A Heartbreaking Account of a Little Known WII Tragedy

Posted on February 27, 2017 «
Categories: book review «
Join in on the Conversation «
Is this a book review? Jump to the Quick Review

book review salt sea ruta sepetys

Book Review
Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys

Wow. Just one word. Wow. Salt to the Sea was more emotional than I could have imagined. Telling the story of a little known World War II Maritime disaster involving the Wilhelm Gustloff. Expertly told from 5 different points of view Septeys gives each character a unique voice and a unique story. For 4 of the 5 stories, their escape from the Nazis may mean life and freedom. For me, the 5th character was one of the few stories I’ve experienced from a Nazi soldier’s point of view and it chilled me to the bone.

Salt to the Sea shines as each character shares their backstory and their observations about the other narrators. Their short journey binds them together in an unexpected way and while the characters presented are fiction, their journeys provide a wonderful lesson about caring for others and helping those who are in need even when you are in need.

Audiobook readers will be pleased to know that each character has his or her own narrator. This added to the intimacy of the story being told. It feels like each character was sitting next to you sharing some of their deepest darkest secrets.

As is often the case when I read historical fiction, I will, at some point, head out to the Internet and start doing my own research. Salt to the Sea had me entranced, I didn’t do any outside research until after the novel was done as I didn’t want to be spoiled. There was a pivotal point in the novel when I realized there was only one way the story could end and I was crushed, but I kept listening, hoping there would be happiness when the story finally came to a close.

World War II is one of my favorite time periods to read about. Finding unique, untold stories from this era is always a treat for me and Salt to the Sea fits the bill. Sometimes the best stories are found on the losing side of a battle and Salt to the Sea tells part of that story in way that allows the reader to connect with an otherwise silent part of history.

Learn more about the sinking of the Wilhelm Gustloff.

A version of this review also appeared in The Gazette. Read it now.


The Quick Book Review

A Heartbreaking Account of a Little Known WII Tragedy

Salt to the Sea

Author: Ruta Sepetys
Narrator: Cassandra Morris, Jorjeana Marie, Michael Crouch, Will Damron
Published on: February 2, 2016
Pages: 393
Genres: young adult, historical fiction
Goodreads • Amazon Affiliate Link
My Rating: Thumbs Up

About Ruta Sepetys

Ruta Sepetys was born and raised in Michigan in a family of artists, readers, and music lovers. As an author of historical fiction, Ruta is drawn to stories of strength through struggle. Her award-winning debut novel, "Between Shades of Gray" was inspired by her family's history in Lithuania and is published in 45 countries. Her second novel, "Out of the Easy" is set in the French Quarter of New Orleans in 1950, and her third novel "Salt to the Sea" exposes one of the greatest hidden disasters of World War II. Ruta lives in a treehouse in the hills of Tennessee.

(from GoodReads)




2 responses to “A Heartbreaking Account of a Little Known WII Tragedy

    • Yes, it actually happened. Although the characters in the book are complete fiction! Have you read Code Name Verity or The Nightingale? Both of these books are in my top reads of all time. Amazing, emotional WWII reads!!