Author: Ruta Sepetys
Genre: Historical Fiction
Pagecount: 393 pages
My Rating: 5/5 ☆
Salt to the Sea reminded me once again why I love Historical Fiction.
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.
Taken from Goodreads.
I finished it at half past four in the morning because I couldn’t put it down. I had grown to adore all the characters in this book in a little over a day. I felt their despair, their longing for their lost family; I felt as though I was right there with them amidst the bedlam and blood.
Ruta Sepetys has painted the tragic lives of the refugees of World War II using four different point of views, and I’ve never found it easier to follow the lives of four starkly different individuals – Emilia, Florian, Alfred and Joana. The short chapters definitely aided it.
Joana is such a beautiful soul and it’s a shame that we are only taught about the cruel villains and not about the benevolent heroines like she who saved hundreds of lives. I related the most to the character of Florian – can’t reproduce artwork or signature, but definitely do act like I don’t care about anyone but myself. The strength of Emilia blew me away. Through her the author shows her audience how war rips away innocence from young teenagers. And then we have Alfred, the character who never once failed to render me speechless with his utter idiocy. He’s a Nazi soldier who is a victim (?) of indoctrination.
I definitely recommend Salt to the Sea to everyone! And I cannot wait to read the other works of Ruta Sepetys.