This book has been compared to the Hitchcock classic, Rear Window. I can agree with that description up to a point. But this book really didn’t live up to the hype for me. It took me far too long to get interested and I absolutely could not empathize with Rachel at all, there were too many times where I just wanted to smack her upside the head. Unfortunately, I had this experience with many of the other characters too.
Rachel rides the same train everyday and while on the train she passes by a particular house every day during the slowest part of her journey. She sees a couple and imagines what their life might be like, how happy they are. She has given them names and an amazing life. Until one day she sees something that she wishes she hadn’t. Something that shatters her illusions of the blissful life she was so sure this couple had.
Rachel learns that the missing woman in the papers is actually the woman she’s seen daily on her train ride. Rachel believes that she’s seen something that’s relevant to the investigation, but due to her drinking, makes her an unreliable witness. Instead of being a help to the investigation, she has tangled everything up to the point where no one wants to believe anything she has to say. She’s also in trouble with her ex-husband and his new wife, who wants to keep Rachel out of her life.
The story is told from the point of view of three women. Rachel, Megan and Anna. Something connects all three women even though they may not know it at the beginning. By the end of the book, all of the threads are tied together and you can see their connection. But it does take a very long time to get to this point and you have to go through some fairly agonizing chapters to get there.
I will say that the ending did surprise me somewhat. It was a fairly satisfying ending to the book. I just wish I could have identified with the characters more and actually been invested in what was happening to them.