Troubador The Seventh Train

Released: 28/04/2019

ISBN: 9781789018936

eISBN: 9781838599096

Format: Paperback/eBook

Review this Book

Author Website

The Seventh Train


What if you can’t stand where you are because there’s nothing there? What if you don’t want to end up anywhere else in case that’s empty too? When life has lost its road map, sometimes the only way to get back on track is to get back on the rails.

The Seventh Train is a ride - a ‘road movie’ on the railways. It’s a journey that Elizabeth invented; the only original thought she has ever had in her previously uneventful life. Unbeknown to her, she is not travelling alone. If only she’d pretended that the spare seat was taken.

With a wonderfully eclectic cast of characters, The Seventh Train takes its passengers on a journey from the tragic to the strange, arriving finally at hope. By turns heart-breaking, thought-provoking and hilarious, this tale is a life-affirming exploration of the human spirit via the British railway timetable! 

“Ingenious, great fun, and wholly original” - Fay Weldon CBE, on The Seventh Train

THE SEVENTH TRAIN has just won a CHILL WITH A BOOK Readers Award! (May 22nd 2019)
And now it's also won the CHILL WITH A BOOK Cover of the Month Award for May 2019!

'Sleeping Through War' has been awarded a 'CHILL WITH A BOOK READERS' AWARD' (5th May 2018)

(see author website for details of current and future events)

Follow Jackie on Facebook @JackieCarreiraWriter
or Twitter @JCarreiraWriter
or Instagram @Jackiecarreirawriter
or check out her Goodreads Author page

MJ Mallon Blog

Tomes with Tea

The Reading Nook

Colchester Gazette

Essex County Standard

Tomes with Tea

The Caffeinated Reader

Tales Before Bedtime

Northern Reader

Books Beyond the Story

Truly Bookish

Literary Flits

Great read. The author wrote a story that was interesting and moved at a pace that kept me engaged. The characters were easy to invest in.

by Cristie

What a charming and quirky novel!

'The Seventh Train' is a truly original idea, which neatly and sensitively packages lots of today's issues - alienation / belonging, loneliness and loss, the definition of family, the impact of suicide - gently and without preaching.

I liked the clever way that one of the character's stories was a microcosm of the book, and life, itself. If you want a definitive ending, you won't find one here (or in Carreira's other book, 'Sleeping Through War'); I find that writing choice refreshingly different, not a little philosophical, and quite brave. I also feel that some readers / reviewers may miss this nuance or be put off by it, so I am aware that the novel may be a bit 'marmite'.- but I was captivated.

It moves at a good pace, the writing is solid.

The character's backstories are where they and their motives are truly revealed (how many of us go around with signs stating exactly who we are, to everyone, at all times, in real life?), and I think Carreira's handling of both character and dialogue is very natural and true to life.

I highly recommend it.

by AJ

Kept me hooked! Interesting subject with plenty going on to keep me engaged throughout. Good read and would recommend.

by Bookedup Girl

So engaging, so well written, caught my interest from the first pages. You will laugh, feel sad - all the emotions! Highly recommend.

by Abby

I gave Jackie Carreira's previous novel, Sleeping Through War, 5 stars last year because I loved her writing so I was excited to spot this new novel, The Seventh Train, on NetGalley recently. Less ambitious in its scope, The Seventh Train is nonetheless a thoughtful and well observed story. I now have a new travel quote to accompany my all time favourite 'I'm always homesick for the journey' (Discovering Aberration by S C Barrus). In The Seventh Train I could completely empathise with Elizabeth's assurance that 'Travelling is just a way of not staying where you are.'

I could see shades of myself in Elizabeth which helped me to understand why she decided on her present transient lifestyle. In fact, by the end of the story, I was feeling quite enthused to join her - although I don't know whether she would appreciate yet another companion stepping into her idea! All the characters are very real so I could easily believe in them and their individual emotional journeys. Ellie particularly is great fun to spend time with! Her lively outlook and humour is a good foil to the darker themes surrounding the characters. I felt especially strong sympathy for Daniel and could not imagine how I would cope in such a situation.

