Midnight Train to Paris
Narrated by Tanya Eby
I have mixed feelings about this audiobook, and had to think about my review – and grades – for several days after I finished listening. There’s a lot I don’t like about this time travel story, from the clichéd language in sex-scenes to the use of first-person present tense to some odd coincidences in the plot. While ultimately an average story for me, I did love Tanya Eby’s narration.
Jillian Chambord, an investigative reporter in Washington, DC, has spent much of her career trying to bring down a Senator with a terrible link to her family. As Jillian is talking to her boss about the investigation, they’re interrupted by PI Samuel Kelly, a former CIA operative and ex-lover of Jillian’s. Samuel tells Jillian that her twin sister, Isla, and two other women have disappeared from the Orient Express in the Swiss Alps.
This sequence demonstrates Ms. Eby’s ability to distinguish clearly between characters. When speaking to her editor, Jillian is given a professional, competent voice while her editor has a slightly harder, but still feminine sound. Samuel has a more masculine voice and sounds like a no-nonsense police detective we might see on television.
Jillian insists on going with Samuel to Europe to find her sister. She quickly learns that her sister was engaged to a wealthy Frenchman and that in 1937 three other women disappeared from the Orient Express in the same location.
I had to suspend disbelief a few times to accept just how much seemed to happen in a very short period of time. Eventually Jillian and Samuel end up the Orient Express themselves and quickly slip into 1937 where they encounter two of the women who disappeared 75 years earlier. Will they be able to save these women, and if they do, will it help them save Isla? No matter what time period she’s in, Jillian is haunted by images of her sister in danger, crying out to her for help.
Throughout the story, Ms. Eby’s narration never falters. The French characters – both present and past – are given appropriate French accents, while the American and English characters have accents appropriate to their nationalities and class.
I was intrigued by the parallel mysteries in 1937 and 2012 and had high hopes for the setting. But while the narration is flawless, parts of the language used by the author were less than spectacular. Her descriptions of Jillian and Samuel’s feelings seem tired while some of their dialog sounded stilted. I also think the story would have been stronger if the sex scene – a classic example of sex at an inappropriate time and described in clichéd language – had been eliminated.
This time travel romance was originally a Kindle serial release, available in episodes, but is now available both as a full e-book and audiobook. While the characters definitely have their HEA – in a big way – the author also seems to leave open the possibility that they might appear again in a future book. Despite a lot of flaws, I still found much of the story entertaining and particularly liked the ending.
Breakdown of Grade – Narration: A and Book Content: C
Unabridged. Length – 7 hours 18 minutes