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Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys

 

 

Salt to the Sea
Click picture for Goodreads page

Author: Ruta Sepetys

Publisher: Philomel Books

Publication: 4th February 2016

Genre: Historical, YA

Source: Netgalley

Date read:1st February 2016

**I received an Advanced Reader Copy (ARC) of this book from Netgalley and the publishers in exchange for an honest review**

Synopsis from Goodreads:

Each one born of a different homeland; each one hunted, and haunted, by tragedy, lies…and war.

As thousands of desperate refugees flock to the coast in the midst of a Soviet advance, four paths converge, vying for passage aboard the Wilhelm Gustloff, a ship that promises safety and freedom.

Yet not all promises can be kept.

Inspired by the single greatest tragedy in maritime history, bestselling and award-winning author Ruta Sepetys (Between Shades of Gray) lifts the veil on a shockingly little-known casualty of World War II. An illuminating and life-affirming tale of heart and hope.

disney sad crying pixar sadness

My thoughts:

This book! OMG you guys! It had the feels and was so so so so sad!

Guilt is a hunter.

Salt to the Sea is a story set in 1945 Germany told from four perspectives, Florian, Joana, Emilia and Alfred all from different homelands, fleeing Stalin’s Red Army. Refugees are fleeing for freedom in form on the Wilhelm- Gustloff a ship that will make a 48 hour trip to Kiel. The Wilhelm-Gustaloff is evacuating injured soldiers and civilians – It’s capacity is to hold 1500 passengers but with so many people they are forced to take over 10,000.  A few hours into the trip the ship is hit by Russian torpedoes, does the foursome still have enough fight to survive?

Fate is a hunter.

Joana is Lithuanian and has been assisting a doctor with surgery, with her knowledge she is able to help some of the injured refugees and civilians she comes across. She is leading a current group of people to the Wilhelm Gustloff when she meets Florian a Prussian apprentice art restorer for Gauleiter Erich Koch who was a leader of the regional branch of Nazi party (Very high up). Along side Florian is Emilia a 15-year-old Polish girl on the run from a farm in which she was sent by her father. Then there is Alfred a German sailor, with his first Voyage being the Wilhelm-Gustloff.

Shame is a hunter

This book was heartbreaking and a real eye opener. The story is told  in small chapters alternating from the four perspectives. Alfred’s perspectives are sometimes told in letters to a love interest back home The characters are equally fleshed out and you get a real connection with them, they all have something they are running from and a background story. I really didn’t like Alfred’s character, in his letters he was making out that he was some highly responsible soldier which made a huge difference to the war when all he was doing was a low-level job on the ship, he was pretty much insane. Emilia’s story grew stronger and stronger as the story went on and became more peturbed . Florian is a mysterious character who doesn’t reveal much about himself but he is always calculating the best way to freedom. There is a slow burn romance within the novel but it is no way insta-lovey at all. With this romance we find out more about Florian.

Fear is a hunter.

This book reminded me a lot of ‘All the light we cannot see’ by Anthony Doerr minus the fantasy element. But for me it was much better, the fact that you don’t really read stories about Lithuanians, Prussians etc in world war 2 stories. The Wilhelm Gustloff was an actual ship in world war 2 and 9,500 lives were lost however I had never heard about this before and I am really interested in reading more about this. I am going to be honest, I don’t know too much about the war and the particulars to it, so I can’t say how accurate Ruta’s account is.

This book is compelling and harrowing at the same time, some of the descriptions of how the civilians and refugees were living and attempts for freedom were deeply upsetting. The most moving book I have read this year and would definitely recommend to anyone that is interested in historical fiction.

I loved Ruta Sepetys writing and really want to read between shades of gray and out of the easy.

I rated this 5 out of 5 stars.

 

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