The Secret of the Night Train by Sylvia Bishop

We’re very happy today to be kicking off the blog tour for a wonderful MG book by Sylvia Bishop, the Secret of the Night Train. Smallest has read it, and will be contributing her thoughts after we’ve heard from Sylvia.

Book cover - The secret of the night train by Sylvia Bishop

Train no. 1: TGV Duplex (Paris – Munich)

In my new book, The Secret of the Night Train, Max Morel takes a journey from Paris to Istanbul on four trains. She is accompanied by a nun called Sister Marguerite, and must solve the mystery of a smuggled diamond. I was lucky enough to do this journey myself, and wrote a lot of the book on board. In this series of blog posts, I talk about my real journey, and how it informed the book.

So here we are on the first stop with Liveotherwise blog (AKA Paris – Munich)

Max begins her journey from Paris on the TGV Duplex train, a swanky blue double decker with comfy seats and soothing lighting and syrupy announcements in French and German. It leaves Paris at 3:55 – a nice, reasonable hour.

Lucky Max! For me, the TGV Duplex was train number 2. I had already crossed London on a deserted bus to get on the Eurostar horrendously early. And right before I went to sleep the night before, I managed to snap my glasses. So now I was wearing my contacts, but in case I needed anything in the night, I had my dodgily-sellotaped-together glasses perched on my head.

So I was tired, and surprised how homesick I felt. I have travelled by myself plenty of times, and I was not expecting this. I felt like a young child leaving home for the first time.

Dear reader, don’t let your kind heart break over my plight. The silver lining is so enormous it obliterates the meagre cloud. To avoid thinking about my homesickness, I did what I was there to do: I had seven hours on this train to start writing my story. And from my homesickness, Max was born. I didn’t know, until then, that she would battle homesickness on her journey. Now this drives her whole character.

There were so many useful little gems on that train. The weary-and-officious tut-pffff noises of the automatic doors seemed to announce the whole character of the policeman who would enter through them. Almost all the passengers left at Stuttgart, which really helped to narrow down Max’s investigations. Even the snapped glasses made an appearance, as our first suspect arrives on the scene with his glasses snapped – a bumbling British fool. An awful lot like yours truly.

Then from Munich, I started to really enjoy myself. But that’s another story.

Join us for the next stage of the journey tomorrow on Book Lover Jo’s blog

The Secret of the Night Train by Sylvia Bishop is out now, published by Scholastic (RRP £6.99) Buy at Amazon(affiliate link).

The drawback (from my point of view) of Smallest now loving to read is that I don’t get to share her reading experience in quite the same way as I used to. But we started the Secret of the Night Train in the time honoured way – I read the first two chapters aloud. It’s an excellent book for that, and rocks along nicely setting up the family and other characters in that first section. I really like Max, the protagonist, she’s lots of fun.

Then Smallest continued the journey by herself, so I’ll let her add her opinion of it all in her own words.

I enjoyed this book very much and I recommend it. The characters are two sided and the book is very adventurous. The train setting is genius and I think that many people my age would really enjoy it as it’s very exciting.

Basically, we like this book, and highly recommend it. Feel free to look it up 🙂

About Jax Blunt

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