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…
I finally got around to reading this book. And since I remember years ago that there was a lot of excitement around this book, including it being a Goodreads Choice winner (2015 I believe), and there was also a movie adaptation, I had really high expectations. Maybe that was part of it’s downfall for me, really.
Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed it while I was reading it and was usually interested to see what happened next. I wanted to know the answer to the mystery. I had my own suspicions and was really angling for a specific outcome that I thought would have been worthy of the intensity of hype around the book. Each character intrigued me in their own way, and the snippets I got from Anna and Megan drew me in each time. I didn’t dislike any of them, and was never disappointed when it switched perspectives.
What left me feeling lukewarm is that overall, my compulsion to read this was still fairly tepid. It didn’t truly grip me in the way that I want from a psychological mystery thriller kind of story. There were some unexpected plot elements thrown in that were a delicious surprise, but there were also some opportunities that I felt were missed out on. There isn’t a lot of actual action within the story, as it focuses on interpersonal questioning and scheming. Now that I’ve finished it, I feel like I will probably not think of it much ever again.
In the end, the ending was decent and the weave of the three central women’s lives was concluded well, if not exactly tidily. There’s still some open-endedness to the story, as what happened would mess everyone up mentally for sure. The openness appeals to me, as I can further imagine what would happen with the characters after the final page. But still – overall, I find myself longing for something closer to The Murder of Roger Ackroyd.