The Last Train to London
The New York Times bestselling author of Beautiful Exiles conjures her best novel yet, a pre-World War II-era story with the emotional resonance of Orphan Train and All the Light We Cannot See, centering on the Kindertransports that carried thousands of children out of Nazi-occupied Europe—and one brave woman who helped them escape to safety.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.

The Last Train to London Details

TitleThe Last Train to London
Author
ReleaseSep 10th, 2019
PublisherHarper
ISBN-139780062946966
Rating
GenreHistorical, Historical Fiction, Fiction, War, World War II, Holocaust, Adult, Adult Fiction, Novels, Literature, Jewish

The Last Train to London Review

  • Paige
    January 1, 1970
    This novel is based on the organization and implementation of the real Vienna Kindertransport that was led by Geertruida Wijsmuller. This fictional story occurs prior to 1940, and primarily happens during 1938. We see a Dutch couple, Truus (Geertruida) and her husband Joop Wijsmuller, who are childless. Truus is a brave and outspoken woman who risks her life countless time to seek refuge for helpless children. We also see the rich Jewish family of Stephan, who is stripped of everything once th This novel is based on the organization and implementation of the real Vienna Kindertransport that was led by Geertruida Wijsmuller. This fictional story occurs prior to 1940, and primarily happens during 1938. We see a Dutch couple, Truus (Geertruida) and her husband Joop Wijsmuller, who are childless. Truus is a brave and outspoken woman who risks her life countless time to seek refuge for helpless children. We also see the rich Jewish family of Stephan, who is stripped of everything once the Germans invade Austria. There is the family of Zophie (Stephan’s best friend), whose mother is a journalist reporting the true crimes of the Nazi’s and eventually is on the run. And, there is also Adolf Eichmann, the Nazi in charge of ridding Germany of its Jewish population through emigration. Beginning in 1936, we see the pre-invasion environment of Austria through the eyes of Stephan and Zophie. The “re-culturing” that Hitler aimed to achieve is a common topic of discussion in Stephan’s household among his parents and family members who are strong admirers of art. Soon after the Nazi’s have began assaulting their culture, German soldiers in their brown shirts with swastikas march in while Stephan and Zophie rehearsing a play. How will Zophie, an Aryan, react when Stephan is treated with brutality by Nazi’s? Meanwhile, after invasion, Truus plans to transport a large number of children in danger to London. It was hard for me to get invested in this story. There were too many characters in motion for me to get attached and emotional. With the chapters being so short, it also took a long time to get to know them. There was too much dialogue between Truus and Joop that was about everyday things which overcrowded their character. It felt like too much information was included about the planning process and mundane arbitrary paperwork that went into Truus’ operations rather than focusing on her “in action”. While the information was appreciated since lending to authenticity, it took away from the story and the characters. At times, they felt so far away from me because I felt clustered and weighed down in intentions, ideas, and procedures. I wanted to be in my feelings, but it didn’t happen.The story was at a dull but tolerant trot until 65% (on a Kindle) in which the plot starts to build and the story starts to take flight…but it’s almost over at that point.During the pre-invasion, there are details in this novel about degenerate art and artists. For more information regarding this topic, I would highly recommend the nonfiction book Hitler's Last Hostages: Looted Art and the Soul of the Third Reich by Mary M. Lane.Many thanks to HarperCollins, Edelweiss, and Netgalley for this ARC in exchange for my honest review.Geertruida Wijsmuller:Adolf Eichmann:
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  • Bkwmlee
    January 1, 1970
    3.5 stars rounded up to 4 stars As another worthy entry into the canon of World War II related historical fiction, this book focuses on the famous Kindertransport system that helped to transport thousands of children out of various parts of Europe during the Nazi occupation of the region in the late 1930s, immediately prior to the official start of the war. In particular, the story focuses on the efforts of Truus Wijsmuller, a brave Dutchwoman who dedicated her life to helping countless childre 3.5 stars rounded up to 4 stars As another worthy entry into the canon of World War II related historical fiction, this book focuses on the famous Kindertransport system that helped to transport thousands of children out of various parts of Europe during the Nazi occupation of the region in the late 1930s, immediately prior to the official start of the war. In particular, the story focuses on the efforts of Truus Wijsmuller, a brave Dutchwoman who dedicated her life to helping countless children escape Nazi-occupied territories, both on her own as well as working with other agencies. At the center of the story are the Neumans, a wealthy Jewish family whose chocolate-making business is known throughout Austria. Their teenage son Stephan is a budding playwright who, during the course of getting his haircut one day, meets math genius Zofie-Helene, a young Christian girl around his same age who quickly becomes his best friend and companion going on excursions together throughout the city of Vienna. Not long after they meet however, the Nazis invade Austria and soon, the 2 youngsters, along with Stephan’s little brother Walter, find themselves having to flee the only home they’d ever known, venturing on a harrowing journey toward an uncertain future where safety and survival are the goal but unfortunately not guaranteed. Over the years, I’ve read my fair share of WWII era novels and while stories set in this time period can difficult reads emotionally, I will continue to read them because of the importance I’ve always placed on knowing and understanding history as essential in order to learn from it. While this book did fall into the “necessary read” category for me and I’m definitely glad I read it (especially since my knowledge of the Kindertransports program was very limited prior to reading this), I feel like the story did not have as big of an emotional impact on me as other stories set in this era usually do. I think part of the reason for this is because of the way the story was formatted, which was basically with super short chapters where the narrative jumped back and forth from one character to another — this caused the story to come across too “choppy” for me and broke the flow a bit, to the point that it made it difficult for me to get into the story and connect with the characters as much as I had expected to. With that said, the last third or so of the story was actually quite strong and that’s when I started to feel more of a connection with the characters, however by that time, it was already near the end of the story. Overall though, I still feel that this story has the potential to be a powerful one if better executed, which is why I decided to round up in terms of the rating. I would also still recommend this one, as the story is a good one and the writing is good as well, it’s just that the format didn’t really work for me personally, but it might be fine for others. Received ARC from Harper Books (HarperCollins) via NetGalley.
