Title: Salt to the Sea
Genre: Historical Fiction & YA
Published: February 2nd 2016
Where I Got It: Borrowed from library
World War II is drawing to a close in East Prussia and thousands of refugees are on a desperate trek toward freedom, many with something to hide. Among them are Joana, Emilia, and Florian, whose paths converge en route to the ship that promises salvation, the Wilhelm Gustloff. Forced by circumstance to unite, the three find their strength, courage, and trust in each other tested with each step closer to safety.
Just when it seems freedom is within their grasp, tragedy strikes. Not country, nor culture, nor status matter as all ten thousand people—adults and children alike—aboard must fight for the same thing: survival.
What a good choice this ended up being! :D
Yes, phew! We can pick a few good ones at least, among all the rest.
Yesss, it takes a few baddies to get to a goodie. Sooo...I will admit this now….I had never heard of this tragedy! :S I swear I learn something new every day with WWII. So much happened during that war.
I think I might have heard of it. Maybe when they talk about a ferry catastrophe hear, I am sure they would have mentioned this too. It sounded familiar, but I sure did not remember how many! Omg so many!
I think that is what shocked me the most and I am surprised this wasn’t at least mentioned (even briefly) in the numerous classes that I took that we learned about WWII. So many people died. So many innocents. Tragic.
It did say at the back that they Germans glossed it over cos so many died! They wanted to keep morale up, and yes the Soviets did not mention it either cos they were total dicks! Which makes it so horrible. I mean when it said at the back that bodies washed up years afterwards…
It makes sense and the rest of the world didn’t have a heart bc they hated the Germans so much. We still don’t talk much about the German POV during the war.
SO true. I feel there are more books like this lately. And each time I am horrified. The last one dealt with this totally normal woman, not a Nazi, just a German woman and it was the end of the war. I did not realize that the Soviets came in and like raped everyone, everyone, everyone! Because who cares about Germans!
Yes, the Soviets were just as bad as the Germans. I felt so bad for Emilia. Poor girl.
Rape and pillage. Wtf! When I read this I was so freaking glad that our war with them ended in a “loss”, whatever Soviet. At least we kept our independence. Thank you Gods! War makes monsters of people.
War is evil and everyone is impacted especially the poor and the women. So sad.
Was it WW1 where more civilians started dying than soldiers, or something. War is so evil. Sigh. But ok back to the story! I liked all the POVS except Alfreds. Yes yes, I get that we are not supposed to like the nazi, but he was so dull and full of himself. Little shit like he was.
I believe so. With the increase of deadlier weapons and bombs...the civilians died during war shot up WAY more than any other war. But yes, I enjoyed all the POVs. Alfred’s though? No. But it was interesting. He certainly had some serious issues for sure. He was creepy and a mindless Hitler-lover robot. It was a good balance of the story. We get to see what our poor heroes have to deal with. They have little chance since the majority of soldiers are brainwashed. I didn’t like his pov and I found it...dull sometimes...but I felt it was necessary to give a counterbalance. Made me like the others more for sure!
I just wish I would have been happy to hate him, but now I was bored by him. His pov was so uninteresting. The only interesting part was the truth about his girlfriend that he writes too. I guess she could have made even a follower interesting, but that did not happen. It dragged down the book a bit for me.
I can agree with you on that. He’s POV didn’t get interesting until 3/4th of the way through the book when he actually aided with moving the story along. What a creeper!!!!
I liked Emilia, oh so heartbreaking! Juana was ok, but a bit too nice ;) And I liked Florian, I was unsure if I liked him though, but I did. He had depth. He could have been a good villain if he had been one.
Emilia’s story was my favorite. She broke my heart and I loved her. Poor girl, poor girl. Joanna was okay...I was unsure of her at first and I didn’t trust her. Not sure why...but I felt like she could turn on a dime. Not that she was BAD, but I got the feeling she was a survivalist and would do what had to be done. I liked Florian a lot. He was the most complex character. I adored Ingrid too. My poor heart!
Ack Ingrid! Oh and the old guy! SO many good side characters too. But yes I liked Florian the best, that thing he says, She is Poland or whatever it was almost made me cry. Damn war!
