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Children Of Wilsden Lane [Hardcover]

Mona Golabek
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)

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Book Description

31 May 2002
Famed concert pianist Mona Golabek shares the inspirational true story of her mother's escape from pre-WWII Vienna to an orphanage in London - 243 Willesden Lane. "The music will give you strength...it will be your best friend in life." With these words - the last she would ever hear from her mother - ringing in her ears, young piano prodigy Lisa Jura boarded the Kindertransport and headed for safety. Amidst the dozens of Jewish refugees trying to make their way in war-torn London, Lisa forms indelible friendships, finds romance and, against all odds, wins a scholarship to study piano at the Royal Academy of Music. As she creates a new life for herself, she never lets go of the hope of one day reconnecting with her family. The Children Of Willesden Lane is a stunning testament to the power of music to lift the human spirit and to grant the soul endurance, patience and peace.

Product details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Import (31 May 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0446527815
  • ISBN-13: 978-0446527811
  • Product Dimensions: 22 x 14.9 x 2.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,186,349 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

' A tale of one young woman's courage... hopeful, personal and true' Los Angeles Times --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Book Description

In the bestselling tradition of Schindler's List and The Diary of Anne Frank, THE CHILDREN OF WILLESDEN LANE is a story of triumph and transcendence, of the gift of music and the strength of the human spirit over the evils of war. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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LISA JURA took her appearance very seriously. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a grand & hopefilled read! 28 April 2002
Format:Hardcover
This is a Heroine's journey during time of war. From Vienna, the city of music, to a little house outside London, where Lisa Jura will find safety & a piano where she can continue her mother's legacy.
It is the memories of the descent into the hell that Adolph Hitler visited upon the people of Europe, upon the life of one girl with a huge talent & a family who sent her away that she might survive.
It is memories of danger & death, as well as hope & the goodness in people's hearts, & how a dream made a girl brave & true to her heritage.
THE CHILDREN OF WILLESDEN LANE is passionate, engaging & charming, destined to find its place beside THE DIARY OF ANNE FRANK.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Happy childhood memories 13 July 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Again, one of the many books about the tasks Sir Nicholas Winton set himself, to get as many of the vulnerable Hebrew children out of Germany, and this, excellent book depicts the life some of the fortunate children after their arrival in England. A 'can't put the book down until the last page'. A tear jerky story.