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  • Meg Clayton
    January 1, 1970
    I'm thrilled to have The Last Train to London: A Novel, my new novel based on the true story of the Vienna Kindertransports and the heroic woman who led the rescues, now in readers' hands! In its first week out, it is a Canadian National bestseller and a Northern California bestseller. Some of the praise:"An absolutely fascinating, beautifully rendered story of love, loss, and heroism." - Kristin Hannah, author of The Nightingale and The Great AloneA September IndieNext Great Read - independent I'm thrilled to have The Last Train to London: A Novel, my new novel based on the true story of the Vienna Kindertransports and the heroic woman who led the rescues, now in readers' hands! In its first week out, it is a Canadian National bestseller and a Northern California bestseller. Some of the praise:"An absolutely fascinating, beautifully rendered story of love, loss, and heroism." - Kristin Hannah, author of The Nightingale and The Great AloneA September IndieNext Great Read - independent booksellers choice to readBBC and Cosmopolitan to-read lists“⭐️With its well-developed characters and race-against-the-clock plot, this fantastic novel should have broad appeal, especially with fans of historical fiction and thrillers.” - Library Journal (starred review)“⭐️Enlightening, meticulously researched … compelling.” – Deborah Donovan, Booklist (starred review)“The Last Train to London … glimmers with hope: the heroism of everyday people putting their own comfortable lives in jeopardy to help others.” – Amy Scribner, BookPage“Unforgettable ... Recommend this book to anyone who thinks no single person can make a difference.” - Karen Fowler, author of the PEN/Faulkner winner and Booker finalist We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves“A brilliant telling of the Kindertransport ... threaded with compassion, hope and love.” - Heather Morris, author of The Tattooist of Auschwitz "Brimming with hope and gravitas." - Yangsze Choo, author of The Night Tiger "Everyone should read this timely, gorgeous book." - Therese Ann Fowler, author of Z and A Well-Behaved Woman A New York Post “fall books everyone is talking about.” ***The book that would become Last Train to London began for me a decade ago when my usually chatty 15-year-old son arrived home troublingly silent. Nick had just come from our local children’s theater where, as research for a play, he’d interviewed someone separated from her family when she was only nine.Three years in to reading about the transports while publishing other books, I discovered Geertruida Wijsmuller—a Dutch Christian with no children of her own, who rescued thousands. Truus was elusive, though, largely forgotten. I found only a few spare facts and, after much searching, a review of a biography written in Dutch and 50 years out of print. My older son’s college on the other side of the U.S. held one of the three copies here but, thanks to copyright laws and my own wisdom about the importance of integrity quoted back to me, he could copy only a few pages. I Google-translated the table of contents and guessed which might cover the kindertransport.The short passage Chris sent included an amazing paragraph about how Truus faced down the Nazi then in charge of Vienna—a young and ambitious, not yet infamous, Adolf Eichmann, who would later be a major organizer of the Holocaust. I got a friend to find a copy of the book in Holland then and photocopy it for me—which is legal in Holland—and I Google-translated page by page a truly heroic story I now HAD to tell. 
I’m humbled and proud to share that The Last Train to London sold in heated auctions here and in Israel, and is being translated into fifteen languages. It’s Truus’s story, and that of the children and their families. As I wrote it, I held in my heart the silence of my own son in that moment before he first told me of the Kindertransports. I hope it does them justice, and that Truus will inspire readers as much as she has inspired me.U.S.:Books Inc: bit.ly/LastTBooks (signed copies)*Indiebound: bit.ly/LT2LIndieAmazon: amzn.to/2JeODDDApple Books: bit.ly/LastTrainABBarnes & Noble: bit.ly/LastTrainBNNNHarperCollins: bit.ly/LastTrainHCKobo: bit.ly/LT2LKoboCANADA:Indigo: bit.ly/LastTrainIndigoAmazon Canada: https://www.amazon.ca/Last-Train-Lond...And coming in 22 editions in 19 languages.THANK YOU for your interest!Warmly,Meg
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  • Sue
    January 1, 1970
    I've read many World War II books and it always amazes me when I am able to learn about someone who was a hero during this time but forgotten over time. Truus Wijsmuller, a member of the Dutch resistance, was a real hero. Through her determination and bravery, she was able to bring over ten thousand children from the German occupied areas of Europe to safety in England. She died in 1978 at 82 years of age.The book begins in 1936. Germany has gotten stronger and Truus has begun to rescue small nu I've read many World War II books and it always amazes me when I am able to learn about someone who was a hero during this time but forgotten over time. Truus Wijsmuller, a member of the Dutch resistance, was a real hero. Through her determination and bravery, she was able to bring over ten thousand children from the German occupied areas of Europe to safety in England. She died in 1978 at 82 years of age.The book begins in 1936. Germany has gotten stronger and Truus has begun to rescue small numbers of Jewish children. The two main characters are young teenagers who live in Vienna and are living their lives in the carefree way of the young. Fifteen-year old Stephan Neuman, the son of a wealthy and influential Jewish family and budding playwright lives in a huge home with his parents and younger brother. Stephan’s best friend and companion is the brilliant Žofie-Helene, a Christian girl whose mother edits a progressive, anti-Nazi newspaper. In March, 1938, their lives change drastically when the Germans invade Austria. Truus realizes that she needs to get a large number of children out of Austria for their safety and arranges a meeting with Adolf Eichmann. He tells her that 600 children can get on the train headed to England - not 599 and not 601 but they must travel on the Sabbath, which makes the rescue even more difficult to arrange. Will Truus be able to rescue Stephan and Zofie and keep them safe or will they be forced to stay in Austria and face an unknown and perilous future?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.
