Trains have always been a big part of my life. I grew up in the Greater Toronto Area, and my parents—along with thousands of other people—took the GO Train into the city every day for work. And when I left to study journalism at Carleton University in Ottawa, I always took the train back to visit my family at every school break.
I enjoyed trains and appreciated the comfortable, affordable way to travel, but I never thought of them as being magical.
The Christmas Train, as cheesy and schmaltzy as it is, made me fall in love with them all over again.
Christmas is my favourite holiday—I love everything, from the tree to the cookies to the predictable Hallmark movies. Every holiday season, I read one Christmas book that captures all of these elements into one read.
This year, the Hallmark Channel adapted the David Baldacci novel into one of their Hall of Fame movies—you know, the better version of their regular movies—and I decided to download the novel and read it in December.
Overall, it’s a better version of what I expected it to be—it has all the elements of a traditional fun Christmas romance novel, but it’s more well-done than most Christmas novels on the market.
However, better doesn’t necessarily mean “good.” While it’s a pretty good book in my eyes, if you aren’t a fan of cheesy Christmas made-for-TV movies, you won’t like this. And Hallmark movies are rarely “good.”
The book does have its faults—Baldacci prefers to tell, rather than show, and that usually means there’s a lot of exposition coming at you at once. It weighs down the story some, especially in the first few chapters.
But the way the book portrays overnight train travel had me looking up cross-country train trips as soon as I finished the last chapter—although I quickly closed the browser window once I saw the $1,000 price tag.
Train travel is a relaxed way to get around and something I took for granted for a long time, but this book made me fall in love with the more laid-back approach all over again.