Book Review: Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys
Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys
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.
Salt to the Sea:
I received an e-arc of Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys from Puffin via NetGalley. This has in no way influenced my thoughts and feelings about the book.
Everyone has to read Salt to the Sea. And if you are not prepared to cry – then don’t bother reading.
When I started this novel I wasn’t expecting to love it. At first it was really hard grasp because there is 3 protagonists and with the e-arc I had they weren’t on separate pages so when the chapter changed therefor a different perspective it was hard to remember who was who. However, after I had the grasp of the characters this novel was magical.
Salt to the Sea set in 1945 in Germany, tells the journey of protagonists; Joana, Emilia and Florian whos lives cross paths on their way to the ill-fated Wilhelm Gustloff. They are forced to unite. They find strength, courage and trust in both themselves and one another. They are tested even when they think they are safe.
And when they think that they finally have freedom – the worst happens and they have to fight for their lives again with ten thousand other people. There are so many characters in Salt to the Sea and every one of them has a story to tell.
What a sorry group we were, brutalized and bandaged, yet luckier then most.
Joana a nurse that had been given a pass into Germany now flees to find her way back home, holds a secret that is tearing her apart inside.
Emilia, a girl in a pink hate holds something that will bring light into the world that was brought by darkness.
Florian an artist with a fever and a shrapnel injury that needs to be fixed holds something deep in his shoe.
I loved all three protagonists. I loved their story, finding out how they got to where they are and where they want to be. They were all written beautifully and their character arcs where really fantastic. The reader is able to see them all grow and become brave and strong.
The fear never disappeared but with each year it retreated slightly, a tide of memory sliding back out to sea.
I loved how the first few chapters started with —- is a hunter. It was a brilliant way of starting them and then bringing it all together with the last couple of chapters having the same line in it.
I cried during Salt to the Sea. I am not going to lie. Multiple times. It’s a book that centres around war.
The writing though is so beautiful, I was captivating from the first moment. It pulls you in and you cannot stop reading once you start. Each like forms into another and you are finished in the blink of an eye. I haven’t read any of Ruta Sepetys other books but as from now they are on my tbr.
My war had been so long, my winters so cold. But I had finally made it home. And for the first time in a long time, I was not afriad.
You could tell by the writing and the story that a lot of research went into it. It doesn’t have fact, after fact but people, things that happened even to the littlest detail was based on fact. It was really interesting to someone like me who is a massive history buff and I was picking things here or there or typing them into google. It gave this novel more depth.
Beautiful, captivating, extraordinary. Salt to the Sea is a gorgeous novel that brings to light a catastrophe that seems to be forgotten. With stunning writing and intriguing characters Ruta Sepetys brings a novel that tells a story that everyone needs to read.