I loved Ruta’s first book ‘Between shades of grey’ so I decided to pick this one up. It took me a while to get into it, but once I did it was amazing.
War-torn Germany. Four young people. Four dark secrets. They come from different lands but each of them is hunted, and haunted, by tragedy, lies… and war. As thousands of refugees flock to the coast, desperate to escape the advancing Red Army, the paths of four young people converge. All are hoping to board the Wilhelm Gustloff, a ship that promises safety and freedom. Yet not all promises can be kept.
“Just when you think this war has taken everything you loved, you meet someone and realise that somehow you still have more to give.”
I tried to read this book about a year ago and gave up, I just couldn’t get into. The chapters are short and you change characters so quickly I just couldn’t carry on. However I decided to give it another go as I know people love this book and I can really see why. It’s something special.
Ruta Sepetys is a master at writing historical fiction. Her writing is so evocative, you truly feel as if your on the tumultuous journey through Germany with these characters. I always love it when an author gives you a new perspective on something and Ruta has done just that. Giving us a new side of the war I’d never encountered before. As I said before the chapters are very short, changing the narrative between characters and it works in this books favour. It makes the book feel chaotic, just like the characters journey which is genius.
The four different characters stories are interwoven is such a clever and stylish way. You get a sense for each character and their back story which adds another layer to an already fantastic plot. You won’t be able to put it down, as you’ll want to find out how this thrilling story concludes. It does not disappoint. Ruta even manages to get a romance in the book which doesn’t feel out of place in such a harrowing setting. Is that not a testament to great writing and excellent story telling.
So if you like historical fiction, or just a gripping book, then I can’t recommend this one enough. Read it. You won’t regret it.