Winter, 1945. Four teenagers. Four secrets.
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.
Let me start off by saying I cried like a baby throughout this book. Talk about a through back to the Boy in the Stripped Pajamas and all the feels! I wasn’t sure going into this book, because I have never read a historical fiction novel, but I am in love *heart face emoji*. Ruta Sepetys’ writing is so easy to read, it just flows through, creating the perfect image of her story in your head. The story that Ruta creates with break your heart, give you hope and make you realize what’s important in life, all in one chapter. There were a few parts of this amazing book, towards the end, that tore at my heart until it was raw.
“Floating in the sea of black, we were forced to witness the massive and grotesque deaths of thousands of people. I clutched the baby tight and closed my eyes. But the scenes continued to play in my mind: The severely angled deck. A woman throwing her baby down to a sailor. He reached. He missed. The child hit the steel raft and then rolled off into the sea. Thousands of desperate people jumping, kicking, gulping. Seawater filling mouths and nostrils, collapsing lungs”.
This scene made me feel so SICK to my stomach. Just imagining and mother trusting another person with their babies life and doing something as drastic as throwing a baby over board only to watch their horrible death. I can’t even imagine the devastation. Another scene in Salt to the Sea that really got me was:
“Would she have to learn the grotesque details of our suffering? Would news make it to my hometown of Birzai, to the dark bunker in the woods where my brother and father were thought to be hiding?
Joana Vilkas, your daughter, your sister. She is salt to the sea.
We floated in blackness, bobbing along the waves. A woman in the boat announced the time every thirty minutes. There was no more splashing in the water, only the quiet echoes of crying. We sat, snow falling from an infinite sky.
Ughhhhh this book was amazing!!! I went out and got Between Shades of Gray by Ruta to read next! Read this book, you wont regret it! Five out of five stars from me!