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161 Reviews
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29 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars More beautiful stories from A M Smith
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...
Published on 24 Nov 2012 by Ms L

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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A Bit Rushed
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...
Published 16 months ago by Mrs. K. A. Wheatley


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29 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars More beautiful stories from A M Smith, 24 Nov 2012
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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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28 of 29 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Heart's Journey indeed, 12 Nov 2012
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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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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars special tales, 3 Dec 2012
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Marina J. Smit (Meteren, The Netherlands) - See all my reviews
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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
3.0 out of 5 stars A Bit Rushed, 7 July 2013
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Mrs. K. A. Wheatley "katywheatley" (Leicester, UK) - See all my reviews
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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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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Heart warming, 28 Dec 2012
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Mondoro (United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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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 It's not Precious, 16 July 2013
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Helen Welsh (Fife, Scotland) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Trains and Lovers: The Heart's Journey (Kindle Edition)
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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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sentimental Journey, 24 Dec 2012
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P. Moore "Janus" (Western Australia) - See all my reviews
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I am an unashamed Alexander McCall Smith fan. His capacity to remind us - gently always - that love and kindness are all that matter in getting us through our allotted span is unequaled. His writing is beautifully structured. and his consistent belief in the innate decency of ordinary people shines through as an antidote to today's endemic cynicism and schadenfreude.
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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
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This review is from: Trains and Lovers: The Heart's Journey (Kindle Edition)
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
5.0 out of 5 stars Loved it., 20 Sep 2014
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Shona Pringle (Scotland) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Trains and Lovers: The Heart's Journey (Kindle Edition)
Four short stories joined together and told by four strangers on a train journey. Unlikely, yes, that people would open up like this but that didn't matter to me. I found it all very insightful and bookmarked lots of pages to discuss at book club. I loved the atmosphere of the whole book and found the characters stories moving and realistic. Loved it!
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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
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This review is from: Trains and Lovers: The Heart's Journey (Kindle Edition)
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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Trains and Lovers: The Heart's Journey
Trains and Lovers: The Heart's Journey by Alexander McCall-Smith
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