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The Railwayman's Wife

3.42  ·  Rating details ·  2,101 ratings  ·  458 reviews
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 unexpectedl
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published April 5th 2016 by Atria Books (first published 2013)
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Average rating 3.42  · 
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 ·  2,101 ratings  ·  458 reviews

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When I started this book I thought to myself "what beautiful, descriptive writing." And it was. Lovely lyrical descriptions of scenery and wonderful observations of life. However after a while it became like too much icing on the cake and there was really very little cake. Although some pretty major events occurred along the way very little was actually made of them. The characters also slipped by me, all of them people who appeared to be more sensitive and more feeling than the rest of the huma ...more
Feb 10, 2016 rated it liked it

Sweet, so delightfully sweet! This was just what I needed to neutralize the vile, wretched depravity I experienced reading Karin Slaughter’s Pretty Girls. The Railwayman’s Wife is the polar opposite. Think the sensation of premium Swiss milk chocolate gently melting on your tongue. Or maybe a glorious sunset over the ocean, the shimmering waves alive with a myriad of colors as dusk ushers in the night … ahhhh!

The story takes place in Thirroul, New South Wales, Australia three years afte
Shelleyrae at Book'd Out

For over a week I have been trying to write a review of the Railwayman’s Wife but can’t seem to get past a few random notes and half formed sentences. Not even to re-articulate the plot except for a few basics. There is no reason for this to be so difficult, I liked The Railwayman’s Wife well enough, it’s a character driven novel, set post WW2 in a small coastal village in southern New South Wales, exploring the pain of grief and loss. A wife, Annika, loses a much loved husband to a tragic accid
Anikka, Isabel and Mac Lachlan were happy; their lives were peaceful, full of love and dreams to be fulfilled. The war was finally over, it had been for three years – but people were still grieving for those lost, and the survivors were slowly coming home. Roy McKinnon, a teacher before the war, arrived at his sister Iris’ home to try to continue his life. His teaching was over, he had no patience anymore, but the poetry he wrote before the war just wouldn’t come to him. Frank Draper was a docto ...more
Dale Harcombe
Nov 06, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Any book that starts with a kaleidoscope, which is the present Ani and Mac buy for their daughter Isabel’s tenth birthday, was always going to have me reading further. I love kaleidoscopes, remember them from my own childhood and find it interesting to see them coming back into the shops.
Anikka or Ani is very easy to relate to. Her daughter Isabel is older than her years but it works, because that is often the way an only child will be especially when tragedy intervenes in her life, as it does f
Booooooorrrrrrrriiiiing! Descriptions. Endless Descriptions. Descriptions describing descriptions. Descriptions that may have been beautifully written if only I hadn't zoned out halfway through every paragraph. A sad story at its core but way too much poetic fluff, demeaning the intentionally abrupt ending.

I received a free copy through Goodreads giveaways.
Megan Johnson
Despite hearing many great things about this book, I for some reason kept putting off getting to it. Upon picking it up, I was immediately drawn into the story, it's beautiful writing, and the deep emotion that it contains. But the more I continued to read, the more those things started to big things down.

The Railwayman's Wife is the story of Ani and Mac, Isabelle, Roy, Frank, and the small railway town that shapes their lives. Some families have been greatly affected by the war, others in diff
Jan 31, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I savoured every word every page. First class well written with words that flowed throughout the story. The Railwayman's Wife is set in Australia 1948. This story starts of as a very happy married couple, Ani and Mac with their daughter. Then tragically Ani's husband Mac dies in a freak accident. Ani is adamant that there has been a mistake and still expects her husband to come home for dinner. Ani is offered a job at the library of the Railway Institute. Will Anikka Lachlan accept this offer no ...more
Nov 11, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
There is not a lot of action in this touching novel. It is very much a book about ideas and feelings. The mood of the book is dominated by the physical beauty and tranquil lifestyle of the seaside town of Thirroul, NSW, a few years after the end of World War Two. Three of the main characters share a common element - they have been impacted by senseless death, and struggle to come to terms with it, some more successfully than others.

For me the outstanding feature of this poignant tale is the exqu
Lauren K
The Railwayman’s Wife is the latest novel by Australian author Ashley Hay. It’s set in the aftermath of World War II in Thirroul, a coastal town in the south of Sydney, Australia. The protagonist Anikka “Ani” Lachlan, lives a life of simplicity with a young family- husband Mack and 10 year old daughter Isabella- who has remained physically unscathed by the war.

