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review 2015-12-19 19:47
The Christmas Train by Rexanne Becnel
The Christmas Train - Rexanne Becnel

Full review on my blog.

4.5 Stars

The Christmas Train is the story of Anna and Eva. Anna is a sweet little 10-year-old girl who lives with Nana Rose, her grandmother. After the inevitably sad death of Nana Rose, her mother decides she can’t take care of Anna and sends her to live with her dad in Iowa; a man Anna has never met. It is on her journey on “the Christmas train” that Anna meets Miss Eva, an older woman who thinks she’s on a train to her villa in Germany in pre-World War II. Having had such a close relationship with her grandmother, Anna sees a little of her grandmother in Miss Eva and so we follow them as their lives become intertwined in a friendship that will melt your heart and give you all the feels.

This is a feel good story, with lovable characters and a warm positive message. It’s impossible not to fall for Anna. She’s this adorable 10 year old that thinks and behaves like a grown up. Miss Eva, even though she’s the grown up that acts like a lost 10 year old, you can’t not fall for her in her time of need. As a family member of someone who is struggling with senile dementia, it was impossible not to feel compassion for Miss Eva.

My favorite character is Nana Rose. You gotta love Nana Rose! Find out what I loved about her in the full review on my blog.

If you’re looking for a short and cozy Christmas story to read curled up in a blanket with a cup of hot cocoa with marshmallows and candy canes, this is the book for you. If you are traveling during this Christmas season and you need reading material, this is the book for you and your journey. It will warm your heart, make your trip more cozy but most importantly it will make you want to be aware of the people travelling with you. Who knows, maybe you will meet your “Anna” or your “Miss Eva” on your Christmas bus, plane or train. If you do, you will be blessed.

 

 

BUY ON AMAZON US | BUY ON AMAZON UK

 

DISCLOSURE STATEMENT
I received an Electronic copy of this book but was not financially compensated in any way nor obliged to review. The opinions expressed are my own and are based on my personal experience while reading it. This post contains affiliate links
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review 2015-12-12 07:19
"The Christmas Train" by David Baldacci - surely all his books can't be this bad?
The Christmas Train - David Baldacci

"The Christmas Train" is the first of four books I've bought to try and read myself into the Christmas spirit. It didn't go so well.

 

The start of the book was so sickly sweet, I thought it might raise my blood sugar enough to push me over into type two diabetes. I persisted because it's a Christmas book and a certain amount of schmaltz was to be expected and I hoped things would get better when the book go into its stride.

 

The book never got into its stride. It stumbled along from scene to scene, clumsily structured and underwritten.

 

David Baldacci seemed to be trying to do some kind of homage to Mark Twain but ended up simply emphasizing the gap between Twain's storytelling ability and his own.

 

I could have forgiven the cardboard characters in the supporting cast and the inept attempts at some kind of magical realism, and the over-long info-dumps and pro-Amtrack propaganda that sat in this under-cooked Christmas Pudding of a book, as indigestible as a sixpence, if only the main character, Tom Langdon had been worth caring about. Instead I got an implausible, inconsistent, cipher of a man who, it seemed to me, was a self-absorbed, immature, manipulative, prankster who didn't seem up to the task of being the romantic lead.

 

The book is narrated by Tim Matheson. He did the dialogue reasonably well but the prose dragged him down with its mediocrity no matter how much seasonal cheer he tried to inject.

 

The only thing that made it worth trudging through the slush of this book for seven hours were the insights into the, to my European eyes, peculiar attitude of Americans to passenger trains. I use trains for long journeys all the time. These days, the high-speed, high-tech trains are a viable competitor to planes for many business trips, yet here they were presented as a dying anachronism. Still, given how bad the rest of the book was, I'm not sure I can rely on this information.

 

This was my first David Baldacci book. I assume, as the book cover declares him to be a "Number One International Bestselling Author", they can't all be this bad but my experience of  "The Christmas Train" doesn't encourage me to find out.

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review 2015-12-06 20:50
The Christmas Train
The Christmas Train - David Baldacci

By:  David Baldacci

ASIN: B000776K4Q
Narrated by: Tim Matheson
Release Date: 12/03/04
Publisher: Hachette Audio

Format:  Audio

My Rating:  4 Stars

 

A  huge David Baldacci fan, enjoyed THE CHRISTMAS TRAIN, an ideal book for the holiday season- An uplifting and lighthearted journey.

A bit of a wanderlust, a lover of trains; Mysterious, intriguing---have always wanted to take a ride cross country-- so adventurous. A charming book - The audio offered nice effects, making it realistic, setting the mood, with vivid descriptions.