The old guy and kid???!!! Ugh! My heart. Yes, the characters and even the side characters really and truly made the story. The story was SLOW moving if you really look at it, but I feel the characters carried the load and made it a good story. Florian was a sweetie.
It was sort of slow, and at the same time not. And then it moved so fast. I did feel it moved too fast at the end. I had expected to cry, cos hello! SO MANY PEOPLE DIED! But it moved so fast so I was swept away and did not really have time.
I was a little bummed by that...it felt...anticlimactic sort of. All this build-up and then BOOM. Sink and done. I wanted to cry. I cried with Ingrid, but I wanted more feels at the end there.
Alfred and the lack of feels was the negative part for me. It was still good and one of those stories you should know. But yes for a ship catastrophe not a lot was about the actual sinking of the ship.
Maybe the author did it on purpose? IDK. But I felt like there needed to be more. I especially wanted more of an epilogue as well. I wanted closure and feels. The ending was my main issue. Alfred’s POV was too, but once he actually played a part in the story, I didn’t mind his take on things even though he is creepy and insane.
Maybe. Maybe she did not want us to cry too much. And not drag it out like Titanic. Who knows. Because at the same time I liked those short paragraphs, it was very in your face, omg!
Maybe...and maybe it was symbolism? Such a big event went pretty much unnoticed by the world. I for sure went online and did some further reading to learn more. Maybe that was her aim?
To research on your own is always good, so that might have been it too. It did make me want to know more.
Who knows. But yes, I did have to read more. I was dying to know more on this since this was all new to me. So! What did you think of the format of the book?
I did like that there were many POVS (well 3 would have been better ;). And it did give us an insight into different fates. The Prussians, those with German descent that were allowed to come to Germany, Poles and well a certain nazi. Oh and every time, poor Poland. They sure suffered.
I liked it too. I think it worked well. The author made it easy to follow and I liked how we got to see them all react to something like the gunshot or the boat being blasted. It was a fun way to tell the story and it worked well.
Ah yes, the gunshot at the beginning. Yes, I liked how that was done.
And yes we flipped flopped a lot, but I still feel like I got to learn more about them from their own POV and from the eyes of others.
I do not know what else to say. I liked that we learned about this. Should be mention how many died? I am sure people think like Titanic, but haha, that was nothing compared to this. I liked how she showed how regular people suffered and how different nationalities thought about things, or yes suffered. Everyone suffered. I also liked how it tied into another book I read by her, Joana’s cousin is briefly mentioned and she was the heroine there. Oh that book made me cry
I’ll say it! Like 9,000 people died (give or take depending on what you read). So many lives lost. So many of those people were innocents. 5000 of them children. SICKENING! When I read this I wanted to die. So sad.
Ugh! I need to read that book. Maybe I can get some of the answers I want about Joana and her cousin!
The 5000 children were beyond sad. I know many ships were sunk, it was war after all, but so many!
Yes, read the story about her cousin. It tells of the many people Soviet sent to Gulags. If you had one clever thought in Lithuania off to the Gulag with you.
*checking Goodreads* Oooo I already have it on my TBR list. Hahaha funny. But yes, now I am more inclined to want to read it!
S was not that old when I listened to it, and there is this scene with a newborn, omg, the tears! You will see. The aftermath of war is just as bad. Ugh Soviet! Yes I do really dislike them. They are our neighbor after all.
Yesss, we had that long “war” with them too. Evil and monsters especially during WWII. They got away with it while Germany had to pay for their evil deeds. Sickening for sure. War makes people into terrible things like we said above. Books like this are reminders about how cruel war is. Worth the read for sure.
We should never forget, because so many do. Or do not know it happened, or deny it. Which is really the worst thing in the world. But to all those who want to learn more then read this book. It is worth it, and I do wonder how it is in audio...hmmm.
I was thinking that myself. I bet it would’ve been okay. I think I liked reading it though. And yes, read this or another book about this.
And I can’t stop thinking what treasures might lie at the bottom of the Baltic. THose divers had seen something.
I do wonder!
Page 4! No wonder this took some time to write. Better wrap it up :) Good book! Good luck with the next one!
Yesss, good book! We certainly chatted a lot! Worth the read. *fingers crossed* Hopefully, the next one is good too!