OAP
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