The Seventh Train began life as a short play and Carreira explains its growth through various theatrical incarnations before its current presentation as a novel. Having a little theatrical experience myself I recognised scenes that would play brilliantly on stage and would love the chance to see a production in the future !

by Stephanie

There are some stories that are so improbable that it is quite possibly true. This is one such story!

Elizabeth has invented this idea - with the idea of going nowhere fixed, having no idea of what the future holds, or rather where the future will take her. She gets on to the seventh train at a station, goes four stops then gets down and does it again - and again. When she accidentally meets up with one character, then it becomes two, then they rope in a third the quartet becomes almost a family sharing their love of the unknown.

I was a tad bit envious of the lifestyle, the freedom of choice but it takes a brave soul and you do have to put something by to handle this on your own for a feasible amount of time.

I loved the quirkiness of it in total contrast to the sobriety of the character Elizabeth, the bounciness of one, the smart ass attitude of one and the normalcy of the other.

by Mystica

A quite unique read about travelling on trains and everything railways.
As a lapsed train spotted always comfortable under interesting motive power or idling around stations the subject matter is a pure delight. I have always enjoyed accounts aboard a train, from Russia with love, Stamboul train, 4:50 from Paddington, The ABC murders and The Blue Train.
Many a great documentary has been shown about great train journeys, from Michael Palin to Michael Portillo. Paul Theroux has allowed me to follow him on some tremendous railway adventures and the Orient Express still carries a sense of mystery and intrigue if not passengers.
The seventh train therefore had me in seventh heaven - hooked, (or coupled up), right from the start.
It is a deeply profound and revealing story. Quite an interesting piece of literature that reflects on the need to travel and how journeys are taken. Yet it conjures up many familiar experiences we all share from commuters to holiday makers on the train.
The scene in a railway buffet / cafe waiting for a train was pricelessly funny and timeless. It was like watching Trevor Howard and Celia Johnson in Brief Encounter.
Elizabeth is by far the most interesting and rounded character of those we meet. She has taken to a seemingly endless and continuous railway journey like train spotters on a 7 day rail rover or some Inter Railer scared to leave the U.K.
We slowly learn she is trying to find herself and shuns company in the process. Preferring to be an observer not a participant. It is working to a point but he sense of inertia may be the reason she has empathy for others where the rest in a hurry get angry with any delays and cancellations.
With time to waste and her own mind to ease she sits at a table of the busy platform cafe. Her reflection and tranquility is broken by those dreaded words. “Is this chair taken?”.
Funny, poignant and very readable the journey Elizabeth is compelled to take is both cathartic for her and reader alike.
A book to enjoy, where the motion of turning pages is as soothing as the wheels over the rails and the experience of arriving at the end leaves you happy but wanting more.

by Richard

I thoroughly enjoyed this book! The Seventh Train introduces you to a likeable cast of characters all with their own distinct back story.

The writing was well paced and I finished this book in one sitting as I was so enjoying it. I would love to read more by this author and will be recommending this read to others.

Thank you to netgalley and the publishers for my copy!

by Tamsin

I thoroughly enjoyed this book! The Seventh Train introduces you to a likeable cast of characters all with their own distinct back story.

The writing was well paced and I finished this book in one sitting as I was so enjoying it. I would love to read more by this author and will be recommending this read to others.

by Tamsin

I’m certain I am not the only one who has ever contemplated walking away from my mundane life and starting anew. I’m sure many of us have thought of it from time to time, and a few may have just done it! Life can give us ups and downs, and for some more downs than ups. Fortunately, I’m grateful to have been given more ups so I haven’t thought of running away too many times.