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  • Dennis
    January 1, 1970
    I really enjoy reading historical fiction lately and I feel as if the genre has blown-up in 2019. If you loved The Lost Girls of Paris or The Huntress, I would definitely recommend that you consider reading Meg Waite Clayton's The Last Train to London . Based on the true story of Truus Wijsmuller (aka Tante Truus), a member of the Dutch resistance, and her struggle to save innocent Jewish refugee children throughout Europe during the height of the Nazi regime's crimes against humanity Pre-World I really enjoy reading historical fiction lately and I feel as if the genre has blown-up in 2019. If you loved The Lost Girls of Paris or The Huntress, I would definitely recommend that you consider reading Meg Waite Clayton's The Last Train to London . Based on the true story of Truus Wijsmuller (aka Tante Truus), a member of the Dutch resistance, and her struggle to save innocent Jewish refugee children throughout Europe during the height of the Nazi regime's crimes against humanity Pre-World War 2. While the story is emotionally driven, at times I felt a major disconnect to the storyline in the first half of the story. It was like there was a distance placed between me and the characters, but I'm unsure why. I think that the story might have been a little too long for me to enjoy it fully, and that placed a barrier between me and the emotional experience that the characters went through. The story focuses on Tante Truus's journey in rescuing children, and also Stephan Neuman and his family's pain during the annexation of Austria. Stephan's point-of-view during this story is more gripping and tragic, while Tante Truus's is more timeline focused. We venture to their journey of survival and hearbreak, while also reminding us of the tragic events that unfolding in the lat 1930s. While this novel's theme highlights the events that unfolded during Nazi Germany's power began to rise, it also showcases many countries's unwillingness to accept refugees of the Jewish community while they were trying to escape persecution. At times, I couldn't help but see similarities with the how America and Europe are handling the refugee crises that are unfolding in today's society. The Last Train to London takes awhile to build up, but once you get into the third section (well, actually "Part 3"), you'll be dedicated to the story. Beautiful writing with an emotionally-driven timeline makes for an overall compelling read.
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  • Zoe
    January 1, 1970
    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 la 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.
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  • Laura
    January 1, 1970
    So, now that I have finally been able to pull myself together and stop my incessant weeping (3 hours after finishing it) I will attempt to put the power of this novel into words (which is an impossible task). What an absolute beautiful, gut-wrenching, read this was. Everyone should read this book. It’s based on the real Vienna Kindertransport system that was set up in the pre-WWII years to get children—most of which were Jewish, but also kids of political prisoners & subversives of the Nazi So, now that I have finally been able to pull myself together and stop my incessant weeping (3 hours after finishing it) I will attempt to put the power of this novel into words (which is an impossible task). What an absolute beautiful, gut-wrenching, read this was. Everyone should read this book. It’s based on the real Vienna Kindertransport system that was set up in the pre-WWII years to get children—most of which were Jewish, but also kids of political prisoners & subversives of the Nazi party—out of Nazi threatened or held countries. Geertruida Wijsmuller-Meijer (known as Tante Truus to the children she saved) was an incredible Dutch woman who saved at least 1000 children through this system. She made deals with soulless Nazis, set up trains & ferries to get the kids out of the countries that no longer protected or wanted them and with the aid of the British, set up summer camps to hold the children while they were trying to find families to take them in. So, you can read the blurb to learn more about the plot (although I suggest just buying the book), I’m going to move on to what I thought of the book. The characters were so relatable & deep. I loved them, I just wanted to grab the kids from the pages & hold them (or in the nazis cases, to throttle them). I didn’t realize how quickly things changed in Vienna when they were annexed by the Germans. It was disgusting how readily neighbors turned on neighbors just because of differing religious beliefs and resentment of their wealth. I guess that was the most disturbing part of this novel. The cruelty of humanity. I made the mistake of reading this at the same time as Uncle Tom’s Cabin (Harriet Beecher Stowe). Two books about people who were tortured & treated like animals because of their skin color & what God they chose to worship. I was starting to lose faith in humanity altogether while reading these books. But then I’d read another chapter about Tante Truus’ work & the kids she was helping and I’d remember that even in the darkest moments of humanity, there are still good people. This book is about those people. A reporter, who even after being arrested by the nazis, immediately after her release, began reporting the truth of what was happening to the Jewish people. The innocent kids, who even after being ripped from their parents’ arms, were still willing to trust the adults (whom they couldn’t even understand) in a foreign land. A teenage boy, who grew up wealthy in both material goods & family/love, but had it all taken by the Nazis, yet still only cares about the wellbeing & safety of his little brother. These may be fictitious characters, but there are thousands who suffered these same indignities & kept fighting for what they loved and believed in. Geertruida Wijsmuller-Meijer however, was very much real. As were the children she saved. Kids who grew up to be writers, artists, scientists & one even a Nobel Laureate! Without the Vienna Kindertransport these kids would most likely have died (or at the very least, suffered severely) at the hands of the Nazis . This is a book we should all read, not just to learn about the people like Geertruida Wijsmuller-Meijer, who were willing to help when few were, but to remind ourselves what comes of us judging people by their looks, beliefs and preferences. I think that’s a lesson we need to be reminded of right now especially...I won this book in a Goodreads giveaway.
