Book review: Kathleen McGurl, The Stationmaster’s Daughter

The Stationmasters Daughter

As the last train leaves, will life ever be the same?

The Stationmasters Daughter_FINAL

Dorset 1935

Stationmaster Ted has never cared much for romance. Occupied with ensuring England’s most beautiful railway runs on time, love has always felt like a comparatively trivial matter. Yet when he meets Annie Galbraith on the 8.42 train to Lynford, he can’t help but instantly fall for her.

But soon the railway is forced to close and a terrible accident occurs within the station grounds, Ted finds his job and any hope of a relationship with Annie hanging in the balance…


Present day

Recovering from heartbreak after a disastrous marriage, Tilly decides to escape from the bustling capital and move to Dorset to stay with her dad, Ken. When Ken convinces Tilly to help with the restoration of the old railway, she discovers a diary hidden in the old ticket office. Tilly is soon swept up in Ted’s story, and the fateful accident that changed his life forever.

But an encounter with an enigmatic stranger takes Tilly by surprise, and she can’t help but feel a connection with Ted’s story in the past.


As a railwayman’s daughter myself, I HAD to read this book, and I was not disappointed. The author notes at the end that the story was inspired in part by a family connection to a renovated railway, and you can really tell that there’s a passion for the tracks in the male characters in this book, one you couldn’t quite capture just by researching a few bits and pieces online.

I sometimes struggle with dual-timeline stories, finding myself rushing through one more quickly than the other, to ‘get back to’ the one I find more interesting; this wasn’t the case here. Both Tilly and Ted are engaging characters, and the mystery which brings both their stories together is equally intriguing in the past and present timelines. Once we got near the end of Ted’s story, I half-guessed which of the secondary characters might have a key role to play, but I still couldn’t put it down. And for Tilly, the reluctance to take part in her dad’s railway life, then fascination with Ted’s diaries, were entirely believable given what she had gone through. Obviously, I cannot give anything away, but I thought her own personal story’s ending was very satisfying too, and not entirely what I imagined it was going to be.

This was a thoroughly enjoyable read, and I would certainly recommend it to anyone who enjoys dual-timeline stories, especially those with a mystery at their heart.

Purchase Links:

UK –

US –



About Kathleen

The Stationmasters Kathleen McGurl author photo

Kathleen McGurl lives near the sea in Bournemouth, UK, with her husband. She has two sons who are now grown-up and have left home. She began her writing career creating short stories, and sold dozens to women’s magazines in the UK and Australia. Then she got side-tracked onto family history research – which led eventually to writing novels with genealogy themes. She has always been fascinated by the past, and the ways in which the past can influence the present, and enjoys exploring these links in her novels.

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