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Rose, St Helen and St Katharine

Salt to the Sea

I thought that this book was a thrilling account of the sinking of a very important ship in history. It actually sunk more people than the Titanic, but as it was not in peacetime. The records of it had been hidden for a long time, thus it is little known. I know I had never heard of this disaster before. There are four characters, Joana, Emilia, Florian and Alfred. The characters are clearly developed though their diary entries. Particularly in their one line phrases, Joana is worried for Emilia, Florian is worried for Emilia, Emilia is worried for her baby, and all Alfred is worried about is whether he will still get a medal. He only thinks about himself all the time and shows no insight into his inner emotions. Joana is a nurse who is determined to ensure the safety of others. She is kind, caring and sensitive. Emilia explicitly trusts Florian after he saved her from a Russian soldier. That shows she likes to have a shoulder to lean on and someone reliable who she can depend on. As well as company. Florian is brave and fearless. Or so he seems. He recognises the mistakes he has made, but after misconceptions, he does not trust people. He likes taking risks though and by the end of the book, he opens out a little more and stats to trust people. Each character is introduced with a phrase which gives an insight into how they are feeling at that moment. Fear… Shame… Guilt… Fate… It was easy to read as it was in bite sized portions and I wanted to find out what happened next. There were graphic descriptions of the horror of war which really opened my eyes. It shows us how different people respond in desperate situations and how love, friendship and hatred can be so powerful. I learnt about the refugees in war torn Europe. It also parallels with the situation today with Syrian refugees trekking across Europe. Are we responding to them in a humane way? It was a love story, a war story, a tragedy. A story of hope and love and triumphing over evil. The ending was both sad and hopeful. Life can go on after awful events, but we should remember and learn from it.

Posted on: 5th June 2017 at 09:23 am

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