The Railwayman's Wife, Paperback Book

The Railwayman's Wife Paperback

4 out of 5 (2 ratings)


In a small town on the land's edge, in the strange space at a war's end, a widow, a poet and a doctor each try to find their own peace, and their own new story.On the south coast of New South Wales, in 1948, people chase their dreams through the books in the railway's library.

Anikka Lachlan searches for solace after her life is destroyed by a single random act.

Roy McKinnon, who found poetry in the mess of war, has lost his words and his hope.

Frank Draper is trapped by the guilt of those his treatment and care failed on their first day of freedom.

All three struggle with the same question: how now to be alive.Written in clear, shining prose and with an eloquent understanding of the human heart, The Railwayman's Wife explores the power of beginnings and endings, and how hard it can be sometimes to tell them apart.

It's a story of life, loss and what comes after; of connection and separation, longing and acceptance.

Most of all, it celebrates love in all its forms, and the beauty of discovering that loving someone can be as extraordinary as being loved yourself.


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Review by

This is a beautifully written book. There are some wonderful descriptions and imagery - it's very visual. It deals with the trauma of the loss of a loved one and the grief that follows extremely well. It's a tale which most people can relate to.However, it did take some time for the story to grab me as it's mostly a sad and gloomy one; it doesn't have a particularly happy or hopeful ending. It's not a fast paced book, in fact it's quite a meandering and contemplative plot. On the other hand it's thought provoking and compelling. It's set just after WWII in a small seaside town in New South Wales. It's an interesting setting for such a story and I liked it. The characters are realistic and believable - I felt their pain.Overall a lyrical and evocative read - a story which had me thinking for a while after I'd finished it.Many thanks to Lovereading for giving me the opportunity to read and review this book.

Review by

Thanks to our new ‘An Audience With’ program, Wollongong City Libraries book clubs are becoming very experienced in conversing with authors. Couple that with a friendly, open and chatty guest in the form of Ashley Hay, what you have is a wonderfully informative and extremely enjoyable evening!Most of our clubs have either read or are reading Ashley’s The Railwayman’s Wife, which incidentally is getting the thumbs up all around, so last Tuesday was a great opportunity to learn more about the novel from its creator. Our questions spanned everything from Hay’s choice of setting (Thirroul, where she grew up), the origins of her characters, and the process of researching a post-war novel to writing poetry and discovering an author’s voice.Sharing many personal antidotes and imparting what the novel means to her, definitely worked magic on our audience and we all felt just that little bit closer to Anikka, Mac, Frank and Roy. With gentle coaxing Ashley read aloud Roy’s poem and explained the story behind its writing by poet Stephen Edgar. This was such a special treat … Edgar’s poem, which he wrote especially for this novel, came alive under her gentle, quiet voice. The same voice that resounds so clearly in The Railwayman’s Wife.We look forward to Ashley’s next novel and highly recommend her work and attending any of her talks and presentations. In connecting with her ‘audience’ we give 10 stars!

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