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Kanakdurga, King Edward VI Camp Hill School for Girls

Salt to the Sea

“Salt to the Sea” by Ruta Sepetys is one of the most captivating books I’ve read. Dealing with a dark time of human history, it is presented poignantly through the eyes of four individuals of war-torn Europe.

In early 1945, the Wilhelm Gustloff was regarded by many as the ship to freedom. Joana, Florian, Emilia and Alfred, like many others, braved their way into the ship in a desperate attempt for a better future. The racy style of writing and the vivid accounts got me quickly engaged into their journey and I could easily see the events unfolding in front of me. I was no more reading a book; I was rushing towards the ship, from the clutches of fear to the dreams of hope, as were the scores of people around me.

Sepetys has also carefully crafted the secrets of the lives of these four characters which brought a thrilling undercurrent into the novel. A Lithuanian nurse, a German soldier, a pregnant Polish girl, and a Prussian thief, each haunted by their troubled past, gather courage, strength and trust, between the cheers of enthusiasm to the strike of tragedy. All along, I remained intrigued to find out more about these characters and could not help clinging to the book.

What impressed me most was the balance of historical context and literary flavour. Instead of being a mundane account of historical events, the novel was live with realistic emotions and personal thoughts. The effortless intertwining of the individuals’ stories added a compact connection with the reader, making not a single page a boring one.

Needless to say, “Salt to the Sea” moved me with an unforgettable sense of sadness, as Sepetys unearths one of the least-known tragedies of a gruesome war. There is hardly anything one can dislike about this book, and I was no exception. From the first page to the last, it was a pleasure to read and I would not hesitate to call it one of my favourite books ever!

Posted on: 23rd April 2017 at 10:21 pm

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