Published by Penguin Books on August 1st 2017
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#1 New York Times bestseller and winner of the Carnegie Medal!
Based on "the forgotten tragedy that was six times deadlier than the Titanic."--Time
Winter 1945. WWII. Four refugees. Four stories.
Each one born of a different homeland; each one hunted, and haunted, by tragedy, lies, war. As thousands desperately 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. But not all promises can be kept . . .
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.
You will not be able to put Salt to the Sea down,
and if you do…
it’s because you need a moment to breathe or cry, before continuing.
Salt to the Sea, a beautifully written and compelling story, that uncovers the horrific scenes of a historical event untold. Emilia, Joana, Florian, and Alfred, provide perspective, as they make their way to board the Wilhelm Gustloff. Sepetys story encompasses the struggle of traveling during World War II, loss and the inner turmoil of harbored secrets.
When I was researching Salt to the Sea, I was reminded that many different regions/countries were affected and suffered during the evacuation and expulsion. When I interviewed people from those different countries, I realized that every human being views history through their own cultural lens. So I created four separate characters to give voice to a particular regional experience and allow the reader to look through their “lens.” – Ruta Sepetys
Sepetys does a fantastic job bringing these four characters to life. Innocence plays as the central point – both in need and it’s destruction – with each character. As the stories cross and the characters further develop, you become fond of them and their traveling companions; even as they disclose the terrible things from their past. Pulling from their innocence and strength, they overpower their cultural barriers and spark new meaning to friendship and survival. Hope and strength bind their unique personas, and the presence of their misfortune makes them believable.
And recoiled in disgust.
The imagery is expressive and elicits fear, happiness, and sadness. There were moments while I read that I had to place the book down and walk away. Wading through conflict and holding my breath, the resolution unfolds. Waiting was almost too much, and my anxiety had peaked.
Finishing Salt to the Sea, through a blur of tears, I can safely say that I am pleased with the ending and couldn’t have imagined a better alternative. I cannot recommend this book enough. Guiltily, it was the cover that lured me in. I was captivated. One of the girls I babysit read Salt to the Sea for school. The minute she finished the book, I had borrowed, devoured, returned, and bought a copy within two days. I love books that give me the feels, adding Salt to the Sea to my favorites list. I had never read anything by Ruta Septeys before and have added both Between Shades of Gray and Out of the Easy to my TBR list on Goodreads.
Sepetys, you had me at bang.
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