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Marko, Chobham Academy Book Group

Salt to the Sea

Salt to the Sea was clever in that it worked in two ways; firstly, you could really tell that the author had 'done their homework'. It was (as far as I know!) very historically accurate and the sinking of the Wilheim Gustloff was used very effectively to portray what a terrible time the war was. The book also had a range of interesting characters - I enjoyed reading extracts from Albert the most. The fact that you could see the views of those with Hitler and against was a very intriguing idea for me. It was a well researched historical novel.

The second way in which Sepetys wrote this book well is that it had an engrossing story as well as historical fact. This story was used in a very impressive way; it gave a clear picture of what kind of a place Germany was in the war and the fear that lingered there, but as well as being used to make a point, the book was interesting to read for entertainment. Most of the historical fiction I have read has been all about 'heroic' soldiers beating back the enemy in a typical patriotic spirit; Salt to the Sea managed to make a good tale while also conveying (I'll say it again!) the horror of WW2. One moment that remains with me is when many mothers, desperate to get their children away from the Russian army, throw their babies at the Wilheim Gustloff, and when they fail to reach the deck of the ship and fall back into the sea, their mothers, screaming, plunge in after them (I am paraphrasing, obviously).

The twist in the tale at the end of the book was, come to think of it, also used intelligently - just as you think 'And here it is: the typical happy ending' the ship is sunk. Overall, I think Salt to the Sea was very well researched and written, and I would definitely recommend it if you are stuck for something to read!

Posted on: 23rd May 2017 at 04:44 pm

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