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  • Elizabeth of Silver's Reviews
    January 1, 1970
    I'm here to help you were the words the children longed to hear and words they trusted belonged to Tante Truus who is an actual woman named Truus Wijsmuller-Meijer.THE LAST TRAIN TO LONDON focuses on saving Jewish children by this woman who is said to have saved 10,000 children.We meet many characters that are frightened because of what is going on in Germany and the rest of Europe as well as meeting the frightened children.The reader sees what is happening in the daily lives of the European peo I'm here to help you were the words the children longed to hear and words they trusted belonged to Tante Truus who is an actual woman named Truus Wijsmuller-Meijer.THE LAST TRAIN TO LONDON focuses on saving Jewish children by this woman who is said to have saved 10,000 children.We meet many characters that are frightened because of what is going on in Germany and the rest of Europe as well as meeting the frightened children.The reader sees what is happening in the daily lives of the European people, and the wonderful work Tante Truus does by secretly transporting Jewish children to safety.Each chapter has a very clever title, and Ms. Waite Clayton did amazing research.The beginning took a little while to figure out what actually was going on and who was who, but it all worked out. The book truly depicted the era and Ms. Wijsmuller-Meijer's work.If you enjoy historical fiction and want to experience an excellent history lesson even though it details the cruel treatment the Jewish citizens endured during this era, you will want to take the time to read THE LAST TRAIN TO LONDON. You also get to see the many good, helpful people along with the distasteful ones.Ms. Waite Clayton’s writing and the cover are definitely pull-you-in. A marvelous, heartbreaking, and well-researched book you won't want to miss. 5/5This book was given to me by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Yangsze Choo
    January 1, 1970
    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 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.
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  • DeAnn
    January 1, 1970
    4 WWII Kindertransport starsAnother stellar entry into the world of historical fiction set during WWII. This time mostly in Austria. This book provided a fascinating look into the world of Vienna shortly before the Anschluss and then through the war. There were the things you would expect from most books set during this time – terrible treatment of Jews, Kristallnacht, oppression, and brazen racism. The difference in this book is the focus on Jewish children that were sent away by parents and th 4 WWII Kindertransport starsAnother stellar entry into the world of historical fiction set during WWII. This time mostly in Austria. This book provided a fascinating look into the world of Vienna shortly before the Anschluss and then through the war. There were the things you would expect from most books set during this time – terrible treatment of Jews, Kristallnacht, oppression, and brazen racism. The difference in this book is the focus on Jewish children that were sent away by parents and the heroic efforts of a Dutch woman – Truus Wijsmuller.I can hardly imagine what these parents went through to say goodbye to their children. Nor can I imagine how difficult an undertaking it was. Nearly 10,000 Jewish children made their way to England and were often the only surviving members of their family. One interesting fact for the trains is that they didn’t take very young children, because it would be too hard to care for them in transit with minimal adult chaperones.This book was well researched and took a bit of time for me to be drawn in. I really enjoyed the characters of Stephan and Zofie-Helene and seeing the world through their eyes. Truus was a fascinating character as well and I’m glad this book has highlighted her efforts.I wish I could say that decades later we no longer have situations like this in the world, but this book is a good reminder that we shouldn’t repeat mistakes of the past. I wish more countries were willing to take in refugees. This book is well worth your time.Thank you to Meg Waite Clayton, Netgalley, and Harper Collins for a complimentary copy to read in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Davida Chazan
    January 1, 1970
    4.75/5 to be precise! Author Meg Waite Clayton’s newest novel is a biographical, historical, women’s fiction novel about Geertruida Wijsmuller, aka “Tante Truus” who was instrumental in getting thousands of children out of Nazi Germany via the Kindertansport. This powerful and important novel was just released and I hope you’ll read my #bookreview of it on my blog now. https://tcl-bookreviews.com/2019/09/1...
