Rachel catches the same commuter train every morning. She knows it will wait at the same signal each time, overlooking a row of back gardens. She’s even started to feel like she knows the people who live in one of the houses. ‘Jess and Jason’, she calls them. Their life – as she sees it – is perfect. If only Rachel could be that happy.
And then she sees something shocking. It’s only a minute until the train moves on, but it’s enough.
Now everything’s changed. Now Rachel has a chance to become a part of the lives she’s only watched from afar.
Now they’ll see; she’s much more than just the girl on the train…
Commuting is one of the worst things on the planet, I am convinced of it, and anyone who has had to live through a long commute – be it by train or car – will no doubt know the feeling of drifting off into your own world, imagining what it would be like to live in the houses you pass or live the lives of the people you see.
This seems even more reasonable for Rachel when you start to see just how miserable she is and how far her life has gone of the rails (no pun intended!). She has no job, drinks too much and rents a room from a friend because – after she and her husband separated – he kept the house she loved. Add to that said husband is now remarried with a perfect wife and a baby and it’s no wonder she daydreams about a life she could be living. A life she is convinced “Jess” and “Jason” live.
These aren’t their real names but ones she has created for a couple she sees most days on her trip into London. She has also created a vision of the perfect life they are living. She wants to be Jess, be loved by Jason. Then she sees in the local paper Jess is missing and decides she wants to try help find her. Unfortunately, her drinking makes her an unreliable witness and her erractic behaviour further dents her credibility and make people wonder if she is really trying to help or has some other motive.
It makes for a really good set-up to a really good story, made even better as it’s told not just by Rachel but also Jess and the new wife. With alternating chapters and the past and present slowly been revealed it seems all three women have more in common than they might think. It was like peeling layers of an onion as each secret was revealed and the story took another twist or turn. I have to say each secret made me like the women a little less though I did have some sympathy for how they needed up in their present situations. I just wouldn’t want to be their friends.
Normally not liking central characters would put me off a book but in this case because they were still compelling and there were some many twists and turns as secrets were revealed I couldn’t stop turning pages. It helps that it was well written and had a good pace. I understand now why so many people said they couldn’t put it down. I have to say that I have now joined these ranks and if – like me – you put off reading it because of the hype – I would recommend picking it up after all. I liked this a lot.