David M.
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4.0 out of 5 stars very interesting 15 Dec 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
well -written and interesting story with historical background. characters well-portrayed and credible. would appeal to young and old alike. Good read.
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Amazon.com: 4.5 out of 5 stars  87 reviews
36 of 37 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a grand & hopefilled read! 28 April 2002
By Rebecca Brown - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
This is a Heroine's journey during time of war. From Vienna, the city of music, to a little house outside London, where Lisa Jura will find safety & a piano where she can continue her mother's legacy.
It is the memories of the descent into the hell that Adolph Hitler visited upon the people of Europe, upon the life of one girl with a huge talent & a family who sent her away that she might survive.
It is memories of danger & death, as well as hope & the goodness in people's hearts, & how a dream made a girl brave & true to her heritage.
THE CHILDREN OF WILLESDEN LANE is passionate, engaging & charming, destined to find its place beside THE DIARY OF ANNE FRANK.
18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Remarkable! 14 Jun 2002
By Paul G - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
The Children of Willesden Lane is a remarkable, transporting story, at once upllifting and heartbreaking. I'm a better person for reading it. The authors' flawless narrative style facilitates a "can't put the book down" memoir read. After grabbing their readers' hearts, Golabek and Cohen seize their readers' minds with a cogent, compassionate, and otherworldly understanding of the intricacies of living a life in music, and its accordant near-mystical ability to bring humanity as close as it can get to the divine. Such are Golabek's and Cohen's gifts that one can almost hear the music coming from the pages of The Children of Willisden Lane. I loved this book. It is a gift.
15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Anne Frank's "Might Have Been" 7 July 2002
By D. McDiffett - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Anne Frank's parents turned down the chance to send their daughters to England before the war, not recognizing the imminent danger until it was too late. Lisa Jura's parents did recognize that danger and took advantage of an empty seat on the Kindertransport to send Lisa to the relative safety of the English countryside. Several other reviews have noted the "can't put it down" quality of this wonderful story. I must add my agreement to that sentiment! The only interruptions in my reading were stopping to play at least a snippet of the Chopin, Beethoven, and Rachmaninoff pieces on my CDs, so I could follow Lisa's enjoyment of them even better! This book should be used by all teachers who teach Anne Frank's story, as it is a beautiful look at the life Anne herself might have had had her parents only seen the danger in time.
18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Simply Profound 6 Sep 2002
By Doug Huberman - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
I have never before been reduced to tears by a book.... During the hours I spent reading The Children of Willesden Lane I experienced tears of joy, tears of pain, tears for the human condition and finally the soul cleansing tears of a spirit renewed. I literally cried my way through the last 140 pages of The Children of Willesden Lane while sitting in seat 6C of a nonstop flight from Los Angeles to Houston. Not a simple moistening of the eyes, but a steady stream of tears pouring down my cheeks as I experienced a completely unexpected range of intense emotion. I have read hundreds of nonfiction books and never, absolutely never, have I experienced anything even vaguely akin to this extraordinarily down-to-earth book.
The first third of the book feels like getting reacquainted with an old friend. Despite the tragic backdrop of the era, the themes and the setting feel warm and familiar. The character development is just detailed enough to evoke the distinct identities of the major characters without setting them in stone. Instead of nailing down every conceivable detail, Mona Golabek leaves plenty of room for the reader to personalize the lead characters. As I dug deeper and deeper into the storyline, it was uncanny how I began to identify more and more closely with the central characters. It is almost as if the book was crafted to ensure that Lisa, Aaron, Johnny, Gina, Gunter, Hans, Mr. Hardesty, Mrs. Canfield and Mrs. McRae would gradually assume the characteristics of the people who have made profound differences in my life. It is worthy to note that none of the characters are completely idealized. Whether it is cowardice, indifference, vanity, petty jealously, self-pity or the emotional disconnect that many soldiers suffer, the characters in The Children of Willesden are presented "warts and all."
Curiously, three of the book's most powerful subtexts are so deeply rooted in the story line that I am not sure that either the heroine (in her telling) or the authors (in their writing) intended them to be integral parts of the story. The first is "trust your instincts... seize the moment before it passes you by." Although 10,000 children were saved by the Kindertransport, how many eventual Holocaust victims hesitated, convincing themselves that they needed just one more piece of evidence, and then one more and then yet another, until it was too late? It is all too easy for us to convince ourselves that the opportunities we have today will still be there tomorrow. This, whether it is a matter of life and death or a matter of life and love. This observation is in no way a condemnation of the victims of the Holocaust or any other human tragedy. It is merely an acknowledgment of a theme that is repeated in any accurate accounting of human behavior. How else do you explain the half-empty lifeboats from the Titanic? The second powerful subtext has to do with the nature of beauty and accomplishment. After reading the entire text ask yourself a series of simple questions. As a child, was Lisa Juras more beautiful when she was wearing her Sunday best with her hat tilted just so or when she was tired, dirty and hungry yet somehow found the courage to take responsibility for the contents of the basket on the train? As a teenager, was Lisa Juras more beautiful in her fine red dress playing a grand piano or when she was pounding away at the upright piano wearing factory worker garb with bombs falling around her. While Lisa Juras undoubtedly valued both her musical talent and her physical attractiveness, can it truly be said that either were the true sources of her beauty or accomplishment? No, Lisa Juras was never more beautiful than she was courageous and her music was never more accomplished than when its intensity blotted out the onslaught of the London Blitz.... A time during which the piano wasn't even properly tuned! If this be true, Wigmore Hall is merely icing on a cake that was six long years in the baking. The third and no less important subtext is, "True love is that which moves you." Love is not merely a deeply rooted or intense emotion. Love is feelings transformed into action. It was the love of a father for a daughter that gave Abraham Juras the strength to put Lisa on a train headed for a country and people he knew not. It was the love between a daughter and a mother that gave Lisa the strength to pound out the Grieg concerto while bombs were falling around her and later when her fingers were nearly frozen and her body was racked by coughing. And last, we are led to believe in the epilogue that it is the love of a man for a woman that "moved" Michel Golabek to leave Europe for a life in the United States with his beloved Lisa.
It may seem a contradiction, but the strength of this story is its subtlety. Nothing about it feels staged, forced or contrived. There are no torrid love scenes. There are no gruesome accounts of the Holocaust. There are not even detailed accounts of the deaths of some the book's lead characters. Instead, The Children of Willesden Lane is as understated, natural, tragic and heroic as life itself. The Children of Willesden Lane is a remarkable invitation to become part of something intensely personal, a family legacy that spans two continents, four generations and, most importantly, continues to live on today through the descendants of both Lisa Juras and all those that made the Kindertransport a life saving reality.
If there is such a thing as "profound simplicity," Mona Golabek has defined it for us.
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Truly Inspirational 23 Jan 2004
By Erin Hargis - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
The Children of Willesden Lane is a compelling story about a Jewish girl growing up in a country overtaken by Hitler during World War Two. The Jura family, being allowed to send only one child to England on the Kindertransport, sent Lisa knowing that her musical talent would ensure her survival. When all is going wrong, and it seems as though she has nothing left to hold on to, Lisa lets all her feelings go through her music and holds on to her abilities.
This book never let me take my own musical talents for granted. Being a pianist myself, I have learned to really appreciate music for all it is worth. Many books have slow beginnings, but The Children of Willesden Lane was full of excitement from beginning to end. I recommed this book to anyone with any kind of passion. Through this book you will see what can come of your talents, no matter what is going on around you in your life. It will most certainly help you to fully understand the amazing power of music.
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