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  • Marilyn
    January 1, 1970
    I was lucky enough to have won an ARC of The Last Train to London by Meg Waite Clayton in a goodreads give away. The cover intrigued me as soon as I received my copy and as soon as I began reading it I was hooked. This was a book that made a lasting impression on me. Meg Waite Clayton's research for this book was impressive. As many books as I have read about the Holocaust and World War II I marvel at how many brave human beings I did not know about and how their heroic acts saved so many from u I was lucky enough to have won an ARC of The Last Train to London by Meg Waite Clayton in a goodreads give away. The cover intrigued me as soon as I received my copy and as soon as I began reading it I was hooked. This was a book that made a lasting impression on me. Meg Waite Clayton's research for this book was impressive. As many books as I have read about the Holocaust and World War II I marvel at how many brave human beings I did not know about and how their heroic acts saved so many from unspeakable cruelties and deaths. This book will pull at your heart and bring tears to your eyes. Truus Wijsmuller was a member of the Dutch resistance and was determined to make saving Jewish children her mission. In 1936, as the story began, Truus or Tante Truus, as she liked to be called by her children, had already began smuggling Jewish children in small numbers out of Hitler's Germany as early as 1933 and bringing them to any nation that would take them. Truus and her husband Joop were both invested in this endeavor. They had a happy, supportive marriage that depended on their mutual respect for one another. Although childless, after many miscarriages, the thousands of children Truus saved, became their children. Due to Truus's bravery over ten thousand mostly Jewish children were saved. Perhaps her most challenging rescue though was in Austria, just after Hitler's invasion. Eichmann, the head of Germany's Jewish Office, had to be persuaded and convinced by Truus, to allow 600 mostly Jewish children to be taken out of Austria to England, by the Vienna Kindertransport.In 1936, prior to the Nazi invasion of Austria, Stephan Neuman, a fifteen year old Jewish boy, lived in Vienna with his parents and little brother Walter. Their father, Herman Neuman owned and ran a very successful family business, Neuman Chocolates. Stephan lived a very privileged life but was not defined by it. He aspired to be a writer and playwright with his role model being Zweig. Although Stephan's family considered themselves Austrians first, the Nazis saw them as Jewish. One day Stephan stopped by Otto Perger's barber shop to get a quick haircut. Perhaps quite by fate, Stephan was introduced to Zofie-Helene that day. She was Otto Perger's granddaughter and Kathe Perger's daughter, who was the editor of the anti- Nazi newspaper, The Vienna Independent newspaper. Zofie- Helene was a Christian girl, a little younger than Stephan, who excelled in Mathematics. She was brilliant. It was evident that there was a special spark that existed immediately between Stephan and Zofie-Helene. They became best friends but their lives were about to change drastically. In March 1938, the Nazis invaded and took over Austria. The Nazis raided Stephan's house, set up their headquarters on the floors the family had occupied and forced the family to move up to the servants rooms on the top floor of the house. Stephan's mother was dying of cancer. When the Nazis came and forced his father from their house, his father pleaded to stay to take care of his dying wife. Mercilessly, the Nazis beat Stephan's father numerous times which the family later learned resulted in his death. Stephan was able to escape to the roof and then to the underground tunnels beneath his father's chocolate business. Zofie-Helene's mother was arrested and put in jail. Their friendship was not destined to end, though.When Germany invaded Austria, Helen and Norman Bentwich of England persuaded England to fund a rescue and find homes for 600 children from Austria. They appealed to Truus Wijsmuller and her husband Joop to allow Truus to go to Austria and meet with Adolf Eichmann so they could rescue these 600 children. Meeting with Eichmann was probably Truus's most challenging pursuit. She came to realize that Eichmann imposed his power through pure intimidation. He was going to allow Truus to rescue 600 children from Austria but she knew if she was one minute late or one child short, Eichmann would surely cancel the entire transport. Eichmann demanded that Truus have all 6oo children ready to leave by Saturday. He knew that Saturday was the Jewish Sabbath and that some parents might forbid their children to travel on the Jewish Sabbath. Again, Eichmann knew he was imposing his power. Despite all the obstacles, Truus was able to get all 600 children on the train headed for England. Fortunately for Stephan, a young boy named Carl Fuchsel was diagnosed with measles just as the children were to board the train. Stephan, having number 610, assumed Carl Fuchsel's identity and took his place. Stephan was able to grant his Mutti's (Mother's) last wish to him. He would accompany Walter to England and keep him safe and help him remember her and his father. Just as the train was to depart another addition was placed on the train. A basket with a tiny baby was handed to Zofie with instructions to help the baby live a life where she would be safe. The children that were allowed to leave Austria on the train had to be between 4 and 17 years of age. No babies were meant to travel on the train so Zofie, with Stephan's help, had to keep her hidden. Truus had a big job ahead of her as well. All 600 of the children on board depended on her for their safety and their future. Separated from their families, most of these children would never see their parents again. Most of the children, though, after arriving in England, were placed in homes with loving families. For some it was a long process, though. What happened to Zofie, baby Johanna (named after Zofie's own younger sister that was too young to be included on this kindertransport) Stephan and little Walter and how will their futures end?The Last Train to London was one of the best books I have read in a while. I loved the characters Meg Waite Clayton invented with Zofie-Helene and Stephan. Their friendship and innocence was beautiful. The remarkable, brave and unselfish acts of Truus and Joff Wijsmuller, Helen and Norman Bentwich and too many countless others that risked their lives to save Jewish children during this horrific time in history cannot be ignored but must be recognized and Ms. Clayton did a brilliant job doing just that. This is a book that will be hard to put down. Thank goodness for people like Truus Wijsmuller. This was a well written and well researched book. I highly recommend this book. All opinions expressed in this review are my own.
