Until Vienna (Romance on the Orient Express)

Written by Heather B. Moore
Review by Gail M. Murray

In 1900, seamstress/designer Georgina Ballard accompanies her elderly aunt on a private ‘twilight art tour’ aboard the Orient Express, organized by Professor Clyde Haskins. The month-long tour begins at the Paris Exposition touring art galleries in Paris, Munich, Vienna, and culminates in Constantinople—an array of romantic settings. It’s all a splendid matchmaking scheme orchestrated by Aunt Rowena. Once discovered, the two “young people” play along.

After the initial description of the sumptuous luxury of this celebrated train, the focus shifts to the developing relationship between Georgina and the professor. Both wary, having been stung in previous relationships, will they open to possibility? I believe Moore misses the opportunity to explore sensuality and passion by glossing over the visit to the Belvedere in Vienna. How would Georgina have reacted to Klimt’s Kiss and Makart’s erotic Senses? Instead, she opts for a charming stroll and more conversations à deux as the professor shows Georgina his Vienna—a charming toy shop with miniature toy trains and tea service and a sojourn in an exquisite chocolatier shop, sampling luscious chocolate truffles with pink lace frosting. When Aunt Rowena is suddenly taken gravely ill, they must leave the tour and return home. The surprising kiss as the professor pulls her into the empty train carriage is ripe with passion and promise. Is this goodbye or a beginning? Moore’s writing is fluid, charming, and filled with humorous characters, a tender heroine, and exotic locales. Recommended for romantics.