The People on Platform 5 – Clare Pooley

Published By: Random House
Pages: 368
Released On: 26/05/2022

Nobody speaks to strangers on the train. But what would happen if they did?

Every day at 8:05, Iona Iverson boards the train to go to work. Every day, she sees the same people and makes assumptions about them, even giving them nicknames. But they never speak. Obviously.

Then, one morning, Smart-but-Sexist-Surbiton chokes on a grape right in front of Iona. Suspiciously-Nice-New Malden steps up to help and saves his life, and this one event sparks a chain reaction.

With nothing in common but their commute, an eclectic group of people learn that their assumptions about each other don’t match reality. But when Iona’s life begins to fall apart, will her new friends be there when she needs them most?


Thanks to NetGalley and Random House for the advanced copy of this title in return for an honest review.

I think I’m the only person who didn’t get round to reading The Authenticity Project but having seen the rave reviews for Clare’s writing, I jumped at the chance to read this one.

I liked the different character perspectives of the same incidents. I often find multiple POVs confusing, but by only having 6, it’s enough to get differing views, but not so many that you need a note book to keep track. It’s exciting enough without being confusing.

If I’m honest, I did find the first 15% or so a bit slow, a bit repetitive, but I am so glad I persevered as it soon got really good and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

There are some tough subjects bought up – homosexuality, redundancy, ageism, domestic abuse, controlling behaviour, dementia, stress and anxiety – but they’re managed perfectly well. They’re not overwhelming, but they’re very natural as things that could conceivably happen to a group of six friends.

The writing is absolutely fantastic; each of our protagonists are so vividly written that they leap off the page and grab you by the hand so you can join their group. It’s so easy to read, the words just flow so beautifully, that before you know it, you’re half way through. And I’m actually quite sad that I’ve finished it now, as it was so warming and comforting.

I found it sweet without being sickly, it’s sad without being depressing, it’s positive without being over the top, but I think most of all, it is life-affirming, and really shows the importance of friends and not judging people too quickly or too harshly.

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