Good Morning! Today I’m bringing you my review of The Girl on the 88 Bus by Freya Sampson, as part of the blog tour organised by Tracy Fenton at Compulsive Readers. Thank you to Tracy, as well as the author and Bonnier for the review copy.
Here’s what its all about:
Can one chance meeting change the course of your life?
When Libby Nicholls arrives in London, broken-hearted and with her life in tatters, the first person she meets on the bus is elderly pensioner Frank. He tells her about the time in 1962 he met a girl on the number 88 bus with beautiful red hair just like her own. They made plans for a date at the National Gallery, but Frank lost the ticket with her number written on it.
For the past sixty years, he’s ridden the same bus trying to find her. Libby is inspired by the story and, with the help of an unlikely companion, she makes it her mission to help Frank’s search. As she begins to open her guarded heart to strangers and new connections, Libby’s tightly controlled world expands. But with Frank’s dementia progressing quickly, their chance of finding the girl on the number 88 bus is slipping away. More than anything, Libby wants Frank to see his lost love one more time.
But their quest also shows Libby just how important it is to embrace her own chances for happiness – before it’s too late.
Freya Sampson is the author of two novels, The Last Chance Library and The Lost Ticket/The Girl on the 88 Bus. She worked in TV as an executive producer and her credits include two documentary series for the BBC about the British Royal Family, and a number of factual and entertainment series.
She studied History at Cambridge University and in 2018 was shortlisted for the Exeter Novel Prize.
She lives in London with her husband, two young children and an antisocial cat.
This was such a sweet, enjoyable story, a really cosy read that was a nice break for me in between some more gritty or gory books!
When I started this, I thought I knew how it would all play out but it surprised me, developing in different ways than I expected. The premise is immediately appealing, I was intrigued by the prospect of someone trying to find someone who had clearly left their mark during a short conversation many years ago. I’m sure lots of people have small, at the time seemingly inconsequential interactions with strangers which have ultimately affected them one way or another in a larger way than expected. Frank is our example of that.
He’s such a lovely character, and as the book progresses, it becomes clear that whilst Frank is searching for his girl on the bus, he too has positively impacted the lives of people he has met along his way on that same bus route.
Libby struck me as a fairly naïve character at first, and I have to confess that I found her quite annoying. However, as we get to know more about her and her circumstances, its clear that she has not been treated well by those closest to her in her life. Her family mostly awful, especially her mother! Its good to see Libby develop over the book, growing as a person through her experiences following that day that she first met Frank on the bus and I really grew to like her.
We get to read letters written by a woman to an unknown person, one who was clearly important in her life. We slowly find out more about their lives together and the final revelations of who these people were in context of the story were unexpected but lovely.
All in all, this was a story full of heart, one to warm your cockles when things are looking a bit rubbish.
Check out the rest of the stops on the blog tour for this lovely book.