Eleven Lines to Somewhere
By Alyson Rudd
Pushed by HQ Stories
What it’s about?
Everyone is searching for love. Sometimes we just take our own route to find it.
When Ryan spots a young woman on the tube on his commute, he can’t take his eyes off her. Instantly attracted and intrigued, he’s keen to find out more about his mysterious fellow passenger.
Sylvie spends all day travelling the underground, unable to leave for reasons unbeknownst to Ryan. But Ryan hasn’t dated for nearly ten years, when he was at university and the love of his life tragically died.
For some inexplicable reason, he just can’t shake the feeling he wants to help Sylvie. In a world of missed opportunities and what-ifs, a connection has been made.
This is a story of love and loss from the author of The First Time Lauren Pailing Died, perfect for fans of Anna Hope’s Expectation, David Nicholls’s Sweet Sorrow and Kate Atkinson’s Life After Life.
What I think:
This is a remarkable book and I could not not put it down.
All of the characters in this book are real people with real lives. And yet this is what makes them extraordinary. They are are looking for love, dealing with grief and on their own journeys literally and metaphically.
Ryan spots Sylvie on the Underground on his morning commute. She is beautiful but sad and he is struck by the colour of her hair. He starts orchestrating opportunities to see her – getting to the station earlier, missing trains to see if she is on the next one. He always gets off before she does so one day he decides to follow her. This could be a bit disturbing if it was another character, but Ryan is such a sweet man that his obsession with Sylvie feels more romantic. Ryan himself is aware that his behaviour could be misconstrued and is always mindful of Sylvie’s feelings.
Ryan discovers that Sylvie doesn’t actually go anyway specific. She travels the tube network all day stopping for lunch and then returns home. The reasons for Sylvie’s behaviour gradually emerge as Ryan gets to know her and she begins to trust him. Despite the strange beginning to their relationship they both feel they are fated to be together.
What I like about this book is that Ryan’s family are so important to him and in shaping the man he has become.
Ryan’s mother Grace, looks after his Grandfather with support from her daughter, Hana. Connected by a shared past, tragedy and loss, Grace’s life has been one of caring for others. Her love for her children has shaped her identity. I loved how she blossomed towards the end of the book as she has the opportunity to do things for herself.
Every character in this book is brilliantly drawn and the fact that they are all so normal and real makes their stories thoroughly absorbing. Some parts of this book are heartbreakingly sad – I won’t spoil it as I want others to experience the story as the writer intended.
Everyone who has travelled on public transport, particularly the London Underground will relate to the moments of shared intimacy and connection with strangers that fill the book.
I really enjoyed this book and the characters, especially Ryan and Sylvie will stay with me. Thank you HQ and Netgalley for my gifted copy and for inviting me to be a part of the blog tour.
Eleven Lines to Somewhere is available in hardback from:
Waterstones: click here
Amazon.co.uk: click here