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Reviewed by K.C. Finn for Readers' Favorite
The Train Jumper is a work of fiction in the historical genre. It is aimed at the general adult reading audience and was penned by author Gwen B. Banta. The book follows Kat and Leni, two young women on the run through 1950s America who use the railroads to escape their lives. Kat has run away from college after losing her closest friend, and Leni is an illegal immigrant on the run from the law. With each stop on their journey, they discover new worlds and new ways of life from a Gentlemen’s Club to a plantation and beyond as they try to figure out where their place in the world is.
This book is positively dripping with charm and adventure in equal measure, with its two leading ladies hopping from box car to box car to see where the wind takes them. The state of Indiana proves a wonderful backdrop to this odyssey of self discovery, and Gwen B. Banta’s prose does an excellent job of transporting the reader back to 1950s rural America. Kat and Leni are characterized very effectively with the author establishing their characters quickly, then finding interesting and unexpected ways to develop those characters as the adventure unfolds. Their relationship is the beating heart of the story and the presentation of it is wonderful. The Train Jumper is a book that will appeal to a lot of people; its sense of adventure is matched by the incredible grit of its leading characters. Put together they are a recipe for an unmissable novel which I’d recommend to anyone.