Monday, August 5, 2013

Last Train to Omaha by Ann Whitely-Gillen

Rating:  4 out of 5 stars.

In a person's lifetime, there is at least one moment that changes everything. Nothing is ever the same, experiences forever tinged with the haunting memory of what could have or should have been. This is especially true for James Milligan and those who care about him.

James was shy, introverted as a young boy until the summer he met his friend, Stephen. From that moment, his life was forever changed. It was changed again the night that Stephen was killed. For nearly two decades after his best friend's death, James wandered the world doing only what he had to do in order to get by and very rarely allowing anyone to see the real James beneath his hardened shell. The only small glimpses of his true self are revealed when he sits with the Veterans during their last moments on the earth at the Veterans Hospital, built and named after his own father.

Life has a funny way of teaching us the most basic principles. When it's time for a lesson, there is no stopping the education from happening. James learns this the hard way as a series of events calls up the horrible night in which he lost his best friend and forces James back into the world of emotions, love and simply living.

Having won this book from a free giveaway at, I was a little apprehensive to begin reading it. Much like the main character in the book, James, I suffered the loss of someone very close to me and I wasn't exactly sure that I could read this book and review it in the way that it truly needed to be done. After taking a deep breath and settling into the first few chapters, it became apparent that I needed to read this book.

The story is truly tragic, uplifting, maddening and heart-wrenching at the same time. Just like traveling by train, the speed of the beginning was a little slow as we're introduced to James and the characters most important to him, his world of obligations and the emotions he constantly tries to avoid. And just as train begins to pick up speed, the story moves forward at pace that both James and the reader finds baffling at times. Once the destination nears, the story does exactly what it was intended to do - not only entertain for a few hours but to impart a bit of life's wisdom to each and every one of us.

The message in the book is crystal clear that we should never take a moment or a person for granted. The characters in the book teach this lesson to the reader in their own separate ways that will leave a lasting impression upon the reader long after the last word's been read and the cover closed. The book is full of love, laughter, tears, fears, brotherhood and life lessons. If you're looking for a story that is both heartwarming and tragic, this is definitely the book for you. I wholeheartedly recommend it.

Last Train to Omaha by Ann Whitely-Gillen is currently available for purchase in either paperback or Kindle form. The book was originally released in February 2013 by Ann Gillen Books. It can be bought at by clicking below.
Last Train to Omaha by Ann Whitely-Gillen 

No comments:

Post a Comment