Salt to the Sea is a phenomenal, and heartbreaking story about the ship that sank in World War II, Wilhelm Gustloff, and the life of Joana, Emilia, Florian and Alfred who were trying to save themselves.
“Abandoned or separated from their families, they were forced to battle the beast of war on their own, left with an inheritance of heartache and responsibility for events they had no rile in causing.”
A few months ago, I read my first novel by Ruta Sepetys and I fell in love with her writing. I’ve been interested in History my whole life, and reading novels about it is amazing. I admire how Ruta goes to different places to meet people in order to acquire real information, real data, the true side of what have been told.
“We, the survivors are not the true witnesses. The true witnesses, those in possession of the unspeakable truth, are the drowned, the dead, the disappeared.”
The story is told by four different points of view; four different people, from different places, but with the same goal… find their families. Sometimes when a book is told by different perspectives, I get annoyed but that didn’t happened with this book. Each character is unique and has its own voice. I really enjoyed how they eventually entwined and helped each other during the process. They showed us that working together is good, that helping each other is good.
“The Wilhelm Gustloff was pregnant with lost souls conceived of war. They would crowd into her belly and she would give birth to their freedom.”
I’d never heard about Wilhelm Gustloff before. That is what I love about Ruta’s books. When you read her books is like you’re in school taking a history class, but not just a pretty cool one, but one with the truth. This book showed us the heartbreaking side of wars, the desperation they create. People running for their lives, trying to find someone who wants to help. This story broke my heart in million pieces, it made me laugh at some points and also it made me cry like a baby.
“War is catastrophe. It breaks families in irretrievable pieces. But those who are gone are not necessarily lost.”
I don’t even know how to write a review for this novel. My feelings are all over the place and I just can’t put into words what I really feel. I loved how honest, beautiful, heartbreaking, and unpredictable this book was. This is absolutely one of my best reads of this year along with Between Shades of Gray. I almost die when Joana said her cousin is Lina, from Between Shades of Gray. I’m enamored by Ruta’s writing. I highly recommend this book, and if you don’t like history it’s ok… you’ll love this book no matter what. I have to warn you, it is a heartbreaking story and after reading it, your life will be a mess.