Hello everyone I hope all is well with you! I’m back today with another Book Review. I love stories about World War II. I love them because I love to see how the human spirit overcomes evil. There are many stories like that on the market today and I’ve read quite a few of them.
The last one I read was “Salt to the Sea” by Ruta Sepetys and it was an incredible story about sacrifice and survival.
World War II is drawing to a close in East Prussia and thousands of refugees are on a desperate trek toward freedom, many with something to hide. Among them are Joana, Emilia, and Florian, whose paths converge en route to the ship that promises salvation, the Wilhelm Gustloff. Forced by circumstance to unite, the three find their strength, courage, and trust in each other tested with each step closer to safety.
Just when it seems freedom is within their grasp, tragedy strikes. Not country, nor culture, nor status matter as all ten thousand people—adults and children alike—aboard must fight for the same thing: survival.
Told in alternating points of view and perfect for fans of Anthony Doerr’s Pulitzer Prize-winning All the Light We Cannot See, Erik Larson’s Dead Wake, and Elizabeth Wein’s Printz Honor Book Code Name Verity, this masterful work of historical fiction is inspired by the real-life tragedy that was the sinking of the Wilhelm Gustloff—the greatest maritime disaster in history. As she did in Between Shades of Gray, Ruta Sepetys unearths a shockingly little-known casualty of a gruesome war, and proves that humanity and love can prevail, even in the darkest of hours.
I enjoyed this story immensely. I loved how I got to experience the different viewpoints of the characters. All of them had something to hide even the weasel German soldier. The story made me root for the underdog and hoped they survived and made me hate the Nazis that much more.
It was interesting to see the sick reasoning behind the Nazi regime. I don’t think I’ve encountered another character like Alfred Frick. As I read, I became more and more disgusted by him. He showed how emotionally weak the Nazis were.
I loved Joanna and Florian. I loved how strong and committed Joanna was. She was truly heroic and so was Florian, but I had a feeling he would be. The love affair between these two characters is something so precious in such a horrific time in our history, and the author does a great job illustrating this.
The last character, Emilia, is our tragic heroine. She’s raped by Nazis and becomes pregnant. She gives birth but struggles to be a mother to this baby, even though she knows it’s not the baby’s fault. Joanna and Florian help her with this struggle and she grows to love the baby.
I also loved the historical element as well, even though it was a tragedy. I believe so many things get swept under the rug, and this incident is one of them. It’s a tragic tale of survival during one of the worst times in our world’s history. I would strongly recommend reading this book.