Tag Archives: Meg Waite Clayton

Book Review | The Last Train to London by Meg Waite Clayton

BOOK REVIEW | THE LAST TRAIN TO LONDON

TITLE: The Last Train to London

AUTHOR: Meg Waite Clayton

PUBLISHER: Harper Collins

RELEASE DATE: September 10, 2019

GENRE: Historical Fiction

BUY LINKS: INDIEBOUND | B&N

The New York Times bestselling author of Beautiful Exilesconjures 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 Kindertransportsthat 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 more 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 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 control.

There 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 more dangerous after the Anschluss—Hitler’s annexation of Austria—as, across Europe, countries close their borders to the growing number of refugees desperate to escape.

Tante Truus, as she is known, 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 Question,” 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. (Description from NetGalley.com)

MY THOUGHTS

There are so many stories to tell of WWII. Those of silent heroes, lives lost, and survivors.  The Last Train to London is part of my WWII historical fiction journey and I’m always astounded by how much I continue to learn about this terrible time in history. But then I’m grateful that there are these stories to tell and that there were brave people trying to do what was right when so much was against them.

Meg Waite Clayton tells a somewhat fictional story about the Kindertransport that saved so many children from the Nazi between 1938-1940. I say somewhat fictional because the book is based on a real effort and woman, Geertruida Wijsmuller-Meijer, who helped bring many children to safety transporting them by train to London. Without her, and the countless others that helped, who knows what would have happened to those children. More than likely they would not have survived.

The author told this story from several perspectives, Geetrudia (aka Tante Truus), Stephan Neuman, Zofie-Helene, and occasionally relatives of Stephan or Zofie. I believe it was a good mixture of perspectives. It enabled details of how it was for Jewish children, non-Jewish families, and those outside of Nazi invasion trying to help save as many lives as they could.

Vienna: Stephen is a teenage boy of a wealthy jewish family whose made their fortunate with their chocolate business. He lives with his family in an affluent home with his younger brother (Walter), father, and very ill mother. Zofie-Helene is a teenage girl whose a brilliant aspiring mathematician. She lives with her grandfather, younger sister, and mother who writes for an anti-Nazi newspaper.

Amsterdam: Truus is unable to have children of her own, but feels that because of this, it is her duty to save as many children she can. So she risks her life countless times for children she doesn’t know. To do this she must face and somewhat manipulate Nazi soldiers along the way.

Truus’s story is new to me and, by reading this book, I feel that I’ve kept her memory alive somehow. I would have liked more of the book to be about her journey and what she had to do to save the amount of children she did. But of what there was, I can tell that she was an extremely brave woman. Someone to be admired.

Stephen and Zofie’s journeys were very tough and I think Meg was able to capture what it would have been like for them. For Stephen to lose everything and Zofie risking her life for those she loved. I do feel that it needed more detail to give it that one last emotional punch it needed. I really only cried at the very end when Walter (Stephan’s younger brother) was being taken away by his adopted family.

Overall, I really enjoyed the book and thought the characters were wonderfully written. I believe Meg did justice to Truus’s story even though I wanted more of it. I would highly recommend this book to those that read historical fiction.

OVERALL RATING

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

WEBSITE | FACEBOOK | GOODREADS | TWITTER

Meg studied history and psychology at the University of Michigan, and is a graduate of its law school. She was  born in Washington D.C., and has since lived in or around Kansas City, Chicago, Los Angeles, Ann Arbor, Baltimore, Nashville, Santa Barbara, and San Francisco. She sets her novels in places she finds fascinating: The Last Train to London is set in Vienna, Amsterdam, and England; The Race for Paris in France; The Wednesday Daughtersin the English Lakes; The Four Ms. Bradwells in Ann Arbor and the Chesapeake; The Wednesday Sisters in her current hometown in the Silicon Valley; and The Language of Light in the Maryland horse country. For Beautiful Exiles the list is long but includes in Key West, Sun Valley, New York, and St. Louis, Cuba, Spain, China, France, England, Czechoslovakia, and Sweden.  She is at work on a new novel, also to be published by HarperCollins. (Bio found on Meg’s website)

Thank you to Harper Collins and NetGalley for a copy to this book in exchange for an honest review.