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  • Tammy
    January 1, 1970
    I may be approaching WWII historical burnout. There is no doubt that Truus Wijsmuller was a heroine of WWII. She, as part of the Dutch resistance, saved thousands of Jewish children from certain death as part of the Kindertransport. The story is told from the perspectives of Wisjmuller, a fifteen year old Jewish boy and his best friend, a Christian girl, as the Nazis come into power. Read this if you want to know more about a courageous women who faced down Eichmann and outsmarted Nazis. I may g I may be approaching WWII historical burnout. There is no doubt that Truus Wijsmuller was a heroine of WWII. She, as part of the Dutch resistance, saved thousands of Jewish children from certain death as part of the Kindertransport. The story is told from the perspectives of Wisjmuller, a fifteen year old Jewish boy and his best friend, a Christian girl, as the Nazis come into power. Read this if you want to know more about a courageous women who faced down Eichmann and outsmarted Nazis. I may go back to reading nonfiction since this fell a bit flat for me.
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  • Therese Fowler
    January 1, 1970
    "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."
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  • Amy
    January 1, 1970
    Every once in a while, a character in a book touches my soul and inspires me to be a better person. Truss Wijsmuller was such a person. A Dutch woman, she helped to transport over ten thousand German and Austrian children, most of whom were Jewish, to safety in England or other European refuges. I've read about the "Kindersport" as it was known, and one of my friend's grandmother's was one such lucky child who made it to London. I was amazed by the sacrifices that Truus and her husband made duri Every once in a while, a character in a book touches my soul and inspires me to be a better person. Truss Wijsmuller was such a person. A Dutch woman, she helped to transport over ten thousand German and Austrian children, most of whom were Jewish, to safety in England or other European refuges. I've read about the "Kindersport" as it was known, and one of my friend's grandmother's was one such lucky child who made it to London. I was amazed by the sacrifices that Truus and her husband made during this time. She never had children of her own but I believe her transport truly gave these children a new life because of her actions; she was a mother to them in a unique way. The historical research was excellent. There have been many recent historical fiction books about the Holocaust; this book surpassed my expectations and I highly recommend it!
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  • Tracy Guzeman
    January 1, 1970
    A novel that feels timely in its portrayal of the best and worst of humanity, from astonishing bravery to chilling complicity, The Last Train to London transports the reader first to pre-World War II Vienna in the years before the Anschluss, and then after, when the city becomes a prison for its Jewish residents desperate to escape. It is gritty, beautiful, and impossible to put down.
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  • Ellen
    January 1, 1970
    Beautifully written historical fiction novel taking place in the 1930’s in Austria. Stephan is from a family of successful chocolatiers. As the Nazis took over Austria, Stephan’s family loses everything; because they are Jews, they are given few choices. Zofie-Helene, Stephan’s friend, is also in danger as her mother is a journalist revealing the truth about Eichmann and his henchmen. A truly emotional story, brought to life through brave and vulnerable characters. Highly recommend.
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  • Guylou
    January 1, 1970
    This is one of the most moving historical novels I have ever read. This book is based on the life of Geertruida Wijsmuller-Meijer (a.k.a. Tante Truus), an Austrian woman who stood for justice and risked her own life to rescue hundreds of Jewish children during WWII. She was a true hero.The story follows two Austrian children. Stephan Neuman wants to be a play-writer when he grows up. Zofie-Helene Perger wants to be a mathematician when she grows up. They become friends but when Germany annexes A This is one of the most moving historical novels I have ever read. This book is based on the life of Geertruida Wijsmuller-Meijer (a.k.a. Tante Truus), an Austrian woman who stood for justice and risked her own life to rescue hundreds of Jewish children during WWII. She was a true hero.The story follows two Austrian children. Stephan Neuman wants to be a play-writer when he grows up. Zofie-Helene Perger wants to be a mathematician when she grows up. They become friends but when Germany annexes Austria in 1938, Stephan, a young Jew, is no longer permitted to be friend with Zofie, a young Arian. Their beautiful friendship will be shaken but not broken. When offered a chance to go to Great Britain, they both embark on a long journey of discovery, courage and commitment.🙋🏼‍♀️ Thank you, Harper Collins Canada for sending me an ARC of this extraordinary book. The Last Train to London by Meg Waite Clayton will be available at your favourite bookstore on September 10, 2019.#poodles #poodlestagram #poodlesofinstagram #furbabies #dogsofinstagram #bookstagram #bookstagrammer #book #books #booklover #bookish #bookaholic #reading #readersofinstagram #instaread #ilovebooks #bookishcanadians #canadianbookstagram #bookreviewer #bookcommunity #bibliophile #bookphotography #thelasttraintolondon #megwaiteclayton #bookreview #historicalfiction #booksofhcc
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  • Bren McClain
    January 1, 1970
    In the best of books, a character makes me want to be better than I am. This is exactly how Meg Waite Clayton's heroine, Truus Wijsmuller, affected me. Through her unbridled bravery, she rescued over ten thousand children from German oppression, brought them to safety in England. But this book goes further in its value for me. Although set in the 1930s, this story has immense relevance and lessons for today. Well-researched. Brilliantly written. Timeless. Note: I "won" this book as part of a Goo In the best of books, a character makes me want to be better than I am. This is exactly how Meg Waite Clayton's heroine, Truus Wijsmuller, affected me. Through her unbridled bravery, she rescued over ten thousand children from German oppression, brought them to safety in England. But this book goes further in its value for me. Although set in the 1930s, this story has immense relevance and lessons for today. Well-researched. Brilliantly written. Timeless. Note: I "won" this book as part of a Goodreads give-away.
