Do you like retellings?

I love retellings! Add to that a story about the Holocaust? Yes, please! So many things gave shape to this novel: the stepmother giving the children German names to ensure their survival, Magda the Witch taking them in, the father’s love for his children, the stepmother’s ultimate sacrifice, and Hansel’s need to be the responsible one. Maybe Hansel and Gretel weren’t forgotten in the forest on purpose. Maybe they were kept away from the likes of hungry men in this war-torn world.

Book Review

Title: Salt to the Sea
Author: Ruta Sepetys
Genre: Histotical Fiction
Pages: 391

“How foolish to believe we are more powerful than the sea or the sky.”

Set during WWII(Winter of 1945), Ruta Sepetys documents the journey of four ficional characters to tell the true story of the deadliest  disaster in maritime history, the sinking of Wilhelm Gustloff. The Wilhem Gustloff was carrying wartime personnel as well as civilians,  with an estimated five thousand being children.

“The Wilhelm Gustloff was pregnant with lost souls conceived of war. They would crowd into her belly and she would give birth to their freedom. But did anyone realize? The ship was christened for a man, Wilhelm Gustloff. He had been the leader of the Nazi party in Switzerland.He was murdered. The ship was born of death.”

I knew what lay ahead before I even began this story. This story is raw, it’s emotional, beautiful but at the same time heart-wrenching. Emilia, Florian, Joana, Klaus, and Poet seemed so real to me. I laughed with them and I have cried with them….through everything. If you know about the goat scene, you know what I’m talking about . I could not at all relate with Alfred. I tried very hard because after all he shares a good part of the book, but I just couldn’t. My favorite pair was Emilia and Florian and the relationship they shared. I don’t want to give too much away but I literally choked up with what Florian did to try to encourage Emilia to accept her baby . It was just so beautiful!


Has anyone else read The Salt To The Sea? What are your thoughts?