The Children of Willesden Lane

Beyond the Kindertransport: A Memoir of Music, Love, and Survival
Narrated by: Mona Golabek
Length: 8 hrs and 6 mins
4.7 out of 5 stars (76 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Based on the true story of her mother, Mona Golabek describes the inspirational story of Lisa Jura Golabek's escape from Nazi-controlled Austria to England on the famed Kindertransport.

Jewish musical prodigy Lisa Jura has a wonderful life in Vienna. But when the Nazis start closing in on the city, life changes irreversibly. Although he has three daughters, Lisa's father is able to secure only one berth on the Kindertransport. The family decides to send Lisa to London, so she may pursue her dreams of a career as a concert pianist.

Separated from her beloved family, Lisa bravely endures the trip and a disastrous posting outside London before finding her way to the Willesden Lane Orphanage. It is in this orphanage that Lisa's story truly comes to life. Her music inspires the other orphanage children, and they, in turn, cheer her on in her efforts to make good on her promise to her family to realize her musical potential.

Through hard work and sheer pluck, Lisa wins a scholarship to study piano at the Royal Academy. As she supports herself and studies, she makes a new life for herself and dreams of reconnecting with the family she was forced to leave behind. The resulting tale delivers a message of the power of music to uplift the human spirit and to grant the individual soul endurance, patience, and peace.

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your My Library section along with the audio.

©2016 Mona Golabek and Lee Cohen (P)2016 Hachette Audio

What listeners say about The Children of Willesden Lane

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A Beautiful Memoir

I really loved this memoir! It was well written,and had a great narrator. It was a very touching story about a Jewish girl rescued from the Nazis in Austria. She was one of the more than 10,000 children of the Kinder transport in 1939. The book told of her courageous journey to become a concert pianist in London. Memorable Characters and a real historical feel for the Blitz and
WW2 England. The addition of the sound effects and the insertion of the classical music.at key points really enhanced my listening experience. It would make a WONDERFUL movie!

3 people found this helpful

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Amazing Performance

This is not just a beautifully told story but a performance you will never forget.

2 people found this helpful

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Best Audio Book I've ever listened to.

The story alone is moving, but the extra touches added to this audio book and the performance was spot on. I was brought to tears. A MUST read if the ever was one.

1 person found this helpful

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Moving beautiful

The story was traumatic and moving. A story that needs to be told and heard over and over lest we forget. Read and preformed by the girl’s/lady’s daughter made this audio book even more impressive. I’ve seen Mona Golabek presenting this show. A magnificent pianist herself. Thank you a story with music is priceless.

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Thank you

A very deep bow of gratitude for sharing your mother's story with so much tenderness 🙏🙏

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Wow

This book is AMAZING!! I loved it! I’m speechless! It’s just so incredible! The music was incredible and so beautiful! Just wow. -SEA age 11

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I loved how music was used throughout the book

Fantastic story, and the best use of music within an audiobook I have experienced used to date. The only thing I didn't like was how the author pronounced several prevalent words throughout the book.I could never replace my finger on any particular accent, but because the pronunciations were significantly different than what I am used to, it did distract a bit from the story when I had to figure out what she was saying. Other then that, I really enjoyed it, and would definitely recommend.

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Beautiful!!!

So inspiring! I cried a lot while I was listening to the story. Lisa was such an incredible woman. The story is very well conveyed, one can easily picture the various scenarios, places, people around Lisa.
Thanks to the author for writing and sharing this amazing story.
I highly recommend this book!

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Of Music and Loving and Longing

I have been fascinated by the Kindertransport ever since I first heard about it years ago. I was taught classical piano and a child and teenager, though I was not the caliber of player that Lisa was. That being said, I loved this book.
It neither bogs down with unnecessary musical information nor leaves behind readers who are not familiar with musical terms.
Lisa comes of age during WWII. She witnesses the Night of Broken Glass in Vienna and is sent to England on the Kindertransport, but her sisters and parents remain behind. After things don't turn out the way she hopes, she winds up at a Jewish boarding home for other refugee children and continues her musical studies through hours and hours of practices, even recklessly practicing during air raids.
Lisa's daughter both wrote and performed this book, and it is clear that she oved her mother deeply. Her words are easily accessible, her performance (though unpolished and with slightly flat dialogue) is pleasant to listen to. The recordings of important political speeches, or the songs that Lisa was playing, were much more enhancing to the story than the background of a crowded train station early in the book.
Overall, this book is important if you are interested in learning about coming of age during WWII, how love and loss and forces outside of your control change you. How music can transcend language and culture and tragedy, but also be a cruel taskmaster.
Well worth your time and credit.

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Profile Image for tracey renz
  • tracey renz
  • 03-18-18

inspirational.

This book was a little slow at first but took off wonderfully once Lisa boarded the train. I enjoyed the narrators voice and her accent . Lisa was brave and courageous. It just shows that if you have a talent like that you should never give up.