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A Transcontinental Affair

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3.60  ·  Rating details ·  2,362 ratings  ·  218 reviews
A sweeping tale of adventure and danger, innovation and corruption, and two women whose lives intertwine in unexpected ways on America’s first transcontinental train trip.

May 1870. Crowds throng the Boston station, mesmerized by the mechanical wonder huffing on the rails: the Pullman Hotel Express, the first train to travel from coast to coast. Boarding the train are
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Paperback, 329 pages
Published November 1st 2019 by Lake Union Publishing
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Jodi Daynard The word "homoerotic" implies that the novel is erotic. It's not. And on Amazon, my editor describes the novel beginning with "Two women fall in…moreThe word "homoerotic" implies that the novel is erotic. It's not. And on Amazon, my editor describes the novel beginning with "Two women fall in love..." So I believe the description is clear. "Love" is the key word, though, not "homo" or "erotic." The novel is also about America and the founding of the transcontinental railroad. It's a literary novel.(less)
This question contains spoilers… (view spoiler)
Jodi Daynard Hi, Nancy - My next book isn't about Louisa and Hattie. My hope was that every reader had his or her own vision of what might happen to them. So much…moreHi, Nancy - My next book isn't about Louisa and Hattie. My hope was that every reader had his or her own vision of what might happen to them. So much would be possible! No, my next novel is about a young New York heiress who gets dealt a personal blow on the eve of her coming-out ball and pulls a runner--up to Harlem! While there, she meets all the great jazz musicians of the day, and it changes her life. Stay tuned!(less)

Community Reviews

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Breanne Tuttle
Oct 04, 2019 rated it it was ok
I got this book as a kindle first reads and read the vast majority of it on an airplane. It was solidly meh. The description makes it sound way more exciting than it was. The story didn’t pick up until way past the halfway point. I thought it sounded promising, but ended up being more of a bore.
Ann Creel
Jun 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This lovely novel takes readers on a journey that features the most advanced train travel of the day, and also on an exploration of the human spirit, courage, and heart. Daynard not only creates great characters, she paints them with vivid colors and light. Each one is unique and fully developed, and you will yearn to know the outcomes all along the way.

Daynard has done impeccable research, and I felt I was taking the journey along with the characters. The love story in this novel surprised me
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ABookwormWithWine
/ 5

A Transcontinental Affair is my first time reading a novel by Jodi Daynard but it definitely won't be my last. This was such a great historical fiction novel, and one that I will remember for a long time to come.

A Transcontinental Affair focuses on the Pullman Hotel Express, which is the first train to travel cross-country from Massachusetts to California. Before reading this book I knew absolutely nothing about this train or even when the first train traveled from coast to coast (1870).
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Julie Bozza
I was so happy to see an LGBTQ title among my Kindle First Read offers this month - a free ebook for Amazon Prime members. I promptly snagged it, and I wanted so much to love it. I want to encourage Amazon to offer this sort of title just as often as possible!

Alas, I wasn't madly impressed with the book itself, though. It started slowly, with far too much historical scene-setting detail layered in. There was head-hopping to the point of dizziness, especially in those first chapters. Along the
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Debra
Oct 18, 2019 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Where's the disclaimer on this story. I would like to be told in advance the story is about a gay romance. I wouldn't have wasted my First Read opportunity on this book. Everybody skirts around the elephant in the room (book), but nobody has the nerve to call it like it is. I am not a homophobe. I'm just tired of having the whole gay agenda shoved down my throat or in this case snuck into my bedtime reading.
Trinity
As I read through the reviews of this book I was surprised and disappointed by the negative response simply because it is a romance between two women. The romance is clearly stated in the description of the book, there is no secret agenda, just unobservant readers.