Ani’s comfortable life is turned upside down when her husband, a railwayman is killed in a train accident. Shocked and overwhelmed by gr
Feb 17, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.5 stars

Narrator: Edwin Wren

This book was very beautiful, and the best word I can use to describe it is soulful. It's written in an almost melodic way, and it was a wonderful one to listen to on audio particularly with Edwina Wren's narration as it was beautiful. It was a quiet book about three people in a seaside Australian town who were all broken in some way and learning how to mend, with the main character being a widow called Annika Lachlan. I probably would have given this four stars if i
Elizabeth of Silver's Reviews
Feb 03, 2016 rated it really liked it

Living without Mac was like not living for Ani, but she had to make the best of it. When she moved to Thirroul, Ani thought it would be wonderful for the rest of her life, but the railroad accident changed it all.

Everything reminded Ani of Mac. The slightest sound or sight would trigger memories

THE RAILWAYMAN'S WIFE moves back and forth between the times before the railroad accident and after the accident and the war.

THE RAILWAYMAN'S WIFE is beautifully written with wonderful description and has
Jennifer (JC-S)
‘She had never appreciated before the lovely anonymity of the unremarkable life.’

It’s 1948, and in Thirroul, south of Sydney in coastal New South Wales, Annika (Ani) Lachlan lives with her husband Mackenzie (Mac) and their daughter Isabel. When Mac, a railway man, is killed in a tragic work-related accident, Ani needs to forge a new life for herself and Isabel. She is offered a job at the Railway Institute Library, and this enables her to reconnect with other members of the community. Suffering
Grace {Rebel Mommy Book Blog}
Mar 25, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: arc
Set a couple of years after WWII, Annika and her husband Mac along with their daughter are carrying on with their lives. That is until a tragic accident takes the life of Mac leaving Annika and their daughter alone. Annika accepts a job at the Railway Institute’s library. While Annika tries to find her way now so do Frank and Roy, now home after the war. They are still so deeply affected and trying to figure out how to live life again. Can all three find their way?

This book just sounded
Bree T
It is 1948 and the Second World War is not long over. Those that survived are still making their way home and the scars are still obvious. Anikka Lachlan has been married to Mac for over 10 years and they live in Thirroul, a town on the northern outskirts of Wollongong in New South Wales with their daughter Isabel. Mac drives the trains and their life revolves around the hiss and steam of the engines as they make their way to and from the city.

Then Mac is taken from her in a random event that ma
Jan 29, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Railwayman’s Wife is the second novel by Australian author, Ashley Hay. It is set in Thirroul, on the south coast of New South Wales, in 1948. Living in post-war New South Wales with her husband, Mackenzie and her ten-year-old daughter, Isabel, Anikka Lachlan counts herself fortunate to have survived the war without the losses suffered by so many. But then Mac, a railwayman, is killed in a train accident, and Ani’s life suddenly becomes unrecognisable. She is offered a job in the Railway Ins ...more
Historical Fiction
Find this and other reviews at: http://flashlightcommentary.blogspot....

Ashley Hay’s The Railwayman's Wife was a done deal the moment I read the blurb. I’m addicted to WWII and am utterly incapable of saying no when considering a novel that relates to the conflict. I jumped in at the first opportunity and was ultimately impressed by what I discovered between these pages.

The novel is reasonably paced and is in many ways well-suited to subtleties of the coastal village in which it is set. The dram
Jessica McCann
Jan 04, 2016 rated it really liked it
This book knocked me on my behind, in so many ways. The lush, lyrical writing pulled me through the pages, tapping into all my senses with descriptions of the Australian coast, rocky cliffs, steamy railways, smoky bushfires, brilliant sun and sky. The description of a mountain hike in the rain left me exhilarated and breathless. A birthday gift for the main character’s daughter, a kaleidoscope, becomes a literary tool and theme running through the book – the way if filters light, changes and shi ...more
Oct 16, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: aww14
This is another novel about the aftermath of loss. Hay weaves the stories of two main characters: Annika, whose husband is killed in a train accident and Roy, who has returned from the Second World War, unable to find the poetic impulse that led him to write powerful poems about the war. The novel is set in the author’s home town of Thirroul, south of Sydney, and best known as the place where D H Lawrence wrote Kangaroo.

Books and writing (especially poetry) are important in the novel. Ani loves
Not as good as A Hundred Small Lessons, also by Ashley Hay. This one felt more wordy and with less of a plot, more description. It felt a bit like literary fiction, which is never my favourite genre. An enjoyable enough read, but not something I would rave over. ...more
Melissa iorio
Dec 12, 2015 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Readers of historical fiction, books w/books, family, drama, hope, beautifully scenery/story
Recommended to Melissa by: Goodreads First Reads Program Atria Books
Review to come....