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  • Rebecca
    January 1, 1970
    In Austria pre-World War II, a 16 year old Jewish boy, Stephan, is expected to someday take over his father's thriving chocolate business but instead longs to be a playwright. He also has a huge crush on 15 year old Žofie-Helene, a Christian girl who is the daughter of an outspoken, female newspaper editor. When the Nazis invade, both families find themselves in a perilous position. Meanwhile, a courageous Dutchwoman named Truus Wijsmuller, has made it her life's mission to help Jewish children In Austria pre-World War II, a 16 year old Jewish boy, Stephan, is expected to someday take over his father's thriving chocolate business but instead longs to be a playwright. He also has a huge crush on 15 year old Žofie-Helene, a Christian girl who is the daughter of an outspoken, female newspaper editor. When the Nazis invade, both families find themselves in a perilous position. Meanwhile, a courageous Dutchwoman named Truus Wijsmuller, has made it her life's mission to help Jewish children escape the Nazis. Unable to bear children of her own with her husband, Joop, she is compelled to find refuge for as many Jewish children as possible. "My father used to say courage isn't the absence of fear, but rather going forward in the face of it." Just like a train, the first 1/3 of this story unfolded slowly before gaining momentum and a more constant speed. The next third chugged along nicely, allowing me to form an affinity for each of the main characters. Even though the book was long, the short chapters definitely helped it move along more quickly than expected. By the time I reached the last third, it was full steam ahead, and then I couldn't put it down! I found the scenes in which the parents had to say good-bye to their children especially poignant, excruciating, and heart wrenching. As a friend explained to Truus' husband, this baby has a mother "who loves her enough to give her away." Sob.Even though I’ve read numerous books set during WWII, it was a unique subject for me and definitely needs to be shared with the world. Location: Vienna, Austria, Netherlands, and BritainI received an advance copy of this book. All opinions are my own.
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  • Shelly Rena
    January 1, 1970
    While this historical fiction is about a little known Kindertransport from Vienna before World War II, it was a very slow read. There were no real villains or climax. I was about to give up many times because of the slowness of the plot line. The author also assumes you know all these names from history which I did not. This was my first Meg Waite Clayton book, and not sure I will read others from her.
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  • Lynda
    January 1, 1970
    I'm so grateful to have won an advance copy of this novel, and will surely be loaning it to my friends to read as well. As other reviewers have written, there are a lot of WWII and Holocaust novels being published in the last year or so, but I feel that this is one of the best and most important, both in story telling and as a reminder to the world that the children MUST be cared for and protected and above all, loved, for without them, there is no future. They will move ahead and tell what they I'm so grateful to have won an advance copy of this novel, and will surely be loaning it to my friends to read as well. As other reviewers have written, there are a lot of WWII and Holocaust novels being published in the last year or so, but I feel that this is one of the best and most important, both in story telling and as a reminder to the world that the children MUST be cared for and protected and above all, loved, for without them, there is no future. They will move ahead and tell what they have endured so that perhaps the hate of the world might be vanquished again. I'll definitely be watching for this author's appearances on tour, and hoping for many more books to be written by her.
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  • Kari
    January 1, 1970
    A heart-pounding, tear-producing, thought-provoking, heart-breaking page-turner that will leave you asking "what would you have done"? Meg Waite Clayton's story of pre-World War II's Kindertransports will change the way you look at today's refugees and make you wonder if as Americans we could, and should, do better.
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  • Nancy Rankin
    January 1, 1970
    I am a believer that those who do not know about the past are doomed to repeat it and Meg Waite Clayton has written an excellent book that beautifully and passionately reminds us of the Nazi atrocities that occurred before many of us were born. I was vaguely aware of the work to move children to safer locations but did not know about Truus Wijsmuller and the Kindertransports. It took me a little while to get the characters straight but after that I was hooked especially after plans were made to I am a believer that those who do not know about the past are doomed to repeat it and Meg Waite Clayton has written an excellent book that beautifully and passionately reminds us of the Nazi atrocities that occurred before many of us were born. I was vaguely aware of the work to move children to safer locations but did not know about Truus Wijsmuller and the Kindertransports. It took me a little while to get the characters straight but after that I was hooked especially after plans were made to get the children out of Austria. I am a night owl but read well past what is reasonable for me because I wanted to find out what happened to the children and Tante Truus. Clayton has written The Race for Paris, another WWI novel about a female reporter and photographer along with a British photographer and their effort to be the first journalists to reach Paris as the allies enter the occupied city. I highly recommend both books.
