The Railwayman’s Wife by Ashley Hay

The Railwayman’s Wife by Ashley Hay

In a small town on the land’s edge, in the strange space at a war’s end, a widow, a poet and a doctor each try to find their own peace, and their own new story.

In Thirroul, in 1948, people chase their dreams through the books in the railway’s library. Anikka Lachlan searches for solace after her life is destroyed by a single random act. Roy McKinnon, who found poetry in the mess of war, has lost his words and his hope. Frank McKinnon is trapped by the guilt of those his treatment and care failed on their first day of freedom. All three struggle with the same question: how now to be alive.

Written in clear, shining prose and with an eloquent understanding of the human heart, The Railwayman’s Wife explores the power of beginnings and endings, and how hard it can be sometimes to tell them apart. It’s a story of life, loss and what comes after; of connection and separation, longing and acceptance. Most of all, it celebrates love in all its forms, and the beauty of discovering that loving someone can be as extraordinary as being loved yourself.

A story that will break your heart with hope.

┬áThe Railwayman’s wife follows three people during a year that will test them all and find them struggling to put their lives on the right path.

We follow Anikka Lachlan, who is dealing with a tragic event that happened on her daughters tenth birthday.
A poet who has lost his words, Roy McKinnon and doctor Frank Draper who is dealing with his own demons about what he witnessed at the concentration camps.
Will the three manage to start living again or are they destined to just exist?

It’s hard to describe the story that deals with such tragedies as anything other than sad. From almost the first page I was drawn into a world that at times felt a little melancholy but which, without a doubt was beautiful written.
It is an emotional journey, that had you turning the pages in search of hope for the characters.
People who I had found myself invested in, people who deserved happiness in life.

The Railwaymans Wife, certainly got me thinking, I’ve often heard how the Second World War affected Europe.
But I was never taught the extent it had on the world, not once whilst studying GCSE history, did we ever hear about Australia and it’s role within the war.
So through the eyes of Frank Draper, my history lesson evolved and my emotions grew deeper.

This book taught me a lot, not just through the history behind the words but also how deep love and events can run through the veins,


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  1. January 16, 2014 / 3:42 pm

    Yes, it was interesting to learn how WW2 affected folk so far away, very thought provoking. We loved the way the book really transported the reader to NSW, I could really visualise the storyline in the beautiful scenery (and amongst the puffing trains!)

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