Monday, June 3, 2019

The Last Train to London by Meg Waite Clayton

Maybe I'll catch up more quickly if I let myself post singles...esp when I finish a book and feel compelled to review it that week...

Is it wrong to say that I sometimes feel like Holocaust fiction is overdone? It is obviously an important period that must not be forgotten, but... I guess sometimes it just feels too convenient to use as a dramatic backdrop.

And yet some books live up the challenge. Last Train focuses on the effort to save Jewish children who were in the path of evil, whose families were so afraid that they placed their children in the hands of strangers in the hope that it meant the children might survive...even if it seemed doubtful they'd ever see them again. As many books do, this novel relies on several protagonists including a woman instrumental in the effort (a fictionalized version of a real woman), a teenage Jewish who grew up in wealth and with love,  as teen girl whose mother is a true journalist,  another woman involved in the transport effort, and even architect of death who sadly is better known than the architects of life.

This falls toward the literary end of the historical fiction spectrum but is by no means inaccessible (and, perhaps a bit snobby to say, I can't quite call it literature). It was a fast read and engaging. I wanted to know what happened to the characters and, more importantly (IMHO) I wanted to read at least a bit about the real Tante Truus who devoted her life to serving others well beyond the time of the transport (as if she hadn't done enough for the world!).

4 of 5 stars. Enjoyed Zofie very much, and her admiring young friend. 

Thank you to Harper for the advance readers copy in exchange for my honest thoughts.  And to Ms Clayton for her response to my Goodreads review (linked above)

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