Today I am joining the blog tour for one of the most moving books I have read in a long time, The Child on Platform One by Gill Thompson. My thanks go to Gill, Headline, and to Anne Cater at Random Things Tours, for inviting me to be a part of the tour and for providing me with a copy of the book.
Inspired by the real-life escape of thousands of Jewish children from Nazi occupied Europe on the Kindertransport trains to London.
Prague 1939. Young mother Eva has a secret from her past. When the Nazis invade, Eva knows the only way to keep her daughter Miriam safe is to send her away – even if it means never seeing her again. But when Eva is taken to a concentration camp, her secret is at risk of being exposed.
In London, Pamela volunteers to help find places for the Jewish children arrived from Europe. Befriending one unclaimed little girl, Pamela brings her home. It is only when her young son enlists in the RAF that Pamela realises how easily her own world could come crashing down.
It feels wrong to say that I enjoyed a book centred around the Nazi treatment of the Jewish community in Europe and the Kindertransport, but this is a truly wonderful book that touched my heart and reduced me to tears, both sad and happy, on more than one occasion.
I knew a little about Nicholas Winton and his work with the Kindertransport prior to reading this book, but in all honesty had never given much thought to how it affected the families involved. The Child on Platform One really brought home to me how heartbreaking a decision it must have been for the parents who sent their children away, and how terrifying it must have been for the children to be torn from their families and moved to a country with strange food and a language they didn’t understand. In Eva’s desperation to save her child, and Pamela’s longing to save as many as she could, Gill Thompson creates two amazingly strong female characters who are stuck in a terrible situation, but are determined not to be beaten down by it.
As the war and the story progress, Gill includes just enough factual information to create a sense of foreboding about what is to come, without detracting from humanity of the tale she is telling. From the experiments that Josef is asked to work on, to the living conditions and musical performances at Terezin, these little snippets of fact woven into the story only serve to add more heart to the tale.
The Child on Platform One is heart-breaking and heart-warming in equal measure. It is a book that everyone should read, even if historical fiction is not normally a genre you would try. We should never forget what happened, and in this deeply soul touching book, Gill Thompson is helping to ensure that we never do.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Gill Thompson is an English lecturer who completed an MA in C reative Writing at Chichester University. Her debut novel, THE OCEANS BETWEEN US, was a No. 1 digital bestseller and has been highly acclaimed. She lives with her family in West Sussex and teaches English to college students.
Make sure you pay a visit to the other blogs taking part on this tour for more information on this emotional book.