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Book Review… Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys

Author: Ruta Sepetys

Title: Salt to the Sea

Length: 378 pages

Publisher: Penguin

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️.5 out of 5

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.

Until the next review.

JTH

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Book Review: ‘The Secret Vow’ by Natalie Meg Evans

Title: The Secret Vow

Author: Natalie Meg Evans

Publisher: Bookouture

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ / 5

This is the first book I’ve read by Natalie Meg Evans, it won’t be the last. I didn’t know what to expect from this book, but I throughly enjoyed it.

Katya – young, beautiful and impoverished – arrives in Paris, hoping to begin a new life. She leaves behind a terrible secret, and her survival in this strange and beautiful city depends on nobody discovering who -and what- she is. Immediately Katya is swept up in the city’s glamour – particularly the boutiques on the main boulevard, where glittering gowns are hand sewn for exclusive clientele. Dare Katya dream that she may someday wear – or even design – one of these dazzling creations? It feels like an impossible wish, until she meets businessman Henry Morgan. Tall, handsome and well-connected, Harry could give Katya everything she wants and more…but at what price? And should she break the vows she made and trust him with her secret when her very survival could be a stake?

‘When I met you, I was a man of twenty-eight who wasn’t sure he’d make it to twenty-nine. You were hanging onto your life by your fingernails. We were birds crashing in flight, which doesn’t make it any easier.’

I loved this book. I couldn’t put it down. It’s such a good story with a wonderful plot. The female protagonist, Katya, is extremely likeable and you find yourself rooting for her from the beginning of this book. It’s a classic riches to rag story, but told so well. I loved reading about her chasing her dream, starting her new career. It was so well done. Look, I’m even writing about it as if it was real!

As for the love story that occurs, it’s beautiful. It’s one of the best love stories I’ve read in a while. It’s dramatic, passionate, loving, sweet and honest. I was rooting for Harry and Katya to be together at the end ( I won’t give it away, if they are or not).

The plot moves along really well. From the fleeing of Russia, starting a new life in Paris, Katya’s new business, the love story. It’s truly a book that will keep you entertained. There’s also a back story throughout this book, the keeps you guessing till the end. I had to know what happened. Speaking of the end of this book, it was amazing. It surprised me, it was suspenseful and cinematic. This book is the perfect candidate for a BBC miniseries.

It’s truly beautifully written. Natalie has a real talent. The emotion she conjures up is phenomenal. You truly feel for the characters. As for setting the scene, you get a real sense of Paris in the 1930s. Along with the description of the outfits, the machinery, it’s authentic.

So, if you like historical fiction, books about the fashion industry or a romance book, then this is the one for you. I can’t recommend it enough. Now excuse me, I’m off to buy some more Natalie Meg Evans books.

This ARC was given to me by Netgalley and Bookouture in return for an honest review.

This e-book comes out 11th December! Don’t miss it!

Until the next review

JTH