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Bethan, Chobham Academy Book Group

Salt to the Sea

This book is really moving and perfectly describes what the struggles were for everyone, even of German blood, to survive without fear during the 2nd World War.
The story is split into sections; Joana’s, Emilia’s, Florian’s and Alfred’s. Joana’s is of her side of the story, starting on a road with a small boy, Klaus, a shoe maker, aka the Shoe Poet, a blind girl called Ingrid and a giant woman called Eva, aka Sorry Eva. On their way they encounter a Polish girl, who we later find out is Emilia, and a German boy, Florian, who is hiding a secret. Joana was a doctor’s apprentice and helps Florian, who was hit with shrapnel and was fighting an infection, and, later on, Emilia, who is hiding something massive under her many layers of clothing.
As they travel, they come across a place to stay. It’s a large manor house that the Shoe Poet has seen before. There they stay the night and eat some of the preserves left in the cupboards. Whilst they are there, Klaus picks up a sad looking one-eared rabbit and Eva screams at finding a dark surprise in each of the family member’s bedrooms…
In the morning, they set off on the road next to the house and mingle with the thousands of other families fleeing the country. They have to run away after a Russian plane starts bombing them and the only way to where they have to be is over kilometres of ice. Ingrid goes first, claiming that she can feel the ice and say whether it’s strong enough to carry their cart of belongings. Unfortunately, something happens that forces everyone to run for cover and a scenario that leaves Ingrid dead.
They travel to the docks to get a boat across the sea and to where it would be safer for them. Unfortunately, they have a run in with Russian submarines, Tornadoes, and are forced to evacuate in the lifeboats. The group of 6 becomes 4 as the boat sinks.
This book was well written and I enjoyed the feeling of family between those who were outcasts and refugees. I liked how it was split into those sections so that we could see the story unravel from different perspectives.
To make it even better, I would take out Alfred’s section because it was a bit tedious and dull.
This wasn’t my favourite book, but it was still moving, so I would give it an 8 out of 10.

Posted on: 3rd April 2017 at 08:42 am

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