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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A great read when lying on the beach
I love a good story, it was even better when reading it lying on the beach and enjoying the sunshine over my back. I bought the "Last Train from Liguria" because I liked the title, the cover and the abstract at the back. It took me while to get used to Christine's style and really get into the story, as it develops rather slowly. It gave me the feeling that nothing...
Published on 19 Oct. 2010 by Rachel

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56 of 58 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A love story of perception and regret.
I have never read anything by this author before so I have no comparisons to make with previous novels. All I knew was that Christine Dwyer-Hickey is an award winning Irish novelist. While I found this narrative interesting taking us back and forth between London, Dublin and Italy in the nineteen thirties and mid nineteen nineties it neither excited me nor bored me. In...
Published on 31 Jan. 2011 by LindyLouMac


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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A great read when lying on the beach, 19 Oct. 2010
This review is from: Last Train from Liguria (Paperback)
I love a good story, it was even better when reading it lying on the beach and enjoying the sunshine over my back. I bought the "Last Train from Liguria" because I liked the title, the cover and the abstract at the back. It took me while to get used to Christine's style and really get into the story, as it develops rather slowly. It gave me the feeling that nothing happened through entire chapters, in a sense it gives the reader some space and time to get attached to the characters. Once you are locked into the story, you just want to flicker through the pages to discover what would happen next and keep going. I hardly wanted to put this book down as I got really attached to its characters.The story takes place in 1939 and focuses on Bella who moves to Italy to tutor the only child of an aristocratic Italian family living in Sicily. As soon as she arrives, she is asked to travel back to Bodigherra on the ligurian Riviera where she can finally meet with Alessandro the boy she is supposed to look after. As the mother of the child is getting less and less involved with her child and his father dies, Bella and Edward the piano teacher take centre stage in Alec's live. The domestics and his tutor develop a close knit family for Alessandro's until his mother remarries and decides to send him back to school. Bella and Edward ask themselves what will happen of them once Alec is back at school but continue to live at the villa Lami. As fascism takes power over Italy Edward and Bella are asked to take Alec back with them to England.
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56 of 58 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A love story of perception and regret., 31 Jan. 2011
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This review is from: Last Train from Liguria (Paperback)
I have never read anything by this author before so I have no comparisons to make with previous novels. All I knew was that Christine Dwyer-Hickey is an award winning Irish novelist. While I found this narrative interesting taking us back and forth between London, Dublin and Italy in the nineteen thirties and mid nineteen nineties it neither excited me nor bored me. In fact leaving me feeling rather indifferent about this well written novel. I am disappointed and feel a little guilty admitting this, but there is no point in pretending otherwise. A decent read that was absorbing but nothing particular really drew me in.

The main setting of the story is fascist era Italy where the female protagonist Bella Stuart takes a position as tutor to Alec the son of the aristocratic Lami family. His mother has little time for him and Alec's life revolves around Bella and his music teacher Edward King. The reader has already learnt much about the latters past in the opening chapter of the novel, a dark secret he keeps to himself in Italy. When the story moves to the present times it is to meet Anna a young woman of Italian descent and gradually connections with the past are uncovered.

It is a vivid picture of Italy during the rise of fascism that the author gives us with a very atmospheric sense of place. A novel not just about the historical period it is set in but a love story of perception and regret.
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108 of 113 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding, 10 Aug. 2010
By 
Sally Zigmond (Yorkshire, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Last Train from Liguria (Paperback)
I took this novel with me for a weekend's break and read it morning, noon and night and couldn't put it down until I'd finished. The writing is lyrical and poetic with the most stunning imagery and Bella, the reason for whose timid, clinging and what we would now call anorexic behaviour is explained later on, is a character who gets under your skin. In fact all the characters do, from Bella's selfish, difficult and mostly absent employer, the American 'cousins' to the enigmatic Edward whose crime remains largely unexplained. Alec, I assume , has what is now know as Asperger's syndrome. One can't begin to imagine how his final days must have been.

I have read the critical comments here and am amazed. Did these people actually bother to read the book properly? Where is all this bad behaviour and language? Yes, the story of Anna shows a woman who is down in the depths but there is the possibility of redemption for her at the end and her all-too-believable behaviour is also explained by her past. You only have to think of her 'ancestry.'

The writer does not see the English as inferior. In fact, it is English people who look after Bella on the train when disaster strikes and help her through France and when she gets to London.I believe these reviewers only skim-read the beginning or were expecting Enid Blyton, not an intelligent, deep and thought-provoking read. That the title refers to a train journey which only comes later on is irrelevant. It is built up throughout the whole novel from the very first journey Bella makes.

