Dream Train

Charlotte Vale Allen, Author
Charlotte Vale Allen, Author Atheneum Books $0 (326p) ISBN 978-0-689-11987-3
Reviewed on: 01/01/1988
Release date: 01/01/1988
Joanna James, a photojournalist in her mid-30s, isn't as thrilled as one might expect when she receives a coveted assignment to ride the Orient Express to Venice for a five-day stay in the sumptuous Hotel Cipriani. Putting off a much needed rest, she flies to London to catch the famed luxury train. There she racks up not one, but two affairs with distinctly different men: Henry, a wryly funny Englishman who practically sleeps in three-piece suits, and Tyler, a wilder, creative genius. Although her journey on the Orient Express offers a respite from these swiftly overheating entanglements, Joanna finds it difficult to regain her accustomed, self-protective emotional detachment. As the train chugs sedately through the European countryside, she strikes up warm and intimate friendships with the other passengers. Everyone, it seems, has a deep, painful secret to share, and by the end of her trip, Joanna has begun to come to terms with the sad moments in her own past. Allen (Time/Steps, Illusions), again proves herself a skilled storyteller. Though conveniently dovetailed subplots and occasionally florid dialogue set a firmly commercial tone, her new novel shows a refreshing amount of human ambivalence and endearing missteps taken on the road to love and happiness. (April)
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