Laura's Reviews > The Last Train to London

The Last Train to London by Meg Waite Clayton
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it was amazing
bookshelves: goodreads-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 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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Reading Progress

May 12, 2019 – Shelved
May 12, 2019 – Shelved as: to-read
September 7, 2019 – Started Reading
September 9, 2019 –
page 259
57.56%
September 9, 2019 –
page 259
57.56% "Okay, I was trying to finish this before it comes out tomorrow but I have to take a break to go buy more tissues. This is a difficult read. Not bad, just difficult."
September 9, 2019 –
page 386
85.78%
September 10, 2019 – Shelved as: goodreads-giveaway-wins
September 10, 2019 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-5 of 5 (5 new)

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message 1: by sue (new) - added it

sue On my wish list.


message 2: by Cherie (new) - added it

Cherie Laura, wow, what a powerful and heartfelt review. This novel sounds both amazing and heartbreaking. I am adding it, it sounds great. I love the historical info.


Laura sue wrote: "On my wish list."

A must-read Sue!


message 4: by Laura (last edited Sep 10, 2019 06:38PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Laura Cherie wrote: "Laura, wow, what a powerful and heartfelt review. This novel sounds both amazing and heartbreaking. I am adding it, it sounds great. I love the historical info."

Thank you, Cherie! But, its an incredibly powerful book which made the review come easier than usual for me (as I’m not a writer!). I’ve already recommended this to like everyone I know!😊


message 5: by Meg (new) - rated it 5 stars

Meg Clayton >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).

I think you just did an amazing job at this impossible task, Laura. Thank you for this lovely review. And I could not agree more with your last line.


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