⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 5/5 stars
‘The author of Between Shades of Gray returns to WWII in this epic novel that shines a light on one of the war’s most devastating—yet unknown—tragedies.
In 1945, World War II is drawing to a close in East Prussia, and thousands of refugees are on a desperate trek toward freedom, almost all of them 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 toward safety.
Just when it seems freedom is within their grasp, tragedy strikes. Not country, nor culture, nor status matter as all ten thousand people aboard must fight for the same thing: survival.’
Just finished ‘Salt to the Sea’ by Ruta Sepetys and I am blown away! It is a simply beautiful and humbling story that follows a group of characters that find each other on the desperate walk to safety towards the end of WWII in 1945. They are among thousands of refugees who are trying to make it to the ships that promise them safety in the west, but it is the middle of winter, there is no food and danger lurks around every corner with the Soviet red army approaching. Each character has a history and secrets, which slowly come to light during the story. It all leads to one of the biggest tragedies in maritime history, in which over 9000 people die.
The characters may be fictional, but the events that surround them are history and real people lived through these difficulties and tragedies all those years ago.
This book made me smile and shed tears in equal measures and I will order myself a hard copy when it is published. I would recommend it to anyone, especially to people who enjoy historical fiction. You will love it!
Expected publication: February 2nd 2016
(I have received this book through NetGalley for an honest review)