I've been a member of Goodreads since 2011 and never have I been so compelled to come to the review box before I've read the book. The synopsis is what touched and grabbed my Heart. It's what made my eyes well up with tears. Some just really get you that way. Then I learned I was lucky enough too have won a copy from the Goodreads First Reads Program and Atria Books/Simon & Schuster.

In ask the years I've come to the review box only a couple of times before I've read the book b
Rachael McDiarmid
Feb 20, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What a beautifully written book. I found this a delight even though it is essentially a book about life, death, love, grief and remembrance. Set post WWII it tells the story of Ani, her husband Mac, her daughter, and their south coast community. It is intertwined with a few others including the war poet Roy McKinnon who has lost his ability to write after coming home from the war and Dr Draper, a difficult man who makes Ani feel awkward at times. The grief that Ani goes through and how life can ...more
May 27, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
It was a lovely read but I didn't love it and have finished it feeling like perhaps I have missed an important point of it.

Perhaps it isn't mean to have a point but I just couldn't see that it needed to end the way it did.

The scenery and imagery was lovely, and it was a lovely read but not a page turner for me.

It has left me a little bit flat.
Miriam Smith (A Mother’s Musings)
Not for me at the moment, may return to at a later date.
Kelsi H
Jan 04, 2016 rated it it was amazing
The Railwayman’s Wife is a quiet, thoughtful novel set in the aftermath of World War II. In the small coastal town of Thirroul, in New South Wales, Australia, Anikka Lachlan lives with her husband Mac and ten-year-old daughter Isabel. It is 1948, and their lives are filled with the comfort and joy they find with each other. When Mac is killed suddenly in a railway accident, Ani and Isabel are devastated, uncertain how to carry on without him.

While the novel focuses on Anikka, there are also many
In Thirroul in 1948 the sound of the railway is a steady presence in Annika Lachlan’s life. Then one day the trains don’t run – there has been an accident further up the line, Annika is told, and her husband Mac’s life has been lost. Suddenly widowed and alone with her eleven year old daughter Bella, Ani is forced to take a job as librarian in the small town’s library.

Enveloped in her grief but forced out of solitude by her new job, Ani comes into contact with other hurt souls. Roy McKinnon, a p
Mar 15, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: arc
The Railwayman’s Wife by Ashley Hay is one of those stories that needed to marinate a bit before attempting to write or talk about it. Not because I found fault with the book; it’s quite the contrary. I needed to time to reflect on this story that connected with me on a deep level in its themes of life goes on and the positive effect we can have on another’s healing.

Anikka and Mac are happily married with a young daughter, Isabelle, having escaped the pains of a lengthy world war when that happi
Angela Smith
This book for the most part was good, but the ending wasn't quite like I expected it to turn out. It is hard to expand on this without giving major spoilers away so I will have to talk around it. The story is set in Australia in post WW2. The book starts out with the main protagonist in the story, Ani Lachlan disturbed by the sound of a braking train while she is reading a book, which quickly moves on to her daughter's birthday (Bella) and Ani and her husband, Mac's search for a kaleidoscope as ...more
Feb 01, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: arc
3.5 rounded down. Here's a story of what happens when a husband's death occurs after WWII. The writing is very good and there's lots of it to describe the feelings and life changes Ani, the widow, makes. It's a book to be read slowly.

One reason to read it slowly is the poetry, and first I suspected our Ashley Hay was a poet dressed in novelist's clothes...but no, the poems spring from different poets and credit is given to all. Other poets are mentioned casually as if the reader is familiar wit
A beautifully written story. Mac and Ani live south of Sydney on the coast at Thirroul - the setting of Kangaroo by D.H. Lawrence. Mac is a first generation and Ani a second generation immigrant and together they have Isobel. When Mac is killed at work in a railway accident, Ani is offered the job of local librarian. In the library she speaks to Roy, the poet, and Frank, the doctor. Roy and Frank have returned from the war but not really returned to life. All three have to negotiate the move fro ...more
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Around the Year i...: The Railwayman's Wife, by Ashley Hay 1 15 Jul 01, 2016 10:48AM  

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Ashley Hay’s new novel, A Hundred Small Lessons, was published in Australia, the US and the UK and was shortlisted for categories in the 2017 Queensland Literary Awards.

Set in her new home city of Brisbane, it traces the intertwined lives of two women from different generations through a story of love, and of life. It takes account of what it means to be mother or daughter; father or son and tell

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40 likes · 3 comments
“Such fascinating things, libraries. She closes her eyes. She could
walk inside and step into a murder, a love story, a complete account
of somebody else’s life, or mutiny on the high seas. Such potential;
such adventure—there’s a shimmer of malfeasance in trying other
ways of being.”
That is marriage, he thought, remaking yourself in someone else’s image. And who knew where the truth of it began or would end?” 3 likes
More quotes…