Cover image for Night train to Lisbon
Night train to Lisbon
Grayson, Emily.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Morrow, [2004]

Physical Description:
216 pages ; 19 cm
General Note:
"A novel"--Jacket.
Format :


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FICTION Adult Fiction Central Closed Stacks
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Night Train to Lisbon is a sensuous tale of the pursuit of love and passion against all odds, set in the 1930s when the world was on the brink of war and suspicion of loyalty, motivation, and intent -- to both country and lover -- was at flood tide.

Carson Weatherell is a privileged young American woman traveling in Europe in 1936, courtesy of her aunt and uncle who live abroad and have kindly offered to show her the sights. A bout of illness and self-pity almost send her back to her sheltered Connecticut life, but on an overnight train to Lisbon, she suddenly can't imagine returning home. On that train she meets Alec Breve, a young British scientist traveling with a group of colleagues -- and in his company, Carson finds that she's enjoying herself, certainly for the first time since she left New York Harbor, and quite possibly for the first time in her life.

In Lisbon, Carson and Alec begin an intense love affair, but their bliss is threatened when Carson's uncle reveals that Alec might be a spy for Germany. He insists that it is essential that Alec be trapped and brought to justice, and the only person who can deliver an unsuspecting Alec to the proper authorities is Carson. Desperate to believe in her new love -- and terrified of discovering she has fallen for a traitor -- Carson must choose whether to prove her lover innocent or leave him to face the consequences on his own.

A riveting page-turner, Night Train to Lisbon travels back to the days when war loomed, the Mitford sisters dazzled, and night trains brimmed with romance and intrigue, delivering a mesmerizing novel of a love that must truly conquer all in order to survive.

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

In 1936, 18-year-old Carson Weatherell is dreaming about marriage just like all the other society girls in Marlowe, Connecticut. She knows she'll be matched with the local scion of society and devote herself to charity work like her mother. But plans change when she receives an invitation to go to Europe with her aunt Jane and uncle Lawrence and stay at a villa outside Lisbon. She hardly remembers her London-based relatives and is ambivalent about the trip but goes anyway. She initially treats the experience as a chore and longs for the comfort of home, but during the train ride to Lisbon she makes eye contact with a young Cambridge graduate student, Alec Breve, who is traveling to Lisbon for a conference. Their chance meeting changes her attitude, and young love blossoms, until her uncle tells her that Alec is a suspected spy for Nazi Germany. Grayson delivers a sweet story about young love and gritty politics as the horrors of World War II loom. --Patty Engelmann Copyright 2004 Booklist

Publisher's Weekly Review

Evoking shades of Casablanca, Grayson (Waterloo Station) spins a tale of spycraft and love in this lightweight period novel. In the summer of 1936, sheltered, lovely Carson Weatherell, privileged daughter of wealthy Connecticut parents, sets off on a European tour with her Aunt Jane and Jane's husband, Lawrence, a British intelligence officer. On the train from Paris to Lisbon, Carson meets the eye of dashing Alec Breve, a young British physicist who introduces the girl to the world of the intellect as well as the heart. Trouble is brewing, however, and Carson grows up in a hurry when her uncle confronts her with evidence that Alec is a spy for the Germans. She can't deny the suspicions planted by this news, but neither can she completely believe it. At first she is determined to have nothing further to do with Alec, but she must face him when he appears at her home. Reunited, they decide to return to England and clear Alec's name. But with war in the air, will they be believed? Grayson's handling of young love is touching, if rather prissy-"the train continued on along its tracks, unaware that on the platform at its very end, a young American girl-no, a young American woman-was falling in love"-but finely drawn characters are given too little to do in what could've been a more substantial story, given longer treatment. Agent, Peter Matson. (May) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved



Night Train to Lisbon A Novel Chapter One Once upon a time, her mother would begin, and Carson Weatherell to this day retained a strong memory of being a very young girl in a canopy bed curling up tighter, closer. The stories were always the same: a beautiful princess marries a handsome if fairly shallow prince, and spends her entire married life living in the same kind of splendor to which she's always been accustomed. "Someday," her mother would assure Carson when the story was over, "you will be that princess." Then she would kiss her daughter on the forehead and turn to leave the room. The Weatherells were by far the wealthiest family in their town of Marlowe, Connecticut, a fortune made generations earlier in nautical supplies. Each generation of Weatherell men tended to the fortune as though it were a fire, stoking it worriedly and religiously, and eventually passing on to the next generation the responsibility for keeping the flame alive. And each generation of Weatherell women enjoyed spending that fortune, fashioning homes for their families that were at once comfortable and luxurious, and inevitably the envy of all the neighbors. In 1936, among the expansive homes of Marlowe with low stone walls and endless lawns, the Weatherells' was the most gracious. It would be unfair to say that Carson took her circumstances for granted; there was, after all, a depression on, and the papers were full of stories about bank runs and breadlines. Still, that outside world could seem distant indeed, if you had just turned eighteen, possessed blond hair, hazel eyes, and very pale skin, and understood that your wealth and your unambiguous beauty gave you a certain power, especially over boys. All of which made Carson no different from any of her friends at school -- or "school," for what the Miss Purslane Academy for Girls offered the haughty, daydreamy girls enrolled there tended to fall under the category of either etiquette or horsemanship. Mostly, what these girls were taught was to be just like their mothers. To the extent that any one of them had a responsibility or an ambition, it was this, and this, in Carson's view, was a perfectly fine goal to set for oneself. After all, what else was there for a princess-in-waiting to do? In the late spring of that year, however, Philippa Weatherell received a letter from London. The return address was Claridge's Hotel, and the letter was from Philippa's younger sister, Jane. Jane had always been a bit of a renegade, running off to London to marry a man no one in the family really understood. Though Lawrence Emmett was impeccably bred, an Englishman with starched cuffs and collar who'd been to Eton and Cambridge, he had a stern and sarcastic manner that put most people off. But Jane seemed genuinely in love with him, and the couple, childless, had stayed on in London, where Lawrence now worked for the Ministry of Defence, and where they lived in a beautifully appointed suite at Claridge's. "My dear Pippa," the letter began: I know it's been a while since I've written, and please let me offer my apologies, for there's really no excuse. But Lawrence's work keeps us quite busy, sending us off to weekend house parties and the like. It's really a bit of a bore (how many poor little foxes can these men chase, for God's sake?), and I've been pestering good old Lawrence to take me away somewhere exciting, and FINALLY he's agreed to take me to the Continent in June: first Paris, and then Portugal, to which I haven't been in years, though I have happy memories of swimming off the coast there with Lawrence years ago, drinking local, fruity sangria, and eating those delicious fried almonds that they always used to serve. (I wonder if they still do?) Why am I telling you all of this? you may wonder. Well, Pippa dear, I would very much like to do something special for my niece, Carson, who I have not seen since she was ... oh, twelve or thirteen, I believe, and who has now just graduated from high school, so you tell me. As her aunt and godmother, I would like to offer her a special gift. Lawrence and I have talked it over and we wonder if Carson would care to join us in London next month, to travel first to Paris with me for a week or so, and then accompany Lawrence and me on our sojourn to Portugal. It should prove to be a delightful trip; we'll be traveling by train -- first-class carriage from Paris to Lisbon -- and we've already booked two sleeping compartments, one for Lawrence, and one for Carson and myself. (So you see? You CAN'T say no! We would lose our entire deposit on the second sleeping compartment!) Once in Portugal, Lawrence and I have rented a lovely, not-too-pretentious villa on the coast in Sintra, not too far from Lisbon, complete with small staff. I think Carson will have the time of her life, and at the end of the summer we shall return her to you, bronzed and happy and ready to begin her adult life back in Connecticut. (No doubt soon to be marrying a young man you've probably already got your eye on for her, hmmmm, Pip?) I know you will worry about Carson, as any mother would while her daughter is in new and unfamiliar circumstances, but we promise to take excellent care of her. Of course there is lots of talk about political unrest in Europe, what with the German situation and all, but Lawrence feels that, for the foreseeable future, Europe is stable (with the exception of Spain, of course), and I do trust him in these matters. Please let Carson come. It will be so much fun, not to mention the fact that, as you well know, an introduction to European ways is de rigueur for any young American lady entering society. Your loving (and hopeful) sister, Jane Night Train to Lisbon A Novel . Copyright © by Emily Grayson. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold. Excerpted from Night Train to Lisbon: A Novel by Emily Grayson All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.