This is a novel that remains with me even now. I keep thinking about the unfairness and stupidity of war, the vile stain of fascism and anti-Semitism and how people who would never normally meet are flung together, only to fail each other. Stunning.
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46 of 48 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A gripping, warm and incisive read, 21 July 2009
By 
C. Lynch "CL" (Ireland) - See all my reviews
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I really enjoyed this book. I was rather uninspired by the gory first chapter but completely captivated from then on. This is a warm and engaging story that not only deals with the minutiae of an aristocratic family life in Italy in the 1930's but also touches on the sprawling epic of what was to befall Europe in the lead up to WW11. The characters are thoughtfully and richly depicted, the storyline is strong and coherent and the larger picture across three generations and a number of European countries is clearly drawn. I could not recommend this book more highly.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Author excels at setting but seems to "lose the plot" a little, 4 Sept. 2011
I can't make up my mind about this book but I will say that I was totally drawn in by the author's use of metaphors, similes...I felt I was in Italy and Sicily at times so vivid her descriptions of towns, views and sounds. I like the way in which mundane actions are described: "the dry shower of letters"(?) falling into a letter box for example which allow me to feel as if I am taking part in the scene.
Plot wise there are any stories being acted out which have very little thread to draw them together. I wish only that somehow the author had made them a little more unified and aboveall have let us known what happened to some of them! You can imagine to a certain extent the outcome of course but it is frustrating as you are so involved in their lives and then they literally disappear. Some main characters are very well characterised yet others a simple suggestion that you never really believe in anyway so you are not amazed when they vanish which in itself is a disappointment. I wish the author had re-read this book maybe a year after first writing it as then perhaps she would have seen the need to fill in more plot gaps later with fresh vision. She is so talented setting wise that I really believe with more substantial and consistent plot she'd be onto only five star reviews. I do agree with some other reviewers that she seemed to get bored at the end as if she was saying "hang on, I've just got to get this book out of the way then we can go out". A bit mean I know but that's how it felt...there were two many different stories going on, two many different ambiances. You begin with crime fiction, encounter glorious romanticism (but with its own lackings as another reviewer let slip) and then end with a rushed war period. It's a little exhausting. Even so, I am going to try "Tatty' another novel by this very author which on amazon has received mostly five star reviews because I love the style employed by Dwyer Hickey.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars disappointing, 23 Dec. 2011
The idea, the juxtaposition of fascist Italy with Dublin and London, people getting caught up in troublesome situations, was exciting. And I was gripped, racing to the end. A damp squib awaited me. There were many unsatisfactory aspects to it. The behaviour of characters seemed implausible in some places. For instance, in the train at Ventimiglia, cool calm Edward would not have walked Alec out straight into the arms of trouble but would have found another solution. And would Bella, on returning to London, really decide never to see her father again? For that is what is implied. And what happened to the other characters in the end? And how much did Anna eventually discover of her antecedents? And the title of the book is misleading: was the train indeed the last one? My last criticism: none of the characters was sufficiently attractive for me to mind what happened.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Becomes a real page turner, 8 Dec. 2011
By 
Ailsa M. Hollinshead (Edinburgh UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Last Train from Liguria (Paperback)
Another book club selection that turned out to be really positive. I have to confess that by about 100 pages, I was getting a bit irritated with the central character and thought I may have to give up. However, I set it aside for a week, picked it up and couldn't put it down. Without giving anything away, by the time I got to the end I realised that my irritation was due to the clever writing that made you feel as if you'd been living Bella's life. She's closed up and hard to fathom initially but as the main story unfolds so does Bella's internal story. I also liked the parallel story set in 1990s Dublin that forms part of the unfolding story of Bella. I also liked the fact that not everything is neatly tied up! Well worth a read.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A GRIPPING READ, 11 Nov. 2010
This review is from: Last Train from Liguria (Paperback)
I enjoyed reading this novel.I found the characters believable, and I thought the changing from places and times worked well, and did not disrupt the narrative. I found the stage between the race laws coming, and the time Bella left for England overlong and strained, but otherwise it was a well written and enjoyable novel. Although it is possible to work out the endings it was still useful that there was a summing up of sorts at the end of the book.I would recommend this book as a good read, and like many novels once you have got into it it makes a riveting and enjoyable read.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Engaging story with disappointing ending, 23 Aug. 2010
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This review is from: Last Train from Liguria (Paperback)
I would have given this novel a 4 star rating if it hadn't been for the disappointing ending. There were so many loose ends left untied that I almost expected to get to the last page and see 'Sequel coming soon!'. What happened to Edward and Alesso? What happened to Bella after London? Having invested time into the book, I was left wanting much more of a conclusion and felt that having been very long winded in the middle part of the book, the ending was finished off in a hurry with not much thought. The characters were not particularly likeable even Bella who came across as a bit too prim and proper to be a truly believable character. I even found the boy irritating rather than endearing! And the 'love story' of the blurb is completely non- existent!
Having said that, I engaged with the story and enjoyed it overall, it's just not quite the story the cover and blurb would have you believe!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars First Kindle read and first book of Hickey, 2 Oct. 2010
Horrified at first chapter but thereafter captivated. She builds up little pockets of suspense then turns to another of the three characters teazing the reader. compassionate towards little Alec and the old lady Bella. Irritated by the modern way of occasionally writing phrases as a sentence with no verb. eg. Heat that would skin you alive.
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Last Train from Liguria
Last Train from Liguria by Christine Dwyer Hickey (Paperback - 1 April 2010)
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