The Lost Ticket Read Online Freya Sampson

Categories Genre: Romance Tags Authors:
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Total pages in book: 101
Estimated words: 95861 (not accurate)
Estimated Reading Time in minutes: 479(@200wpm)___ 383(@250wpm)___ 320(@300wpm)
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Strangers aboard a London bus unite to help an elderly man find his missed love connection in the heartwarming new novel from the author of The Last Chance Library.

When Libby Nicholls arrives in London, brokenhearted and with her life in tatters, the first person she meets on the bus is elderly Frank. He tells her about the time in 1962 that he met a girl on the number 88 bus with beautiful red hair just like hers. They made plans for a date at the National Gallery art museum, but Frank lost the bus ticket with her number on it. For the past sixty years, he’s ridden the same bus trying to find her, but with no luck.
Libby is inspired to action and, with the help of an unlikely companion, she papers the bus route with posters advertising their search. Libby begins to open her guarded heart to new friendships and a budding romance, as her tightly controlled world expands. But with Frank’s dementia progressing quickly, their chance of finding the girl on the 88 bus is slipping away.
More than anything, Libby wants Frank to see his lost love one more time. But their quest also shows Libby just how important it is to embrace her own chances for happiness—before it’s too late—in a beautifully uplifting novel about how a shared common experience among strangers can transform lives in the most marvelous ways.

Full Book:

PROLOGUE

April 1962

Frank spotted her out of the front window as the bus pulled up at Clapham Common Station.

She was standing at the bus stop, wearing a pair of wide-legged trousers, what looked like a man’s tweed jacket, and a black beret, set on a sideways angle to reveal a shock of red hair underneath. The whole ensemble was unlike anything he’d ever seen a girl wear before, both boyish and feminine at the same time. From his seat at the front of the top deck, Frank saw a flash of green eyes under the beret and felt his heart quicken.

The 88 stopped and the girl boarded, disappearing from view. Frank could hear the conductor downstairs greeting passengers as they paid their fares, and he imagined the girl taking a ticket and finding a seat on the lower deck. Should he move downstairs? He paused, struck with indecision. And then he felt a movement behind him and caught a glimpse of tweed to his right. Frank kept very still, his head facing the front window, but out of the corner of his eye, he saw the girl sit in the vacant seat across the aisle from him. She put her bag down by her feet, closed her eyes, and let out an audible sigh.

The bus pulled away from the stop and set off up Clapham High Street. The girl didn’t move from her position or open her eyes, so Frank was able to steal glances at her. He guessed that she was slightly younger than him, maybe eighteen or nineteen, although she held herself with the confidence of someone twice her age. She was surprisingly tall, with a long, slender neck and a sharp, pointed chin. Her skin was so pale it looked like porcelain, and up close he could see that her hair was the color of the orange marmalade his parents sold in their shop. As the bus approached Stockwell, she still hadn’t moved and Frank was beginning to wonder if she’d fallen asleep, when all of a sudden she opened her eyes and turned her head toward him.

“Do you make a habit of staring at girls on the bus?”

Frank was so taken aback that he felt himself blush.

“Oh, I’m . . . eh . . .” he stumbled, sounding like the schoolboy he suddenly felt like. “I’m sorry.”

She looked at him with her olive green eyes, and Frank saw a flicker of amusement dance across her face. Oh god, she was laughing at him. “It’s rude, you know. Didn’t your mother teach you any manners?”

“I’m sorry,” Frank said again. His pulse was racing, and he reached into his pocket and pulled out his book, desperate to end this excruciating moment. He could feel her watching him, so he hurriedly turned to a random page and pretended to read.

“What’s the book, then?” she asked.

“Eh . . . it’s On the Road. By Jack . . .” He hesitated, unsure how to pronounce the surname. “Ker-ooh-ick.”

“Any good?”

At once, Frank had an urgent sense that how he answered this question was vital; that he had one chance to make up for the terrible first impression he’d made. But the problem was, he really didn’t like the book. He’d been lent it by a friend who loved all things American and had ordered it all the way from New York. His friend had raved about the book’s modern style and said something about Beat poets, but Frank had been struggling with its chaotic and strange narrative and had barely got past the first ten pages.


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