When I saw a book in the Kindle First Reads about a romance between two women, I was pleasantly surprised. This is a genre that is underrepresented in the mainstream so it was refreshing to see it offered by Amazon. My disappointment
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Jool
Oct 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed this historical fiction. Another great work by author Jodi Daynard. She combines the history of the Pullman Express Hotel, the first train to go coast to coast across the U.S. This was in 1865 and was greatly descriptive of the luxurious train, the beauty of the untamed United States and the frontier towns and cities of the time.
Most interesting is the same sex love interest of two of the female passengers. You'll be turning pages to discover how this turns out; each of them have
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Peter Hogan
Jul 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
To my mind, much of historical fiction, in literature and TV, is merely contemporary drama in costume. That is because a realistic representation of a time gone past takes extensive research: it's hard work. One thing I love about Jodi Daynard's novels is that you can be sure she has done her homework and that even very minor details can be trusted as truthful. Add to that strong and well-rounded characters and a plot full of surprises, and you have a compelling read. Maybe if your taste runs to ...more
Karen
Oct 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
(I appreciate when a book reminds me in the title if it's fiction or non-.) I chose this based on the outraged reviews by some narrow-minded folks on Amazon; generally if it upsets bigots, it's a book for me, and that was indeed true in this case. I'm not sure how realistic the ending was but it gave me happy thoughts and I need those so I'm good with it.

Rating 5 stars to offset one of the uncalled for 1 stars.
Tonya
Oct 08, 2019 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This book started out really good and I learned a lot about traveling by train in the 1800s, but then the entire story went off the rails. I quit reading it and removed it from my device immediately. Doesn’t anyone write good clean stories anymore?
Andrea
I liked the idea of this more than the actual book. It has a fairly slow start, and I didn't find the plot or the romance particularly engaging. Also, some of the characters came across to me as stereotypes and/or somewhat flat.
Ana Popielnicki
Oct 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Fascinating

In a departure from the times of her previous novels (roughly a hundred years!), in this one we still get Jodi's signature historical accuracy and vivid narrative, which pull the reader into the story in such a way one practically experiences it as real. I thoroughly enjoyed meeting the extraordinary heroines, though I confess I didn't particularly like either of the two main characters. This, however, did not impact my enjoyment of the story, which is an indication of the author's
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Ann Creel
Jun 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This lovely novel takes readers on a journey that features the most advanced train travel of the day, but also on an exploration of the human spirit, courage, and heart. Daynard not only creates great characters, she paints them with vivid colors and light. Each one is unique and fully developed, and you will yearn to know the outcomes all along the way.

Daynard also shows evidence of impeccable research, and I felt I was taking the journey along with the characters. The love story in this novel
...more
Mystica
Nov 11, 2019 rated it liked it
May 1870 and this is history in the making. The first train to travel coast to coast is about to begin its journey and on board are myriad characters all going to San Francisco.

Two women Louisa and Hattie are also on the train. Louisa as a governess to two children along with their strange parents, and Hattie on a mission to marriage where Leland is waiting for her at the other end. Hattie is different for her times - bold, brash, innovative and clever. Louisa is sensitive, reserved and with a
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Thelma Adams
Aug 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Book an amazing trip back in time with A Transcontinental Affair. With complex heroines, impeccable prose, high drama and a view of the West as it was being won, this historical romance set on America's first transcontinental train trip in 1870 offers the perfect must-read novel for a long, leisurely rail journey -- or a commuter binge. Passionate, insightful, empathetic and unforgettable.
Laura Tharrett Cunningham
I love this!!

This was my first historical fiction that I really enjoyed. The book follows the journey of two women from different walks of life who actually form a strong bond after a week on a Transcontinental railroad trip.
nancy   daynard
Oct 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Jodi Daynard does it again! She's woven another impeccable story of history with all the right elements to keep you enthralled, with twists, turns, and all the beauty this land has to offer to the very end.

