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on May 26, 2013 :
I've been reading Gabriella West's work since I was a review writer for the Kissed By Venus website and magasine, now sadly closed down. Her novel 'The Leaving' impressed me enough to follow her work closely. I bought this short story when it was first published, then came here to get it in a different format, and have been back to read it several times since.
There's something about the way Ms. West writes that really resonates with me. It might be a personal thing, but even so, there's an unflinching honesty to her work that makes her narrative voice compelling. Even though this story is short, it still manages to take up a lot of space in my head. She has a skill for choosing the right detail, the perfect description, to fill in for everything else, making the picture she paints in her stories colourful, intriguing and above all - realistic.
There's no glossing over things in Night Train to Florence. West writes the tale with brutal honesty. It's not a glamourous story, but it still shines. The two characters illustrate perfectly the inexperience, introspection and desire of their youth. Funnily enough, although there's no big romantic, rose-coloured tint to the intimate scene that transpires on this train journey, it's one of the most memorable, touching, and actually pretty damned sexy loves scenes I've read.
If you're wanting a deftly-written and intelligent story, well, here it is.
(review of free book)