The narrator Tim Matheson delivered an excellent performance, reminding me a little of Richard Paul Evans’ heartwarming books, centered around the holiday season.

Full of colorful memorable characters: from New Orleans jazz, funny eccentric older ladies, actors, movie producers, and writers.

Tom Langdon is the main character and writer taking the train to California to see his girlfriend, to go skiing in Tahoe for the holidays. Ironically, he runs into his former love Eleanor, whom he has never gotten over who is now a big movie director.

From romance, snow storms, a thief, undercover folks, Max the movie guy and a staff full of fabulous friendly Amtrak employees – making this a humorous and fun trip.

Makes you want to plan a train trip soon to meet all the fun people along the journey, in a slower-paced time. 


“It's not getting from A to B. It's not the beginning or the destination that counts. It's the ride in between...This train is alive with things that should be seen and heard. It's a living, breathing something -- you just have to want to learn its rhythm.” --― David Baldacci, The Christmas Train 

 

“Two people can care for each other but not want the same things.”
― David Baldacci, The Christmas Train

Source: www.goodreads.com/review/show/547946031
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text 2014-11-16 04:59
Reading progress update: I've read 100%.
The Christmas Train - Rexanne Becnel

First Christmas book of the season for holiday bookish bingo.

 

Even though at times they are too good to be true, the characters are just what this story needs. The 10year old girl acts like a grown up and the grown up acts like a lost 10 year old. And Nana Rose. You gotta love Nana Rose...to me she's the MC.

 

I cried in the end! Such a lovely short Christmas story about a father and daughter who discover the big unbreakable bond they share. Happy tear jerking ending. Sweet message about love and family. Good read for the season, for when you're in the mood for something similar to Miracle on 34th Street or a Hallmark-ish Chrsitmas story.

 

Happy Merry Christmas.

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review 2014-10-20 04:48
The Christmas Train
The Christmas Train - Rexanne Becnel

By: Rexanne Becnel 

ISBN: 9781476779843

Publisher: Gallery, Threshold, Pocket Books 

Publication Date:  11/17/2014

Format:  Other

My Rating:  5 Stars  

 

A special thank you to Gallery, Threshold, Pocket Books and NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review. 


The Christmas Train by Rexanne Becnel is one of the most inspiring and beautiful Christmas books, I have read this season! A remarkable and heartwarming story of the value of family, love, and responsibility and the devastating repercussions of losing the people you most loved.

Anna is ten years old and unfortunately, has a mom who dumped her at her grandmother’s house when she was three and has not been involved in her life since. She has been living with her beloved Nana Rose, until she died. She misses her and now she has no one.

Her mom got pregnant in college and when the father did not want to marry her, she did not allow him to be a part of his daughter’s life and has never met her. Now since Nana Rose is not around to take care of Anna, she calls Tom (Anna’s father) to let him know she is putting her on a train and he is to take over from here.

Tom has never mentioned his daughter to his parents, his family, nor his girlfriend. Now Anna will be showing up on a train and he knows nothing about how to take care of a ten year old daughter and how will he explain her to everyone? Poor little Anna is allowed only to take a few things on her trip and after her Nana dies, she finds a present from her and packs it carefully for her special Christmas gift.

Since the train does not allow a ten year old to travel alone, the wacko mom gets on the train and finds a person traveling to the same destination, and pretty much says, look after my daughter, bye. This older German woman, Eva in her seventies and has dementia. She is confused and thinks she is going home to visit her brother for Christmas (pre-World War II). She is afraid of everyone in a uniform as she thinks they are Nazi and the war is still going on. She is back in time when she was escaping, homeless, afraid, and hungry and wants to reconnect with her family. She is a lovely woman who loves family, traditions, and Christmas.

Anna on the other hand wants to take care of Eva, as this woman reminds her of her grandmother and this stranger is really the only person she knows, since she has never met her dad and has no idea what to expect when she arrives.

As these two become close on their long train journey, it is apparent Eva is losing touch with reality and Anna is the one taking care of her. At the destination, Eva thinks Tom is her brother, Karl and Anna is so protective of her new friend, she cannot leave Eve at the train station and winds up going home with them. At Anna’s insistence Tom agrees to bring the woman home while trying to locate her family.

Soon Anna and Tom learn the true meaning of family and love through Eva. A story which will make you cry and smile for a heartwarming Christmas tale. If Eva could search to the last days of her life through decades, for the family she loved, then Tom could do the same.

I am a sucker for train adventures as find them intriguing. Fans of The Christmas Train by David Baldacci and Richard Paul Evans annual Christmas books will enjoy, as well as those who enjoy special Christmas miracles.

 

Source: www.goodreads.com/review/show/1082959458
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