Publisher and Publication Date: HarperCollins. 2019.
Genre: Historical fiction.
Audience: Historical fiction readers of World War II and Holocaust.
Rating: Very good.
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The Last Train to London is the story of a Dutch woman, Truus Wijsmuller, who escorted Jewish children to a safe country away from the Nazis. The rescue operation was called Kindertransport. The children called her Tante Truus.
The Last Train to London is based on the real story of the Vienna Kindertransport operation. The person who led this was Geertruida Wijsmuller-Meijer (1896-1978) of Amsterdam.
Two other characters in the story are Stephan Neuman and Zofie-Helene. They are teenagers from different cultures, but are close friends.
The book is in 3 parts:
I watched a documentary on Prime Video about a Kindertransport operation. When I saw this book at Target I had to read it.
My first thought is I am amazed at the courage and tenacity of Truus Wijsmuller. She is skillful at acting a part for the benefit of saving children. She can weave a fictitious story with charm in order to save a life. She has the ingenuity to change a plan in a moments notice. I love her character. I love this story because of her.
Other reasons why this story is important and why I love it.
1. Even though Truus is courageous and brave, I see her weaknesses. I see her fears. I see her vulnerable side.
2. Newspaper clippings are included in the book (every so many pages). I feel this helps the story with a historical realness.
3. The story shows the venom and brutality of the Nazis against the Jews. This makes the story raw and believable. It shows the heightened suspense that children must be helped. It gave the story an edge of my seat feeling.
4. When a person is the caregiver of children the person must be prepared for surprise interruptions that might change plans. Clayton showed several examples in the story.
5. I liked reading about Christians who were living out their beliefs by helping those suffering.
6. I was pleasantly surprised to read Bible verses in the book.
7. I feel the characters are fleshed out in a way that made them breathe with life. This is just one of the reasons why I became apart of the story.
Something I am puzzled about in the book. Some of the chapters are only 1 page long. Why? This is interrupting in the story to have breaks like this. I do not like it.
The 2 other characters are Zofie-Helene and Stephan. If they were not in the story I would not miss them. I’d like the emphasis to be on Truus. She is a huge character. Any other characters paired in a story next to her are pale.