The Railwayman’s Wife by Ashley Hay (Book Review)

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Book Tour in exchange for sharing my thoughts with you in an honest review.

The Railwayman’s Wife by Ashley Hay (Book Review)The Railwayman's Wife by Ashley Hay
Published by: Atria Books
Genres: Historical Fiction
Pages: 288
My Rating:
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Amidst the strange, silent aftermath of World War II, a widow, a poet, and a doctor search for lasting peace and fresh beginnings in this internationally acclaimed, award-winning novel.

When Anikka Lachlan’s husband, Mac, is killed in a railway accident, she is offered—and accepts—a job at the Railway Institute’s library and searches there for some solace in her unexpectedly new life. But in Thirroul, in 1948, she’s not the only person trying to chase dreams through books. There’s Roy McKinnon, who found poetry in the mess of war, but who has now lost his words and his hope. There’s Frank Draper, trapped by the guilt of those his medical treatment and care failed on their first day of freedom. All three struggle to find their own peace, and their own new story.

But along with the firming of this triangle of friendship and a sense of lives inching towards renewal come other extremities—and misunderstandings. In the end, love and freedom can have unexpected ways of expressing themselves.

The Railwayman’s Wife explores the power of beginnings and endings, and how hard it can sometimes be to tell them apart. 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.




The Railwayman’s Wife explores the power of beginnings and endings, and how hard it can sometimes be to tell them apart. 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.

I joined the HFVBT book tour for The Railwayman’s Wife and oh friends, The Railwayman’s Wife is so good! THIS is the kind of book I love to snuggle up in bed and read late in to the night. In fact I used, “It’s been a long day so I’m going to go to bed a bit early tonight” as an excuse a couple of times just so I could squeeze in a couple of extra minutes with this book. It was that good. 

Book Review: The Railwayman's Wife by Ashley Hay

I can readily admit that this book won’t appeal to everyone but, for readers like me, it was near perfect. I love when authors write heavy detailed descriptions because I love to feel fully immersed in a story. I love feeling like all five senses are on high alert and Ashley Hay did exactly that. The descriptions were intricate and the story pulled on my heartstrings so hard. The love between Ani and Mac was so strong that when Mac died Ani just wasn’t sure how she could possibly go on. The grief felt so real. 

Did I cry? Yes. I’m not even ashamed to admit it. Fortunately I keep a box of tissues by my bed for exactly this kind of occasion although I’ll admit that it’s been a while since a book pushed me to feeling this kind of emotion. 

It’s a love story but it’s also a story of loss and the struggle to start again. It’s sad but it’s the best kind of sad. It’s the tragic poetic kind of sad that feels all too real and shows the ultimate resilience of the human heart and soul. If you don’t mind a story that will break your heart yet make you cheer for those who have the courage to start over then The Railwayman’s Wife is the book for you. As for me, I loved it!

If it’s not enough to take my word for it, check out what others have to say about The Railwayman’s Wife:

“Hay immerses the reader in Mac and Ani’s relationship, splicing flashbacks to happier times into the central narrative. Hay’s poetic gifts are evident in her descriptions of the wild coastal landscape and Roy’s measured verse. This poignant, elegant novel delves into the depth of tragedy, the shaky ground of recovery, and the bittersweet memories of lost love. Fans of Jodi Daynard and Susanna Kearsley will adore this.” -Booklist

“Exquisitely written and deeply felt…a true book of wonders.” –Geraldine Brooks, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Secret Chord

“An absorbing and uplifting read.” –M.L. Stedman, author of The Light Between Oceans

“This is a book in which grief and love are so entwined they make a new and wonderful kind of sense.” –Fiona McFarlane, author of The Night Guest

About the Author

Ashley Hay is the internationally acclaimed author of four nonfiction books, including The Secret: The Strange Marriage of Annabella Milbanke and Lord Byron, and the novels The Body in the Clouds and The Railwayman’s Wife, which was honored with the Colin Roderick Award by the Foundation for Australian Literary Studies and longlisted for the Miles Franklin Literary Award, the most prestigious literary prize in Australia, among numerous other accolades. She lives in Brisbane, Australia.

For more information please visit Ashley Hay’s website.

Now, grab yourself a cute cat sweater, toss a copy of The Railwayman’s Wife in to your book tote, and get reading!

Ashley LaMar
Ashley lives in Atlanta, Georgia with her husband and two small dogs. If she’s not writing or blogging, she can usually be found cooking, reading, or watching baseball. She also loves horror movies.

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