This is a book about journeys and paths through life – those we choose to take and those we don’t. And the difficulties of taking those steps. It is set mostly on trains.Part memoir, part imagined history, in The Lost Properties of Love, Sophie Ratcliffe reflects on the realities of motherhood and marriage, revisits the experience of childhood bereavement, and muses on the messiness of everyday life.An extended train journey frames the action – and the author turns not to self-help manuals but to the fictions that have shaped our emotional and romantic landscape. Readers will find themselves propelled into Anna Karenina’s world of steam, commuting down the Northern Line with The Railway Children, and checking out a New York L-train with Anthony Trollope’s forgotten muse, Kate Field.As scenes in her own life collide with the stories of real and imaginary heroines, The Lost Properties of Love asks how we might find new ways of thinking about love and intimacy in the twenty-first century. Frank and painfully funny, this contemporary take on Brief Encounter is a compelling look at the workings of the human heart.