Review: The Railway Children by E. Nesbit


Goodreads | Waterstones

When Father goes away with two strangers one evening, the lives of Roberta, Peter and Phyllis are shattered. They and their mother have to move from their comfortable London home to go and live in a simple country cottage, where Mother writes books to make ends meet. However, they soon come to love the railway that runs near their cottage, and they make a habit of waving to the Old Gentleman who rides on it. They befriend the porter, Perks, and through him learn railway lore and much else. They have many adventures, and when they save a train from disaster, they are helped by the Old Gentleman to solve the mystery of their father’s disappearance, and the family is happily reunited.

I decided to read this one on audiobook while driving, walking and running around the British countryside this past weekend, and honestly it was just perfect. I could not recommend a better way to read this, but enjoying the very countryside talked about in this book and glimpsing railways over the hills and through the trees. This is also a super short audiobook, clocking in at around 5 hours and it was just perfect for a big weekend of travelling!

This one was actually a major surprise for me, especially as I have been not enjoying classics quite as much recently. This was recommended to me to me by Alex, who loves this book, and trust me she has some great classic recommendations! I read The Secret Garden a couple of months ago on her recommendation, and I loved that one too. However, I actually ended up enjoying The Railway Children just a little bit more!

I think everyone in the world is friends

This one follows a family as they move to a small house in the British countryside due to mysterious circumstances leaving them without their father. This is told from the perspective of the three children of the family as they explore the countryside and get to know the people in the nearby village and on the railway. I loved reading about the children, and I imagine I would have absolutely adored this as a child. The children also don’t know why they’ve moved or their father has not moved with them, leaving a mystery aspect surrounding this book that I really didn’t expect to have!

The children also have some really interesting discussions throughout this book, including about gender identity, race, friendship, family, wealth and status. Some of these discussions felt very ahead of their time and I was surprised they came up at all. Alongside their loving and caring mother, these children learn the importance of looking out for one another through tough times and helping those around you despite their backgrounds.

if you can only get them to see you don’t want to be un-friends.

Overall, this was such a pleasant surprise. I loved the feeling of adventure throughout, and the mischief these kids got up to was so fun to read about! The relationships and friendships were so heartwarming and beautiful, and left me with goosebumps when I finished this book.

4.5 out of 5 stars


May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽

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2 thoughts on “Review: The Railway Children by E. Nesbit

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