24 Jul Eleven Lines To Somewhere by Alyson Rudd
Will Ryan and Sylvie’s journeys bring them together at last?
Travelling to work by Tube every day, Ryan is intrigued by a beautiful girl who always sits at the front carriage, reading her book. Too diffident to approach her directly, he begins to follow her discreetly only to discover her journey is never straightforward. Why does she get off at different stations each day? Swap to different lines? Sometimes spend hours on a random platform? Millie, as he calls her in his head, is an enigma.
But what is holding Ryan back from approaching her? The answer lies in his past, and the tragic loss of his beautiful girlfriend, Ellen, fifteen years ago when they were both young students. He knows he should move on – but how can he betray her memory?
And what of “Millie” herself? Glimpses into her point of view tell the reader that Sylvie (her real name) is a woman on a mission. Something is pulling her down into the Underground, and she can’t escape the eleven railway lines of the book’s title until her self-imposed task is complete.
Will Ryan be the one to help her fulfil her quest? And can she rescue him from his subconscious adherence to the past?
This is a beautifully-told story that explores grief, regret and guilt in all their many aspects. Aside from the sadness he feels at losing Ellen, Ryan and the rest of his family (mother Grace, and sister Hana) must come to terms with an even less recent tragedy before they can be happy.
But the story is not in any way depressing. Love is at its core – love for family, for friends and for that special someone who may be waiting around the corner, or indeed on the next Underground platform.
The writing is beautiful – author Alyson Rudd staked a claim in my heart with her enigmatic, lyrical debut fiction book, The First Time Lauren Paling Died, and I was a little anxious that no subsequent book could live up to it. But Ryan and Sylvie are such wonderful characters, their lives so intriguing, that I was instantly drawn into their story, quickly coming to love not just the protagonists but their friends and family, too. Ryan’s flatmate Naomi, his sister Hana, his mother Grace – all have their own challenges to face, their own stories to tell, in mini subplots that help balance the pace of the story and keep the plot grounded in reality.
A wonderful read from one of my favourite authors – OK, she’s only written two fiction books, but they’re so utterly brilliant that I recommend you read them both.
Published by HQ in hardback, RRP £12.99, also available in ebook and Audible format
About the author
Follow Alyson Rudd on Twitter @allyrudd_times