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To look up I was too mesmerized by the story to take time to fact check even though I was curious at times One sentence in the acknowledgments broke my heart I have read a fair amount about the Kindertransport but learned about a part of it from this novel This is a fine addition to the historical fiction Holocaust genre For some reason I thought friends here had already read this I ve seen so much about it here but I m now seeing this is not the case I highly recommend it I m glad I read it instead of the non fiction book I d thought I preferred I m going to check out this author s other books and if any of their topics appeal to me I will add them to my to read shelf 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 gripping and tragic while Tante Truus s is 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 So excited that The Last Train to London A Novel which is now a national bestseller in the US Canada and Europe as well as a National Jewish Book Award finalist in now out in paperback Nightingale author Kristin Hannah calls it An absolutely fascinating beautifully rendered story of love loss and heroism and Tattooist of Auschwitz author Heather Morris calls it Brilliant Booklist Enlightening meticulously researched compelling Bookpage glimmers with hope and Library Journal well developed characters and race against the clock plot fantastic novel It was an instant international bestseller in hardcover and is published or forthcoming in 19 languages International Bestseller National Bestseller in the US Canada the Netherlands and Norway National Jewish Book Award finalist Screenplay selected for the Meryl Streep and Nicole Kidman sponsored The Writer s Lab Indie Next Great Read bookstores recommend it Historical Novel Society Editor s Choice Starred reviews in Booklist and Library Journal BBC Top 10 Reads Cosmopolitan 10 new good books to read American Library AssociationBooklist Best New Books New York Post list of the books everyone is talking about Publishers Weekly s Book Deal of the Week Publisher s Marketplace Buzz Book Library Journal most anticipated Historical Fiction titles BookExpo s hottest galleysThe 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 nineThree 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 US held one of the three copies here but thanks to copyright laws and my own wisdom about the importance of integrity uoted back to me he could copy only a few pages I Google translated the table of contents and guessed which might cover the indertransportThe 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 meUSBooks Inc bitlyLastTBooks Indiebound bitlyLT2LIndie amznto2JeODDDApple Books bitlyLastTrainABBarnes Noble bitlyLastTrainBNNNHarperCollins bitlyLastTrainHCKobo bitlyLT2LKoboCANADAIndigo bitlyLastTrainIndigo Canada out or coming in 22 editions in 19 languagesTHANK YOU for your interestWarmlyMe. F Austria as across Europe countries close their borders to the growing number of refugees desperate to escapeTante Truus as she is nown 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 uestion” 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.
Meg Waite Clayton ñ 0 read
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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 now 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 Haunting heartwrenching and heroicThe 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 10000 predominantly Jewish children out of Nazi occupied European cities to the UK for safety just prior to the breakout of WWIIThe 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 survivalOverall 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 selflessThank you to HarperCollins Canada for providing me with 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 ageThe 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 t 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 now 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 happenThe 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 flightbut it s almost over at that pointDuring the pre invasion there are details in this novel about degenerate art and artists For 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 LaneMany thanks to HarperCollins Edelweiss and Netgalley for this ARC in exchange for my honest reviewGeertruida WijsmullerAdolf Eichmann 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 ofie 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 remi A beautifully written historical novel always compelling about the Vienna Kindertransport and its efforts to smuggle Jewish children out of Nazi held territory to safety in other countries in the years leading up to World War I The story follows Truus Wijsmuller a Dutch woman a real historical figure who worked tirelessly and with great courage to save children and also two fictional characters living in Vienna Stephan a fifteen year old 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 safetyIn 1936 the Nazi are little 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.
Udding playwright and his friend Zofie Helene a mathematical genius whose mother edits an anti Nazi newspaper The story is told in short chapters moving from character to character and focusing on the rapid and terrifying rise of Nazism and with it the attitudes of the public towards Jews and other minorities A truly excellent story and a particularly powerful read in our current turbulent political times 35 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 nown 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 uickly 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 Any Girl Can Be a CandyKiss Girl! / Tea with the Birds / The G-SUS Gene 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 onnowing 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 nowledge 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 uite strong and that s when I started to feel 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 Between the time I d shelved it and reserved it at the library and picking it up from the library I d forgotten than this was a historical fiction novel and not a non fiction book I had two others borrowed from the library novels at home with expected soon But this looked good enough to start This definitely read like a novel and at the start had me realizing how much I was in the mood for non fiction but to its credit I ended up loving it 4 12 starsThe titled chapters many very short did help make this a relatively uick read It s in 4 parts with the 2nd part being by far the longest Part I The Time Before December 1936 Part II The Time Between March 1938 Part III The Time After January 1939 the dates being just the start of the sections and then Part IV And Thenjust 2 pages long and non fictionAlternating multiple stories with several sets of characters I just new would be connected by the end and they were Very satisfyingly and skillfully done Despite being a before the Holocaust book there is an awful lot of atrocities and persecution that happen I could feel the fear and the relief and the love and the sadness and the horror I loved so many of the characters I especially loved ofie Helene the math genius and Stephen Neuman the playwright and wonderful older brother and Tante Truus and many others too I could say so much about these three well developed characters and the other characters too There are some good villains too including some heartbreakingly young and Eichmann plays a chilling role I have an audio edition on hold specifically to learn the correct pronunciation of many names I d loved to have read the paper and audio editions simultaneously but the audio isn t yet available to me I particularly want to The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel know how ofie Helene is pronounced Also Truus and her full name Hopefully the narrator will correctly pronounce the German Austrian and Dutch names I did get aick out of Adele Weiss being pronounced edelweiss like the flower and later the song in the The Sound of Music but I want to make sure I understood that correctly The story and characters touched my heart There is incredible suspense Harrowing It s a page turner I did stay up to the middle of the night to finish it It was predictable in some ways yet not at all in other ways My emotions ran the gamut as I read It s an excellent novel I loved the dedication at the beginning and loved and appreciated the acknowledgments section at the end The author does explain a bit about what in the story is non fiction and where she took liberties for the sake of the fictional story I am grateful for that although much would be easy. 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 controlThere 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 dangerous after the Anschluss Hitler’s annexation
Meg Waite Clayton is a New York Times bestselling author of the forthcoming THE LAST TRAIN TO LONDON HarperCollins Sept 10 2019 the #1 fiction bestseller BEAUTIFUL EXILES the Langum Prize honored national bestseller