The Last Train to London

Harper. Sept. 2019. 464p. ISBN 9780062946935. $27.99; ebk. ISBN 9780062946966. F
Clayton (Beautiful Exiles; The Race for Paris) pulls readers into the lives of three families and their entwined fates in this fictional account of the Kindertransports (Children’s Transport), the real-life efforts to save thousands of Jewish children by getting them across the Nazi border into safe homes. The story starts with everyday joy and heartache. In 1936 Austria, Stephan, the teenage son of a Jewish chocolatier, begins a romance with Žofie-Helene, the daughter of a Christian anti-Nazi journalist. Meanwhile, in the Netherlands, Truus Wijsmuller and her husband cope with the pain of her infertility by smuggling Jewish children out of Germany. Truus convinces Nazi officials to allow her to remove Jewish children from Austria, but their cruelty requires her to rehome exactly 600 youths within a week before the borders close. Stephan and Žofie-Helene and their families must find a way out before the window for Truus to rescue threatened children shuts.
VERDICT 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. [See Prepub Alert, 3/4/19.]
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