From New York Times bestselling novelist Meg Waite Clayton comes her best book yet, a pre-WWII era novel about the Kindertransports in which thousands of children were sent from Nazi-occupied Europe — and the brave woman who helped them escape
THE LAST TRAIN TO LONDON
by Meg Waite Clayton
Harpercollins, November 2019
In 1936 the Nazi presence is little more than a nuisance for 15-year old Stephan Neuman, a budding playwright who treats both the streets of Vienna and the city’s intricate underground tunnels as his playground. The Neuman family is Jewish, but seemingly untouchable due to their wealth and influence. Stephan’s best friend and compatriot is the brilliant Zofie-Helene, a Christian whose mother edits a progressive, anti-Nazi newspaper. Life complicates for the two teenagers as the Neuman’s rights are stripped away and Zofie’s mother is arrested by the Gestapo. In Germany, Truus Wijsmuller has begun to smuggle Jewish children out of the country and into nations that will still receive them with relatively open arms. Her mission becomes even more dangerous when Hitler invades Austria and country after country closes their borders to the mounting number of refugees. The fearless Truus approaches Adolf Eichmann—the man behind the so-called Jewish Problem—and he makes her a cruelly impossible deal: Truus may remove exactly six hundred children, but in just one week’s time, and on the Sabbath. In a race against the clock, Truus miraculously manages to find the six hundred, including Stephan, his young brother Walter, and Zofie-Helene, who board a train toward an uncertain future abroad.
Meg Waite Clayton is a New York Times bestselling author of six novels, most recently Beautiful Exiles. Her prior novels include the Langum-Prize honored The Race for Paris; The Language of Light, a finalist for the Bellwether Prize for Socially Engaged Fiction (now the PEN/Bellwether); and The Wednesday Sisters, one of Entertainment Weekly’s 25 Essential Best Friend Novels of all time. She has also written for the Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, The Washington Post, Forbes, and public radio, often on the subject of the particular challenges women face. A graduate of the University of Michigan and its law school, Meg also writes « Listen In, » a monthly audiobook review column for the San Francisco Chronicle.