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The Last Train to London

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4.12  ·  Rating details ·  5,983 ratings  ·  875 reviews
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 mo
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ebook, 480 pages
Published September 10th 2019 by Harper
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Meg Clayton The timing of the first kindertransports were years before Mengele's twin experiments, so thankfully, no--at least not at this point. I hoped the read…moreThe timing of the first kindertransports were years before Mengele's twin experiments, so thankfully, no--at least not at this point. I hoped the reader would conclude, from the fact that Truus is pretty good at persuading, that she persuaded them to do what she said she would try to, which is to allow the children to go back with the chaperones--in which case they would have been able to get out on another transport.

I've been working on the screenplay, though, and find I might have addressed this slightly better. Ah well. Thanks for asking!(less)
This question contains spoilers… (view spoiler)
Beth Presumably she was on the train from Prague that never arrived in the Netherlands. The author states that the fate of those children is unknown.

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Paige
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
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Meg Clayton
May 05, 2019 is currently reading it  ·  (Review from the author)  ·  review of another edition
So excited that The Last Train to London: A Novel--which is now a national bestseller in the U.S., 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 Librar
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Bkwmlee
Sep 23, 2019 rated it really liked it

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
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Sue
Jun 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
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
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Dennis
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-Wor ...more
Zoe
Aug 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
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
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Juliet
Jan 24, 2020 rated it it was amazing
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 budding playwright, and his friend Zofie-Helene, ...more
Lisa Vegan
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 more 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. 4-1/2 stars

The titled chapters, many very sho
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Yangsze Choo
May 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
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 ...more
Tammy
Sep 07, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 ...more
Elizabeth of Silver's Reviews
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
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Jean
Apr 27, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
“The true spirit of Germany resides in the Volk, in the peasants and the landscape, the blood and soil of our unsullied homeland...We now face the threat of a Jewish conspiracy. I alone know how to countermand.”
- Adolf Eichmann in The Last Train to London

This quote, which is attributed to the Nazi SS- Obersturmbannführer, embodies the dark, dangerous mindset of Hitler’s followers in pre-war Germany as portrayed in Meg Clayton’s The Last Train to London. This work of historical fiction i
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DeAnn
Sep 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2019
4 WWII Kindertransport stars

Another 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
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Davida Chazan
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... ...more
Laura
Sep 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: giveaway-wins
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 part
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Therese Fowler
Jul 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
"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."
Marilyn
Jul 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
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 ...more
Bookworm
Aug 29, 2020 rated it did not like it
DNF I tried listening to the audiobook and couldn’t finish it. I’m definitely an outlier on this one. I had a difficult time getting into the story and kept getting lost. It seemed to jump around a lot. I also wasn’t connecting with the characters. I think it was the writing style...I felt quite removed from the plot. The narrator wasn’t all that engaging. I listen to a lot of audiobooks and this performance was sorely lacking. In all, the book couldn’t keep my attention so I opted to just put t ...more
Amy
Sep 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
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 ...more
Shelly Rena
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.
Tracy Guzeman
Jun 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
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.
Victoria Goodbrand
Oct 17, 2019 rated it it was ok
Arghhhhhhhh i got to page 50 and was done. SOOOO DISAPPOINTED
Kari
Jun 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
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.
Arah-Lynda
Jun 27, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
3,5 stars rounded up to 4.
Marilyn
Oct 21, 2019 rated it really liked it
Interesting look at the Herculean task of bringing Jewish children from Austria to England. The people who achieved this worked against terrible odds to get this done. The book follows the life of Trruus Wijsmuller. She is n Austrian woman,of incredible bravery and talent who makes this happen.
It is a humbling book which shows us what can be done by the power of love and the human spirit.
Bren McClain
Aug 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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Gail O'Connor
Oct 20, 2019 rated it it was ok
I'm sure the story is marvelous, but I could't get past the beginning chapters. A story must hit me immediately in order for me to wrap myself in the book. This just didn't happen for me.
Maureen Grigsby
Jul 25, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This was incredibly moving historical fiction based on the true story of the Kindertransport rescue of many thousands of children from Nazi occupied Europe. The book celebrates the incredible risks taken by Truus Wijsmuller and many others to get Jewish children out of danger by getting them to England, even a it became obvious that the parents were not going to be able to be saved. By 1938, most countries in the world, including the United States, refused to take political refugees. This meant ...more
Guylou (Two Dogs and a Book)
The Last Train to London

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
...more
Ellen
Aug 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
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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Meg Waite Clayton is a New York Times bestselling author of the forthcoming THE LAST TRAIN TO LONDON (HarperCollins, Sept 10, 2019), the #1 Amazon fiction bestseller BEAUTIFUL EXILES, the Langum-Prize honored national bestseller THE RACE FOR PARIS -- recommended reading by Glamour Magazine and the BBC, and an Indie Next Booksellers' pick -- and THE WEDNESDAY SISTERS, one of Entertainment Weekly's ...more

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