If your looking for a slice of history told with whit, warmth and truth, you've found your next not be missed tale, you've come to the right place!
OraLee Kirkham
Oct 26, 2019 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Should have read the reviews

I got this first reads book at the very last minute, and because I like historical fiction thought this might be interesting. Little did I know I was getting into lesbian fiction. I wish Amazon would give some upfront ratings regarding language and sexual content because there are still many of us out here who like good clean fiction.
Andrea
This was an initial very interesting premise: a girl who takes a train across the country in the late 1800's without her father to meet a man whom she has never met and is expected to marry. This is based on an actual train that traveled during this time period and certain people within the story were based on actual passengers on the train.

However, halfway through I realized the crux of the story was based on two women who are lesbians and how they deal with their feelings in such a time
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Jeff
Oct 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
One of the More Intriguing Historical Fiction Novels I've Ever Read. The title says it all. In this story of a legendary train ride from coast to coast - just a year after doing so was even possible - Daynard manages to put some aspects into this tale that were very much unexpected, but does so in a way that is at least possible. Indeed, for much of the back half of the book the reader constantly expects something to happen - whether or not it does is up to you to read and find out. ;) Very much ...more
Lynnae Inama
Nov 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An Enjoyable Read

The story is both an entertaining and enjoyable read. I actually found the lesbian romance was not off putting as some other reviewers suggest. The characters are a likeable bunch. To the point you hope for the best. So, if you are open minded and willing to expand your horizon I suggest you read this story.
Horsesheet
Jul 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A journey of the heart takes us cross-country and ends up nowhere I thought it would end. At first I thought, Okay there are some interesting female characters. But it becomes much more than what you expect. You literally don't know what's going to happen until the very end. I'm not normally a fan of this genre, but this was an exceptional read. Men as well as women are going to love it.

Thanks to NetGalley for the ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Abbie
Oct 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A must read

Sweeping landscapes, historical accuracy and a sweet love story all set upon the same train ride. The fiction is seamlessly woven into the history of this historic transcontinental trip by rail. I was thoroughly entertained and educated. One of my top five books of the year.
Jane Whitaker
Nov 01, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: oct-19
Well, an odd story for sure. I found 'the main event' kinda came out of nowhere and wasn’t really believable. However the descriptions of pioneering travel across America by train was pretty good.
Kelly Gavrich
Dec 21, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Snapshot of American History

I enjoyed the descriptions of the Unites States as the Pullman Hotel Express barreled West. The characters were interesting, and the plot was engaging.
Karen West
Dec 14, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great storytelling

Interesting historical novel of the transcontinental railroad with a great story of strong women finding their way in male dominated culture. A sweet love story narrates the drama.
Kitten  Peters
Jan 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wonderful

This was a great story about new beginnings, cover-up, tragedy, greed and a budding new love.
The author did a great job with defining all the stops on the way to California.
Dorothy Bennett
Dec 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I found this novel thoroughly engaging because fictional characters were set in a real event in history. A Pullman train, filled with businessmen, entrepreneurs, and railroad officials, crosses the US on the newly completed transcontinental railway. Among the travelers is Hattie Eames, a radical tomboy who dares wear a pant dress, and Louisa Finch, a young woman with a deformed foot who wears a boot and has been retained as a nanny for a rich family's children. The two young women meet during ...more
Lavolily
Nov 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I love trains, I love adventure, I love to read about smart, unconventional people. This adventure of 3 women during an era, a space in time where women are just starting to awaken as independant individuals kept me turning the pages! I thoroughly enjoyed the unexpected plot which had a wonderful ending. All's well that ends well!
Julie Baker
Nov 25, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Enjoyed the historical content--author did a nice job of transporting the reader back in time. Book had a bit of a surprising "affair" story line that was unanticipated esp given the time period.
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Jodi Daynard is the author of the bestselling novels The Midwife’s Revolt and Our Own Country. She has also published The Place Within: Portraits of the American Landscape by 20 Contemporary Writers. Her essays and short stories have appeared in numerous periodicals, including Agni, The New England Review, The New York Times Book Review, Fiction, and the Paris Review. Ms. Daynard has taught ...more
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