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  • Miss W Book Reviews
    January 1, 1970
    I love Historical Fiction, especially WWII ERA. This novel is one of the best historical fiction pieces I have read. The Last Train to London by Meg Waite Clayton is based on the true story of Truus Wijsmulle who affected change by helping smuggle thousands of Jewish children from Germany and Austria in WWII. The research that went into this novel is very apparent to this reader. The characters that were crafted were complex and complicated yet innocent and determined at the same time. My heart I love Historical Fiction, especially WWII ERA. This novel is one of the best historical fiction pieces I have read. The Last Train to London by Meg Waite Clayton is based on the true story of Truus Wijsmulle who affected change by helping smuggle thousands of Jewish children from Germany and Austria in WWII. The research that went into this novel is very apparent to this reader. The characters that were crafted were complex and complicated yet innocent and determined at the same time. My heart broke 1000 times reading this book . This is an engaging read and a reminder of a horrific time in history. I highly recommend this book.
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  • Gary Parkes
    January 1, 1970
    A wonderful and engaging read that is well researched and thoughtfully written. Excellent character development and plotting round out the greatness of this historical fiction read. The author grabs you and doesn't let go and even got me to shed a few tears. Highly recommend.
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  • Susan Peterson
    January 1, 1970
    The Last Train to London is compelling historical fiction, an extraordinary story of sacrifice and bravery. Set in Vienna in the late 1930’s, the author has given us a detailed and compassionate look into the plight of Austria and its Jewish population, through the Anschluss, Kristallnacht, and a Vienna which quickly changed from an elegant city to one of hate and terror. The novel is centered around the Kindertransport which saved the lives of thousands of children, and the courageous Dutch wom The Last Train to London is compelling historical fiction, an extraordinary story of sacrifice and bravery. Set in Vienna in the late 1930’s, the author has given us a detailed and compassionate look into the plight of Austria and its Jewish population, through the Anschluss, Kristallnacht, and a Vienna which quickly changed from an elegant city to one of hate and terror. The novel is centered around the Kindertransport which saved the lives of thousands of children, and the courageous Dutch woman who helped them escape. The story is told from several different points of view, including children and their parents whose lives are irrevocably shattered with the Nazi occupation, as well as Adolf Eichmann, who oversaw the deportation of millions of Jews. Through the author’s words, I was able to see Vienna as it was and as it changed; I could feel the terror of the families; I was amazed at the bravery and wits of Tante Truus, who was instrumental in saving hundreds of children. This beautifully written novel is a gripping tribute to the lives that were saved, to the brave men and women who put their lives in danger to help these families, to the terrified families who wanted to save their children at any cost, and to all of the lives who could not be saved.
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  • Jean
    January 1, 1970
    One of the most important novels of the Holocaust I have read. The last 100 pages were a runaway train, for sure. Compelling and brilliant.
  • Betty Hutchinson
    January 1, 1970
    Wow, what a book! This book is one that I won in a giveaway and I am thankful for being blessed to own it.The story is based on true events surrounding the Kindertransport which brought thousands of children, mostly Jewish, out of Europe when Germany began taking over just before WWII began. The story is mainly set in Vienna, centering around two families, the Neumans and Pergers, and a woman, Truus Wijsmuller-Meijer and her husband Joop who lived in Amsterdam. The book is written from the persp Wow, what a book! This book is one that I won in a giveaway and I am thankful for being blessed to own it.The story is based on true events surrounding the Kindertransport which brought thousands of children, mostly Jewish, out of Europe when Germany began taking over just before WWII began. The story is mainly set in Vienna, centering around two families, the Neumans and Pergers, and a woman, Truus Wijsmuller-Meijer and her husband Joop who lived in Amsterdam. The book is written from the perspective of these individuals.The author's ability to be so descriptive and detailed allows the reader to close their eyes and be transported to Vienna, to see the sights, feel the emotions, picture the characters, smell the odors and aromas, hear the violence and feel the love and despair. I was immersed in this story. The book is filled with memorable characters that the readers will love and hate, feel sorry for and connect with. The story brings out just a bit of the early suffering that the Jewish people endured at the beginning of Hitler's reign. I would recommend this book to everyone who is interested in the history of pre-World War II. This is my first encounter with reading Meg Waite Clayton, but I am intrigued to read more of her books. It is a book that deserves accolades much greater than I can express. Bravo on a work that is so fantastic!
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  • Donna Hines
    January 1, 1970
    I can't recall ever having a book that was so in depth and complex in nature and emotions that I had to come back to it several times just to finish. To think it's all based on a true story. Wow!This book was just such a book capturing the mind, heart, and soul of the reader and good luck trying to finish it without a Kleenex or two.My word where does one even begin as it's during the time period of the late 30's , a time of horrific terror upon the Jews by Nazis ordered from Hitler to basically I can't recall ever having a book that was so in depth and complex in nature and emotions that I had to come back to it several times just to finish. To think it's all based on a true story. Wow!This book was just such a book capturing the mind, heart, and soul of the reader and good luck trying to finish it without a Kleenex or two.My word where does one even begin as it's during the time period of the late 30's , a time of horrific terror upon the Jews by Nazis ordered from Hitler to basically destroy everyone and everything.It's that fear that's shown through the eyes of the children as they are separated from their families and taken away never to see them again.One such beacon of light is Tante Truus a member of the Dutch Resistance as she became known who serves one mission and that mission is to save as many of the children from Nazi control as possible.She is the mother to all the children, calming their fears, supporting their dreams, giving them hope for a brighter future.The journeys that many of these children and families took was heartbreaking and destructive yet they never lost hope. They fought till the end.This novel is a must read for 2019!
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