I originally was drawn to Lindsay Jayne Ashford’s “The Woman on the Orient Express” because it centers around one of my all-time favorite authors. Set one year after Agatha Christie’s infamous 10-day disappearance, it follows her as she journeys to Baghdad.

Christie’s life soon is entwined with those of two other women, one also real and the other fictional.

First off, I’d like to point out that this is a fictional tale that merely involves two real-life people. That said, it was a highly enjoyable read.

Ashford’s prose is quite good — it flows in an easy manner, pulling in readers even if they are unsure about the story itself.

While there were certain artistic liberties taken with the lives of real people — and I didn’t always agree with Ashford’s interpretations — it honestly felt like all of these events actually could have happened.

Ashford does a really amazing job of creating very complex characters. While there was a real-life template for several characters, there is very little information actually available concerning their lives.

While I thought Ashford sensationalized Christie’s disappearance in ways that can’t actually be proven — which I guess kind of is the point; no one really knows what happened during those missing days — she drew these three troubled women in a very sympathetic light.

She also handled the emotional aspects of the novel quite well, making the reader feel for each of them and their circumstances.

The setting is wonderfully detailed — I could picture all of the locations with ease.

Novels such as this make me long to live in a time when travel to a lot of these countries still was safe.

Some people have started this book while thinking it’s a mystery, which is not true in the traditional sense.

The mystery truly lies in what really is a mystery to us all — what actually is going on inside another person.

Ashford does a marvelous job of creating tension and pulling in readers desperate to read just a little more.

If you enjoy historical fiction — and don’t mind a little historical fact-bending — give “The Woman on the Orient Express” a shot.

I’m sure glad that I did.