My rating: 5 of 5 stars
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.
This was my first Ruta Sepetys novel, but certainly not my last.
I honestly didn’t know what to expect, picking up this book. I didn’t even know what it was about when I checked it out at the library, I had only just seen that it won some award on Goodreads last year so I figured I would read it for fun.
I swear, not even 15 pages in, I was ready to curl in a ball and die from the feels. The emotion that Ruta Sepetys was able to convey through the characters, the struggles, the setting – everything just hit me, and hard. I don’t think I’ve ever been so emotionally connected to a book before.
If I could give this book all of the stars in the world, I would. And I feel like the star rating system I have isn’t even enough to explain the way I felt reading this book. Every page, every sentence was gripping.
And the characters. Oh dead God the characters.
Florian and Joanna. I loved them so freaking much. If I didn’t love them together so much I would ship myself with Florian. The moment he was introduced as a character was the moment I knew we were meant to be. This was my new fictional boyfriend. But that’s besides the point.
I didn’t just fall in love with Florian, I fell in love with every character there was.
Every character had a different struggle, a different point of view on life. You had the old life in the form of the shoemaker, the young life in the form of the young boy (whose name I can’t remember right now). You had the romance between two characters, you had the pregnant girl. Everything was just so heavy.
Some gifs to express my feelings –
When I started getting deeper into the book:
And at the end:
Overall, I loved this book.
Would Recommend To:
- Someone who loves YA but also loves Historical Fiction
- Someone who is interested in Historical Fiction
- Someone who loves a little romance but not as the main focus
- Someone who would just love to cry and never be mentally okay again.
Have you read Salt to the Sea? If so what were your thoughts?