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Book of the Week | The Last Train to London by Meg Waite Clayton

TITLE: The Last Train to London

AUTHOR: Meg Waite Clayton

PUBLISHER: Harper Collins

RELEASE DATE: September 10, 2019

GENRE: Historical Fiction

BUY LINKS: INDIEBOUND | B&N

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 more 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 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 control.

There 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 more dangerous after the Anschluss—Hitler’s annexation of Austria—as, across Europe, countries close their borders to the growing number of refugees desperate to escape.

Tante Truus, as she is known, 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 Question,” 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. (Description from NetGalley.com) 

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WWW Wednesday | December 16

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It’s that time of the week again when I participate in WWW Wednesdays hosted by Sam from Taking on a World of Words. Feel free to leave a link to your WWW Wednesday post in the comments.

To participate in WWW Wednesday, you need to answer three questions.

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

CURRENTLY READING

book_parisTITLE: The Race for Paris

AUTHOR: Meg Waite Clayton

PUBLISHER: Harpor Collins

RELEASE DATE: August 11, 2015

GENRE: Fiction, Historical Fiction

BUY LINKS: AMAZON | B&N | iBOOKS | INDIEBOUND | HARPORCOLLINS

What was it like to be a driven and talented woman journalist in a world restricted by military regulations and gender barriers? Bestselling author Meg Waite Clayton delivers answers in her highly and widely anticipated new novel, The Race for Paris. Opening in Normandy on June 29, 1944, the novel follows two tenacious American female war correspondents on their quest to document—and make—history by covering the liberation of Paris from the center of the action. Inspired by real women like Martha Gellhorn, Margaret Bourke-White, Dot Avery, and Lee Miller, who took bold, grave risks to prove that they could report from the front lines of WWII just as powerfully as men, The Race for Paris firmly reflects historical facts and details, while pulsing with immediate drama—and a chilling, timely sense of wartime danger.

Told from the perspective of Jane Tyler, a young, single, adventure-seeking reporter for the Nashville Banner and the only daughter of an ostracized unwed mother, The Race for Paris is also the story of Olivia “Liv” Harper, an Associated Press photographer with a supportive husband who is the editor-in-chief of the New York Daily Press. While Jane is resigned to making the most of her assignment covering a field hospital, Liv is set on capturing the war—and the jubilant liberation of Paris from Nazi occupation—from the front lines. After failing to win over her CO, Liv goes AWOL. Seizing her shot to make a name for herself, Jane joins her. Enlisting the help of a tentative ally, British military reporter Fletcher Roebuck, the two intrepid women set off across the perilous French countryside on a race to reach Paris and out-scoop formidable male competitors. Along their journey, Jane, Liv, and Fletcher continually confront obstacles, and cross paths with gunfire, carnage, and death. Their mission is further complicated by emotional bonds, romantic tensions, and one woman’s secret—a secret with the power to end her career and, perhaps, her life.

Reflecting the extraordinary courage and determination of pioneering women in journalism—women who paved the way for respected war correspondents such as Christiane Amanpour, Oriana Fallaci, and Lynsey Addario—The Race for Paris is a gripping novel celebrating the power of women, then and now(Description found on Meg’s Website)

RECENTLY FINISHED READING

511aWQEiKxL._SX310_BO1,204,203,200_TITLE: Strawberry and Sage

AUTHOR: Amanda Gale

PUBLISHER: Brenda & Cobena Books

RELEASE DATE: July 15, 2015

GENRE: Women’s Fiction, Romance

BUY LINKS: AMAZON | B&N

A historical romance novella for readers of the Meredith series and new readers alike.

Set in 1967 in the lush mountains of Vermont, Strawberry and Sage is a tale of friendship, love, and the perfect strawberry pie.

Gabriel Kelly is a hard-working young carpenter carrying the weight of responsibility on his back. With his father injured on the job and his brother fighting in Vietnam, Gabriel struggles to stay positive. And with the possibility of being drafted looming over him, he can focus only on things that matter, like visiting the mountain, where he regains clarity, and cherishing his time with Abigail, the childhood friend with whom he’s always been in love.