In The Seventh Train by Jackie Carreira, Elizabeth — a 40-something spinster — decides to do just that, walk away. Along the way she encounters an intriguing cast of characters in her journey of “going nowhere”. I found this book to be extremely entertaining and heartfelt, as well as a bit philosophical. I found myself feeling all of the emotions for Elizabeth: empathy, sadness, happiness, pride, jealousy. Elizabeth’s character is definitely complex, and I found myself reading between the lines with her (so to speak). Her thoughts and actions take a unique juxtaposition many times throughout this book, and I found myself paying more attention to her actions than her thoughts.

I would highly recommend this new book to anyone who enjoys a good story. This is written with such an amazing voice and uniqueness that I believe many will find it as endearing as I did.

by Jennifer

I really enjoyed The Seventh Train. Well written and with well crafted characters and plot. I think those who enjoy Roald Dahl's Tales of the Unexpected will enjoy this as it has a sense of mystery and surprise. I will be on the watch for other books by Jackie Carreira.

by Kate

I really enjoyed this gem of a book! The concept of running away from life is real and hits home. The idea of staying on the trains - number 7 stop 4 - endlessly to end up anywhere is quite endearing. I loved the newness of this book, the feelings it invoked in me personally as well as for the characters train hopping.

by Joann

There were two topics I wanted to start my review with and both are warring to be the first to be mentioned(in my head), so I thought I could state both and then talk about them in reverse order and whoever reads this can pick which one ought to have come first.

1)The beginning part of the book mentions that this story was first a play and 2) I am probably not the only person who ever wanted to write about people who pass by in a train journey. The latter is a longer story but bear with me while I make its impact clear.

One of the colonial impacts left in India, is an Indian version of long train journeys, anyone who has ever used the trains here knows how long an average train journey is and the advantage of having sleeper berths on most of them. I used to have seventeen-hour trips alone on a train that took an extremely long route through three different states in the south, each with its own style of dressing and language and peculiarities and to top it all, the train was also used by people going even further along, all the way to the other end of the country. This added a lot of vividness to the surroundings, and I gathered enough fodder to want to actually WRITE. Each trip I would start to pen a random story about people who meet on the train but it never went anywhere and someday if I do ever write something longer than a review, there would be one long train journey in it. I just hope my (imaginary, future) train story could even have a percentage of the impact that this short book does. Coming back to the first point, since it was mentioned that this was also a play, I kept imagining the scenes on stage (as I have only recently become very familiar with stage plays) and felt that added an extra level of enjoyment. The only reason I was unable to give this book a complete five stars was that I enjoyed the idea of it as a play more than just a story!!

The story is very simple, it is a tale of a few people who meet by chance but end up travelling partway together. They are a reflection of many other people we meet on our way through daily life, some who actually have problems in life and others who have a significant lack of anything at all- both good or bad. The author uses few words to draw very stark pictures and lets you explore the minds of average (and maybe above average) individuals who need the emotional impact that the events of this story have saved for them. I have not introduced the characters here nor described their lives because it is not a big book and all of those introductions form the core of the tale. This would be an ideal book- club read because of the number of ways it can be enjoyed/dissected.

I highly recommend this book to those looking for a different read.

by Anjana

Jackie Carreira

Jackie Carreira is a writer, designer, musician and co-founder of QuirkHouse Theatre Company. British-born of Portuguese parents, she grew up in Hackney, East London and also lived in Lisbon for a few years as a child.

After travelling the world playing music throughout her twenties with a variety of rock and indie bands, she hung up her bass guitar and picked up a pen. She's been writing ever since and twice been a winner of the Kenneth Branagh Award for New Drama. Some of her plays are available online via

She has published two novels with Matador - the first, SLEEPING THROUGH WAR was her debut, published in 2018, and THE SEVENTH TRAIN (based on one of her award-winning plays) was published in 2019. She intends to write much more!

If Jackie could have another life, she would be a full-time philosopher and get paid to ask questions all day.

(Photo by Andy Abbott)

Book signing at Waterstones
  • Buy as a printed
  • £8.99

  • 13 customer reviews
  • Buy as an ebook
  • £1.99
  • Find this ebook at your favourite retailer
Also by Jackie Carreira / Related Books