Cover image for Dream train
Dream train
Allen, Charlotte Vale, 1941-
Publication Information:
New York : Atheneum, 1988.
Format :

On Order



An assignment to write about the Orient Express offers photojournalist JoannaJames a new view of herself and of others.

Author Notes

Charlotte Vale Allen was born in Toronto, Canada, on January 19, 1941. She spent several years in England, where she worked as a singer and actress. After returning to Canada for a short time, she immigrated to the United States in 1966.

Allen began writing in 1970 and sold her first novel, Love Life, in 1974. Her 36 novels have sold seven million copies, most of which have been translated into more than 20 languages. In her novels, Allen attempts to offer optimism and insight on many issues women face. In her most celebrated work, an autobiography titled Daddy's Girl and published in 1980, Allen relates her experience as an abused child. She was listed as one of the 100 most borrowed authors in the United Kingdom by the British Public Library system in 1990. Other titles include Somebody's Baby and Claudia's Shadow.

A full-time writer since 1976, Allen also pursues interests in photography, cooking, and needlework.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 2

Publisher's Weekly Review

Joanna James, a photojournalist in her mid-30s, isn't as thrilled as one might expect when she receives a coveted assignment to ride the Orient Express to Venice for a five-day stay in the sumptuous Hotel Cipriani. Putting off a much needed rest, she flies to London to catch the famed luxury train. There she racks up not one, but two affairs with distinctly different men: Henry, a wryly funny Englishman who practically sleeps in three-piece suits, and Tyler, a wilder, creative genius. Although her journey on the Orient Express offers a respite from these swiftly overheating entanglements, Joanna finds it difficult to regain her accustomed, self-protective emotional detachment. As the train chugs sedately through the European countryside, she strikes up warm and intimate friendships with the other passengers. Everyone, it seems, has a deep, painful secret to share, and by the end of her trip, Joanna has begun to come to terms with the sad moments in her own past. Allen (Time/Steps, Illusions), again proves herself a skilled storyteller. Though conveniently dovetailed subplots and occasionally florid dialogue set a firmly commercial tone, her new novel shows a refreshing amount of human ambivalence and endearing missteps taken on the road to love and happiness. (April) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

When Joanna James, a photojournalist, accepts the assignment to travel from London to Venice on the new Orient Express, she realizes that she faces not only a new adventure, but also the necessity to decide which of two men she truly loves. During the journey she makes new friends and discovers personal insights. The reader is treated to bits of photographic technical data and medical counsel. Remarkably, there is a subcurrent here of aging and death which lends a certain maturity to otherwise shallow characters. Like vanilla ice cream, the story is pleasant and easy to take in, and if the plot creaks a little, Allen's loyal readers will nevertheless enjoy her skillfull formula romantic fiction. Elsa Pendleton, M.L.S., Computer Sciences Corp., Ridgecrest, Cal. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.