• The Last Train to London

  • A Novel
  • By: Meg Waite Clayton
  • Narrated by: John Lee
  • Length: 11 hrs and 56 mins
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars (264 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

The New York Times best-selling 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 15-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.

©2019 Meg Waite Clayton (P)2019 HarperAudio

What listeners say about The Last Train to London

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Why the phony accents?

It is a given that most of the listeners are native English speakers. So, why the affected German accents? If the protagonists were speaking their native German or Dutch, they would be speaking without an accent, correct? This always ruins a great read, in my opinion. Also, in the case of this recording, it actually makes it hard to understand the storyline.

6 people found this helpful

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Good history

If I hadn’t been so interested in the subject of this book, I would have stopped listening on the first page. I absolutely abhor the affected speech of this reader, whom I have suffered through before. Please get someone who speaks the king’s English without sounding like Lord Haw Haw!

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too many characters to start with?

for me, an audible book with too many characters at the beginning is hard to follow. I had a hard time getting into this story. stopped with 7 hours to go.

2 people found this helpful

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LOVE LOVE LOVE this book

I just listened to this book for the 3rd time! I love the children, I cry and truly wonder how on God’s earth these people survived such horrific pain and memories. Tante Truss is a Saint, as are all those who helped . Please make a movie!

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Great story!

Although the accent of the narrator took some getting used to, it’s something I really grew to love and really adds a lot to the story! Trust me when I say that it is easier to understand the more you listen.
The plot is wonderfully written; I loved the anticipation of if the characters’ story’s will collide!

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A very moving story

I had a little difficulty getting into the story because of the many moving parts and my listening for short periods of time. However, as the characters became people, I found myself drawn into the bravery of the people so horribly treated during this period of Nazi persecution. It’s a story where you can suspect the outcomes for the characters so you are thus drawn into their plight and live the journey with them. I plan to re-listen as I missed much along the way. I highly recommend this compelling book.

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the children on the train

good description of the desperation of parents and the world in WWII Eastern Europe. Through the eyes of mainly two children, somehow the horrors are shared. May we never know this terror again.

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Couldn’t continue

The actors voice was so annoying I couldn’t continue listening. I gave up after Chapter 2.

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The worst book

No idea what was going on in the beginning. Then once you figure out what’s going on the author changes to another character’s story. The two storylines only meet for a brief period, which seemed pointless

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Lest we firget

Meg Waite Clayton has given us a treasure which should be required reading in every high school and university.

Her historical fiction rings so true that one with a heart can scarcely get through this journey without tears. And yet there is also heart-warming hope though the real life and fictional heroines and heroes who stand in our midst even in a crooked and evil generation as we are still seeing today.

All of us must choose to be silent or to give voice to what is right when the innocent vulnerables are mistreated. This story may give assistance when those choices arise.

John Lee’s narration is gripping and perfectly matched to the depth of character in each one he voices.

Thank you both—author and narrator. As a Jewish Christian, a writer, a woman, and a human, I will never forget you and your haunting story.

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  • margaret hammond
  • 08-29-22

What’s with the accent.

Why oh why did the reader John Lee think he had to add an accent to each character. Couldn’t stand it. The book was fabulous but I ended up reading it myself. It was written in English and John Lee should have read it that way.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 12-28-19

One the best I’ve ever read

For anyone interested in the plight of the Jews, especially the children, during the Nazi control of Europe then this is a must. I have read/ listen to, many books as I have a special in the Jewish Holocaust.
This has to be one of the best fictional, based on fact, novels written.
Thank you Meg.

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  • MichelleJ
  • 10-19-19

Such a moving and well told story

This moving and awesomely told story and account of the tragedy of war on kids migrated to the UK is a must ready. I couldn’t stop listening and the tears flowed and emotions rose up as the characters all came to life. Amazing work thank you for writing.

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