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A Transcontinental Affair

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3.62  ·  Rating details ·  1,420 ratings  ·  125 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 congressmen/>May
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Paperback, 348 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)

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Average rating 3.62  · 
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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
...more
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 Calif
...more
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 w
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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.
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
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 amaz
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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?
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
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 disa
...more
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
Leanna Mattea
Nov 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
If you love historical fiction, this is the perfect choice. I knew little about the history of the transcontinental railway, and this novel was worth a semester history class. The story is based on the first transcontinental trip from Boston to San Francisco on the Pullman Hotel, an elegantly outfitted train, filled with the elite of the Times. The research to bring this journey to life, was very impressive. I felt that I was on this rail adventure as well. The descriptions of the landscape and ...more
O Prism
Nov 13, 2019 rated it really liked it
I’ve enjoyed all of Jodi Daynard’s previous books about strong, brave and enlightened women, and enjoyed this one as well. At times, it seemed to drag on a bit. Good plot, well-developed characters, a fascinating train ride, scenery, adventure (some on the disturbing side) and the disparity of those who have much vs. those who have little to nothing. There was a lot going on in this story. I see the mixed reviews, but I didn’t have mixed feeling about it. The women’s deep bond and abiding love w ...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
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Kenneth J. Olsen
Oct 23, 2019 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Disappointing

I'm a railroad nut, have read several books on the construction of the Transcontinental Railroad and felt it necessary to read this one. Even though the characters and plot would be fictitious, had to find out if it had some new insights on the post construction of the Transcontinental. It did and it didn't. Since the Pullman Palace Train was real, everything about the route it travelled should have been accurate. When the train pulled into Northwestern Station (Chicago), continued on t
...more
Vane Wayne
Oct 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I enjoyed this book more than what I expected. This is the first book I read by Jodi Daynard and I am in love. I love the setting of the book which takes place in a high class train. The characters especially the women in the book are amazing characters. I really like how the characters come to life. While reading I could really see myself inside the story. The story is so vivid and there is just so much life inside the story!

Hattie is engaged and will be traveling on the train to go meet her f
...more
Kerry Croucier
This is a novel had interesting characters, highly descriptive settings, and focused on an interesting part of history that I am only vaguely familiar with. I enjoyed the characters, their interactions, and how the relationships developed. The relationship between Hattie and Louisa was handled with finesse and, I feel, was not remotely offensive.
That said, I am a little unsure about the author’s writing style. At times it was a little too verbose for me, reminding me of a novel that was wr
...more
golightly23
This wasn't an engrossing novel that sweeps the reader back in time to experience what is might have been like riding on the first transcontinental train in all its luxury. It focused mostly on the romance between the two female characters, which I would have been fine with had those characters at all interested me. I just didn't connect to any character due to the fact that character development was really lacking. Towards the end, I really didn't care what happened to the characters, which is ...more
BookFi
Nov 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Set in 1870, Hattie is set to embark on a journey from her family home in Boston to Sacramento to meet the man she is to marry. Never having met, only letters and a photo, she doesn’t really know the man who awaits her on the other side, and men are generally not to her persuasion.

Feisty, inquisitive, and hands-on, Hattie’s unaccompanied journey on the Pullman Hotel Express is less than straight forward. Twists, turns, unruly children, a hassled nanny, famous stops and views along the way. Dang
...more
Jenna Bachman
4.25 stars.

I really enjoyed this novel and the interesting history it explores. Daynard does a very good job of setting the novel and inviting the reader into the world of late 19th century luxury train travel. She also explores many of the facets of that history, including racism and misogyny, unflinchingly.

At some points, it does move slowly, but I really appreciated the introspection that afforded the characters; Daynard does a very good job of having the characters explore how the repressi
...more
Pat Blaine
Nov 05, 2019 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
The premise of the novel has promise for showing the beauty of the nation and the adventure of traveling on one of the first premier train rides from the Atlantic to the Pacific Oceans. It is a tale of young women and their positions in their post Civil War world and also the men who control that world. That being said, it is never well written or very believable. It was definitely not worth the reading time to find that two young ladies do not honor their commitments in life when they think tha ...more
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AMERICAN HISTORIC...: ABOUT THE BOOK 3 7 Nov 03, 2019 05:55AM  

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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 writin ...more
“Genuine interest usually leads to knowledge. Don’t you find that to be so?” Julia shook her head. “I’ve seen such interest in men. But never, I confess, in a woman.” Hattie set her fork down and turned to Julia with a look of alarm. “I hope you don’t believe that women are so congenitally deformed as to lack curiosity.” “Oh, I didn’t mean that.” Julia blushed.” 0 likes
“Hattie always had to know the “why” of everything. Not merely why the sky was blue but why steel was stronger than iron and why some currents flowed east when others flowed west.” 0 likes
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