Abigail Wheeler is a bright, ambitious college student who just knows she can change the world. Determined to make good use of opportunities her mother never had, she spends her time campaigning for women’s rights and planning for her future. Her own experiences have taught her that the world is full of promise. So when Gabriel confesses his heart, she is torn, unsure whether they’d be compatible even though she secretly loves him too.

In a tumultuous time when change is the only constant, Gabriel and Abigail long to find meaning and to find themselves. As their friendship is tested by wars both inside and out, they discover that the differences that had kept them apart are actually why they need each other most. (Description found on Amazon)

WHAT I MIGHT READ NEXT

cover78451-mediumTITLE: Decanting a Murder, A Sommelier Mystery #1

AUTHOR: Nadine Nettmann

PUBLISHER: Midnight Ink

RELEASE DATE: May 8, 2016

GENRE: Mystery & Thrillers

Katie Stillwell focuses on two things in her life: work and practicing for her Sommelier Certification with her blind tasting group. The exam was supposed to be the hardest part of her week, but that was before a body was found at an exclusive Napa Valley winery party.

When all the evidence points to Katie’s best friend, the outspoken and independent Tessa, Katie drops everything to clear Tessa’s name. Using her deductive wine skills, she tries to track down the real killer. But when repeated attempts are made on her life, Katie discovers that everyone’s secrets must be uncorked—including her own. (Found on Nadine’s Website)

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Teaser Tuesdays | The Race for Paris by Meg Waite Clayton

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Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by Jenn of A Daily Rhythm. It’s easy to participate. Just do the following:

• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

ABOUT CURRENT READ

book_parisTITLE: The Race for Paris

AUTHOR: Meg Waite Clayton

PUBLISHER: Harpor Collins

RELEASE DATE: August 11, 2015

GENRE: Fiction, Historical Fiction

BUY LINKS: AMAZON | B&N | iBOOKS | INDIEBOUND | HARPORCOLLINS

What was it like to be a driven and talented woman journalist in a world restricted by military regulations and gender barriers? Bestselling author Meg Waite Clayton delivers answers in her highly and widely anticipated new novel, The Race for Paris. Opening in Normandy on June 29, 1944, the novel follows two tenacious American female war correspondents on their quest to document—and make—history by covering the liberation of Paris from the center of the action. Inspired by real women like Martha Gellhorn, Margaret Bourke-White, Dot Avery, and Lee Miller, who took bold, grave risks to prove that they could report from the front lines of WWII just as powerfully as men, The Race for Paris firmly reflects historical facts and details, while pulsing with immediate drama—and a chilling, timely sense of wartime danger.

Told from the perspective of Jane Tyler, a young, single, adventure-seeking reporter for the Nashville Banner and the only daughter of an ostracized unwed mother, The Race for Paris is also the story of Olivia “Liv” Harper, an Associated Press photographer with a supportive husband who is the editor-in-chief of the New York Daily Press. While Jane is resigned to making the most of her assignment covering a field hospital, Liv is set on capturing the war—and the jubilant liberation of Paris from Nazi occupation—from the front lines. After failing to win over her CO, Liv goes AWOL. Seizing her shot to make a name for herself, Jane joins her. Enlisting the help of a tentative ally, British military reporter Fletcher Roebuck, the two intrepid women set off across the perilous French countryside on a race to reach Paris and out-scoop formidable male competitors. Along their journey, Jane, Liv, and Fletcher continually confront obstacles, and cross paths with gunfire, carnage, and death. Their mission is further complicated by emotional bonds, romantic tensions, and one woman’s secret—a secret with the power to end her career and, perhaps, her life.

Reflecting the extraordinary courage and determination of pioneering women in journalism—women who paved the way for respected war correspondents such as Christiane Amanpour, Oriana Fallaci, and Lynsey Addario—The Race for Paris is a gripping novel celebrating the power of women, then and now(Description found on Meg’s Website)

TEASER SENTENCES 

“Liv and I ducked into the nearest building, an empty school-house, and sank into little chairs in the first room we came into. The seats were hard, the smell of eraser dust stifling. The room had been used as some type of command post: There were lists written in German on the chalkboard. Maps and elevations taped to the walls marked the locations of troops, planned lines of attack, points of the earth seeded with mines. I went outside again, but that was worse: the bright sunlight, the dark curls blowing across the square.” (pg. 126)

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