The Girl on the Train Summary,Themes,Characters & Synopsis

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The Girl on the Train Summary,Themes,Characters & Synopsis
TitleThe Girl on the Train
AuthorPaula Hawkins
PublisherBlack Swan
No. of Pages317 Pages (SK), 395 Pages (US), 320 Pages (UK)
Publication Year2015
GenrePsychological Thriller
SettingPrimarily set in and around London, United Kingdom
AdaptationsThe novel was adapted into a film in 2016, directed
by Tate Taylor, starring Emily Blunt as Rachel Watson.


The main characters from the novel “The Girl on the Train” by Paula Hawkins are:

  1. Rachel Watson➞ She’s a lady who drinks a lot and takes a train every day. She gets involved in a mystery.
  2. Megan Hipwell➞ Another lady Rachel watches from the train. She goes missing, and Rachel is curious about her.
  3. Scott Hipwell➞ He’s Megan’s husband. He’s worried when Megan disappears.
  4. Anna Watson➞ Rachel’s ex-husband’s new wife. She doesn’t like Rachel.


  1. Drinking too much➔ The novel talks about people who drink too much alcohol and how it can mess up their lives.
  2. Watching others too much➔ It’s about a lady who looks at other people a lot and gets too involved in their lives.
  3. Forgetting things➔ The main character can’t remember some important stuff because she drinks too much.
  4. Secrets and lies➔ There are lots of secrets and lies in the story that cause problems for the characters.
  5. Trouble in families➔ The book shows how families can have problems and not be happy.
  6. Mystery and surprises➔ It’s a mysterious story with lots of surprising twists and turns.


The Girl on the Train is about a woman named Rachel who rides the train every day. She sees a couple from her train window and becomes curious about them. But then, something happens to the woman in the couple. Rachel gets involved in trying to find out what happened, but her memory is not very good because she drinks too much. As she investigates, secrets come out, and the story gets very suspenseful.


After splitting from her husband and having nowhere else to live, Rachel moved in with her college buddy Cathy. She keeps her unemployment a secret from Cathy. She rides the same trains in the morning and the evening every day, passing the same suburban homes along the tracks. She anticipates visiting one particular home every day, though. She identifies the individuals as Jason and Jess. She likes this home because it brings back happy memories of her life before Tom and her divorce.

She once witnessed Jess kissing a male. Since this man was considerably taller & had a different body type, Rachel was certain that it was not Jason. She learns of Megan Hipwell’s disappearance the next day. She recognizes Megan as Jess from the address in the newspaper and remembers the exact moment she saw Megan kissing the man. She attempts to call Jason or Scott to let them know what she witnessed since she can’t keep it to herself. She also visits the police station and reports what she saw there, but they reject her testimony since she was intoxicated on the night Megan vanished.

She receives a response from Scott asking her to call him. She is invited to a meeting with him. She discusses what she witnessed with him when they first met. She responds in the affirmative when he asks her whether she can recognize the man from the image. She claims that Megan’s therapist Kamal Abdic is the man she saw with Megan when she saw a photo of him. Later, Kamal is detained as a suspect but released due to a lack of proof. Megan was not found in Kamal’s bedroom when they searched Kamal’s home. However, Scott and Rachel continue to worry about Kamal and think he has a sexual motivation.

Rachel recalls being nearby on the day Megan vanished, but because she was severely inebriated, she is unable to recall what transpired. She gradually recalls minute events, such as stumbling on the stairs and a red-haired man assisting her. Her head and hands were bleeding as she recalled being at the train station’s underpass. To see if he can help her regain her memories and to attempt to uncover any facts that would make Kamal a suspect once more, Rachel chooses to visit the therapist. She is informed by Kamal that memories cannot be restored, but that a person who has lost a memory can frequently recall flashes by returning to the location where everything took place.

Days later, the authorities announced that Megan was pregnant in addition to her death. Scott and Rachel keep running into one another and even start having sexual activity, which makes them both feel angry and confused. Since Megan was not a friend of Rachel, and she had never visited her gallery, Scott learns that she had been deceiving him the entire time. Additionally, he finds out that she has been seeing Kamal Abdic, and he doesn’t trust her when she says that she is only trying to assist. When Rachel is dragged up the stairs by Scott, she begins to bleed. He then imprisons her in a space where she discovers a framed photograph of Scott and Megan in pieces. The following day, she immediately contacts the police because she believes Scott killed Megan.

Rachel eventually regains every recollection of Saturday evening while she is in the underpass. She recalls Tom punching her, hurting her head, then driving off with Megan. Despite their friendship, Rachel believes that she needs to talk to Anna about this. While this is going on, Anna uncovers a hidden phone and learns that Tom is having an affair, but she believes it to be with Rachel. She is convinced by Rachel when she tells her about Tom. However, Tom shows up and locks them in the home as they are ready to go to the police.

When Rachel tells him what she witnessed, he initially denies it but then admits that he was seeing Megan. On Saturday night, he claims, she continued phoning and threatening him; he was attempting to put an end to it. She stated that she would go to his house and tell Anna everything if he didn’t meet her elsewhere. Tom accuses Rachel of arriving at their house that day while intoxicated since it made Anna unhappy and she opted not to meet with her friends. Tom claims that since Megan kept yelling and swearing, he was forced to murder her. He fled after burying her in the woods. The viewer experiences this incident from Megan’s perspective, who claims that she was only trying to be sincere with everyone and care for her infant.

Tom now tries to murder Rachel or seriously harm her. She stabs him in the throat with the corkscrew to murder him out of self-defense. To clear Rachel’s identity, Anna contacts the ambulance and informs the police of everything. Before the ambulance comes, Rachel overhears her speaking to Tom and tightens the corkscrew even further in his throat. As the novel comes to a close, Rachel decides to leave that region for a while to restore her sobriety and her life.


What is The Girl on the Train about?

It’s about a woman named Rachel who watches a couple from a train. When the woman in the couple goes missing, Rachel gets involved in a mystery.

Who wrote The Girl on the Train?

Paula Hawkins wrote the novel.

Where does the story take place?

The story mainly happens in and around London.

What are the main themes in the book?

The novel talks about things like addiction, obsession, and secrets in relationships.

Is there a movie based on this book?

Yes, they made a movie in 2016 with Emily Blunt as the main character.

About the Author-Paula Hawkins

The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins
Full NamePaula Hawkins
Date of BirthAugust 26, 1972
Place of BirthSalisbury, Rhodesia (now Harare, Zimbabwe)
EducationUniversity of Oxford (Philosophy, Politics,and Economics)
Famous Works– The Girl on the Train (2015)
– Into the Water (2017)
– A Slow Fire Burning (2021)
Literary GenrePsychological Thriller, Crime Fiction

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