Review: The Railwayman’s Wife by Ashley Hay

Title: The Railwayman’s Wife
Author: Ashley Hay
Pages: 288
Genre: Historical Fiction
Source: Free ARC from NetGalley

Rating: C

Note: As stated under the Source (above), I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for my honest review (and trust me, honest is always what you’ll get).

Summary: In a small town on the Australian coast, several inhabitants have their lives drastically changed by World War II and an unrelated tragedy. As people begin to put their lives back together after terrible loss, they find unexpected solace in each other, and some measure of hope for the future.

Review: This book was a challenge for me. Not in the sense that it was difficult to read. Not in the sense that it was something I had to push through. More in the fact that I wanted to truly love it, but couldn’t. Nor did I dislike it! It’s sort of infuriatingly in between.

For the past couple of days, as I’ve been wrapping up the reading of this story, I’ve been struggling to find the appropriate descriptors for it. Or to figure out what exactly is wrong with it that I’m not as crazy for it as I feel I should be.

And the truth is, there isn’t a thing wrong with it. The writing is perfectly fine, the story is interesting, I like the main characters well enough. But it’s quiet. Subtle. Thoughtful. Gentle. Reflective. Sentimental. And these are not bad things for a book to be, but with the background of World War II, with an unexpected and tragic death, it seems to me I should have felt something. I should have cared more. And I didn’t.

Not once did I cry. Not once did I rail. Nor did I cross my fingers and hope that certain characters would find peace within each other because, while I was told they were suffering, I never felt their suffering. Me. Who cries at every little thing. Devoid of emotion.

And I wanted to love it, oh how I wanted to! There were some lovely sentences in this book. Beautiful, thoughtful sentiments. Magnificent descriptions. I certainly want to visit Australia more than ever! And there is no question in my mind that Ashley Hay has the goods. Sadly, I just didn’t find what I was looking for in this particular book.

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