The Last Train to London By Meg Waite Glayton
THE OVERVIEW OF THE BOOK :
In 1936, the Nazi are little more than loud, brutish bores to fifteen-year old Stephan Neuman, the son of a wealthy and influential Jewish family and budding playwright whose playground extends from Vienna’s streets to its intricate underground tunnels. Stephan’s best friend and companion is the brilliant Žofie-Helene, a Christian girl whose mother edits a progressive, anti-Nazi newspaper. But the two adolescents’ carefree innocence is shattered when the Nazis’ take control.
There is hope in the darkness, though. Truus Wijsmuller, a member of the Dutch resistance, risks her life smuggling Jewish children out of Nazi Germany to the nations that will take them. It is a mission that becomes even more dangerous after the Anschluss?Hitler’s annexation of Austria?as, across Europe, countries close their borders to the growing number of refugees desperate to escape.
Tante Truus, as she is known, is determined to save as many children as she can. After Britain passes a measure to take in at-risk child refugees from the German Reich, she dares to approach Adolf Eichmann, the man who would later help devise the “Final Solution to the Jewish Question,” in a race against time to bring children like Stephan, his young brother Walter, and Žofie-Helene on a perilous journey to an uncertain future abroad.
REVIWES OF THE BOOK :
SUE*** This novel was beautifully written and well-researched. I loved all three of the main characters - they were all brave and cared deeply about their families and other people. Truus was a real hero but the other heroes were the parents who sent their children away, knowing that they would probably never see them again, so that they could be safe. This book made my cry because the characters were so real and I cared deeply about their futures.
Author Karen Fowler said this about The Last Train to London: "Recommend this book to anyone who thinks no single person can make a difference.”
Thanks to the author for a copy of this book to read and review. All opinions are my own.
ZOE*** Haunting, heartwrenching, and heroic!
The Last Train to London is a compelling, emotional interpretation of the life of Geertruida Wijsmuller, a Dutch Christian who as part of the Kindertransport rescue efforts helped transport close to 10,000 predominantly Jewish children out of Nazi-occupied European cities to the UK for safety just prior to the breakout of WWII.
The prose is tense and expressive. The characters are vulnerable, innocent, and courageous. And the plot, set in Austria during the late 1930s, is an exceptionally moving tale about life, love, strength, bravery, familial relationships, heartbreak, loss, guilt, grief, injustice, malice, hope, and survival.
Overall, The Last Train to London is a beautiful blend of harrowing facts and evocative fiction. It’s a powerful, pensive, affecting tale that highlights humanities ability to not only be excessively evil but incredibly selfless.
Thank you to HarperCollins Canada for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.
Yangsze Choo*** Sometimes a novel comes along that feels both rooted in history, yet timelessly pertinent. The Last Train to London is a brilliant and chilling reminder of history’s lessons, told urgently and sympathetically from the viewpoint of the children desperate to flee Hitler's regime, and the women willing to risk all to save them. Meg Waite Clayton's unflinching, evocative prose brings the entwined destinies of Stephan, Žofie-Helene, and Truus to life. The cruelties, large and small, inflicted by the Nazis on their chosen scapegoats echo ominously in today's world, leading us to ponder the thin line separating bravery from indifference. Yet The Last Train to London is also a reminder of love, tenderness, and friendship that blossoms despite tremendous risk. Beautifully written and brimming with hope and gravitas, this is a tale that will transport readers to the edge of their seats, even as the last Kinder Transport prepares, against all odds, to leave for London
Therese Fowler*** "The Last Train to London is a rare thing: intellectually provocative and emotionally moving in equal measure. What a fine tribute to the victims and survivors of the Nazis' early terrors, and to the woman who at great personal risk and sacrifice subverted Hitler's will. Everyone should read this timely, gorgeous book."