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Esther, Newstead Wood School

Salt to the Sea

Salt to the Sea is a heart-touching and eye-opening book. This book has an interesting and well-worked four-way narrative which works much more effectively than (SPOILER ALERT!) The Smell of Other People's Houses. The narrative is shorter per person, describing one particular event rather than several different, longer chapters describing different events that even after re-reading it is hard to know where they intertwine.
But enough about the comparisons. The story follows a WW2 ship the Wilhelm Gustloff, which tragically sank, killing more people than the sinking of the Titanic. Yeah, it was bad. Why don't we know about it then? It's because it was a German Nazi boat packed with Refugees, and they didn't matter.
The characters are Joana, a Lithuanian nurse, who harbors mysterious guilt, while Florian, a Prussian art conservationist, carries an item that could result in his death if discovered. Emilia, a 15-year-old from Poland, carries her secret inside of her, and Alfred, a German sailor on the Gustloff, keeps his fear secret from even himself. Their stories meet and intertwine on journeys that are both personal and universal.
However, this isn't complicated as they are short chapters that can touch your heart. The characterisation is what makes this book one of my all-time favorites. They are believable. They are relatable, in a way... They want to show you their fears and hopes and loves and emotions and want you to love them until the tragical end. I would urge anyone with a love of history, a love of adventure, a love of book characters that you will laugh and cry over, or not even any one of these to read it. It is a must have on bookshelves and libraries worldwide.

Posted on: 8th May 2017 at 01:53 pm

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