2021 Reviews · historical fiction · new release

New Release Book Review: The Night Train To Berlin by Melanie Hudson

Title: The Night Train To Berlin

Author: Melanie Hudson

Published: November 3rd 2021

Publisher: One More Chapter GB

Pages: 400

Genres:  Fiction, Historical

RRP: $29.99

Rating: 4 stars

‘A mesmerising story of love and hope…the best book that I have read this year’ Penny, Reader Review

The most heartbreaking historical fiction novel you will read this year from the USA Today bestseller!
A train journey into the past
A love that echoes through time

Paddington Station, present day

A young woman boards the sleeper train to Cornwall with only a beautiful emerald silk evening dress and an old, well-read diary full of sketches. Ellie Nightingale is a shy violinist who plays like her heart is broken. But when she meets fellow passenger Joe she feels like she has been given that rarest of gifts…a second chance.

Paddington Station, 1944

Beneath the shadow of the war which rages across Europe, Alex and Eliza meet by chance. She is a gutsy painter desperate to get to the frontline as a war artist and he is a wounded RAF pilot now commissioned as a war correspondent. With time slipping away they make only one promise: to meet in Berlin when this is all over. But this is a time when promises are hard to keep, and hope is all you can hold in your heart.

From a hidden Cornish cove to the blood-soaked beaches of Normandy in June 1944, this is an epic love story like no other. Perfect for fans of Pam Jenoff, Kate Quinn, Rachel Hore and Kate Furnivall.

Review:

British author Melanie Hudson experienced a great deal of success with her second novel The Last Letter from Juliet, which was a USA Today bestseller. Hudson’s latest release, The Night Train to Berlin is a touching historical novel, that is rich in emotion, sentiment, love, adversity, acceptance and hope. Filled with messages of strength and endurance, The Night Train To Berlin is an inspiring wartime read.

Providing a lasting reminder about the power of all-encompassing love and the need to embrace hope when life is tough, The Night Train To Berlin is a dual timeline style novel that crosses the present day with life in wartime Britain. In contemporary times, a modest young woman steps on board a train and little does she know that her life will be forever changed by this journey. This young woman named Ellie is acquainted with another passenger on board the train who will mend her broken heart. This quiet violinist’s story is interchanged with the lives of Alex and Eliza in the year 1944. As the war wreaks havoc across the world, fate brings Alex and Eliza together. Despite their very different pathways in life and current responsibilities, they vow to meet again once the war is over in Berlin. But life has other ideas for this war artist and former pilot, can they keep their promise to one another? Will hope trump sadness in this heartfelt wartime story?

Melanie Hudson has been publishing books since 2012, but this is my first taste of the bestselling author’s work. Based on my appreciation of The Night Train To Berlin, I’ve added Hudson’s three previous releases to my wish list. I hope to read all three novels in the near future as I enjoyed The Night Train To Berlin very much. Melanie Hudson has a very engaging style of writing.

Nothing beats a good past to present narrative and The Night Train To Berlin is a fantastic example of a book from this engrossing genre. Hudson does a fine job of spacing out her narrative for the best interests of her reader. The perspectives in this tale alternate evenly between Ellie in the present day and Eliza in the past. Hudson also adds a couple of extra chapter perspectives from Alex in the past, which proved to be quite vital to the overall narrative picture. Ellie’s contemporary train journey is also sign posted with location updates. I really loved this arm of the novel and I found I looked forward to each new setting change. I am familiar with many of the areas included in Ellie’s modern train journey, having lived in Britain and undertaken a good many train trips while living in the south of England. I really relished this nostalgic train based sojourn down memory lane.

Hudson brings to light the wartime experiences, the different vocation choices, the heartbreak and challenges of living in a country engulfed by the onset of the war. The past threads in The Night Train To Berlin provide a realistic and informed picture of life during this trying period in our history books. With hope, friendship, support, aspiration, horror, risk, tragedy, destiny and courage leading the way, The Night Train To Berlin is an enlightening tale of the past. I appreciated the depiction of some strong and determined women of the war, thanks to Hudson’s character selections. I admired the lead character Eliza and I loved hearing about her adventures as an aspiring war artist. I’m really glad that Hudson chose to shine a light on this aspect of female participation during the Second World War.

A good deal of air time in The Night Train To Berlin is devoted to romance and this theme carried well across the two different timelines. Hudson is acutely aware of the high emotions and feelings associated with love during the wartime years. Hudson handles this aspect of The Night Train To Berlin with intuition, understanding and care. It is hard not to root for Alex and Eliza as they try their hardest to reunite, despite the chaos of war. In the present day, Ellie is a broken young woman with dreams and hopes for the future. I didn’t enjoy her journey as much as the past serving, but I still found Ellie’s story very readable. Hudson has definitely produced a story that will make your heart beat that touch harder as you become involved in the lives of these compelling characters.

The Night Train To Berlin shunts it way to the final station stop as a satisfactory conclusion is delivered to the reader. I would pitch Melanie Hudson’s book to historical fiction lovers and those who enjoy a well-crafted past to present story.  

The Night Train To Berlin by Melanie Hudson was published on 3rd November 2021 by One More Chapter GB. Details on how to purchase the book can be found here.

To learn more about the author of The Night Train To Berlin, Melanie Hudson visit here.

*Thanks extended to HarperCollins Books Australia for providing a free copy of this book for review purposes.

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