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 it 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 arriving 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.
The Child on Platform One by Gill Thompson was published by Headline on December 1st, 2019. It is a historical fiction novel inspired by the true story of the children who escaped the Holocaust on the Kindertransport trains to the UK. I would like to thank NetGalley, Headline, and Gill Thompson for my advance review copy of this book, in exchange for an honest review.
In the author’s note to The Child on Platform One, Gill Thompson states that while researching this novel she came across several events that really took place during the Holocaust and World War II. The author states that these events sounded so improbable to her that she wanted to write a fictional story that connected the events. One of these events was the transport of hundreds of Czech children to safety in the UK under the nose of the Nazis. These children were sent to the UK alone, without their parents, and placed with families in the UK. It is truly a remarkable piece of history, and the way that Gill Thompson treats it in The Child on Platform One is incredible. The characters are entirely fictional, but it is so well researched that it becomes easy to believe that they are real. Knowing that very similar circumstances happened to hundreds of children only serves to blur the boundary between truth and fiction even more.
In today’s world, with the constant access to news stories about acts of violence, terror, and discrimination, I believe that it is so important for more people to read books like The Child on Platform One. While the characters in this book are fictional, the circumstances around which the book is based are not. While the vast majority of people are aware of the circumstances surrounding the Holocaust, there are so many facets of this period in history that many remain blissfully unaware of. The Kindertransport is one such event which is underrepresented in terms of historical fiction novels. I read a lot of historical fiction, and The Child on Platform One is the first book I’ve read that extensively focused on this area of history. I was riveted, and plan to do some independent research on this area in the near future.
I gained so much from reading this book, and that is priceless to me. I have a mental list of my favourite historical fiction novels that I recommend to people, and The Child on Platform One has made the cut. The story is beautifully written, and the plot is riveting. I read this book in less than two days, and when I wasn’t reading the story was never far from my mind. The Child on Platform One is timeless – I imagine that people will be reading it for years to come. I honestly can’t wait to see what Gill Thompson does in the future.
Gill Thompson recently completed her MA in Creative Writing at Chichester University in England. She is currently an English lecturer for college students in West Sussex.
The Child on Platform One is a phenomenal book based on true events. It is a book that will stick with you for a long time.
My rating: ★★★★★
Waterstones (UK): here
Amazon (US): here
This post contains affiliate links.