Five words from the blurb: Lake District, quiet, camper, stays, amusement
I used to live in the Lake District and so am drawn towards books set there. I had no idea that All Quiet on the Orient Express was based in the region until Annabel included it in her choice of books to represent the UK. I immediately bought a copy, keen to be transported back to the Lake District. Unfortunately that failed to happen, but it was a light, entertaining read.
All Quiet on the Orient Express focuses on a man who finds that he is the only person left on a campsite at the end of the tourist season. He agrees to do a few jobs for the owner and ends up staying, forming relationships with the locals. There was very little plot, with most of the book being a satire that revolved around an eclectic mix of characters.
Unfortunately I didn’t recognise the Lake District in any part of the book. It described a lake, but it failed to conjure up the majesty of the surrounding fells and much of the text made me feel that he wasn’t familiar with the area at all. Take this passage, for example:
Nonsense! Cumbrian locals are passionate real ale drinkers. It is probably one of the strongest Bitter supporting regions in the country. There were many other details that didn’t ring true and that, coupled with the lack of the regional dialect, made me feel this book was set in another part of the country. In fact, if I’d read this blind I’d have placed it in Berkshire or Buckinghamshire.
If I ignore the disappointing setting of this book it was a reasonable read. It was an accurate reflection a small community reacting to an outsider and there were many amusing little scenes. It was bit too charming for me, but I can see why so many people love Mills’ writing.
Recommended for those who love light character driven satire.