Genre: Historical Fiction, Young Adult
Winter, 1945. Four teenagers. Four secrets.Thank you to Net Galley and Penguin Random House UK for a review copy in return for an honest review.
Each one born of a different homeland; each one hunted, and haunted, by tragedy, lies…and war.
As thousands of desperate refugees flock to the coast in the midst of a Soviet advance, four paths converge, vying for passage aboard the Wilhelm Gustloff, a ship that promises safety and freedom.
Yet not all promises can be kept.
Inspired by the single greatest tragedy in maritime history, bestselling and award-winning author Ruta Sepetys (Between Shades of Gray) lifts the veil on a shockingly little-known casualty of World War II. An illuminating and life-affirming tale of heart and hope. -Goodreads
I absolutely adored Between Shades of Gray by Sepetys so when I saw that she had released another novel I was excited to get my hands on it. Between Shades of Gray was an obvious 5 stars for me, and happily this novel was exactly the same. Sepetys writes highly emotional and hard hitting novels with great historical background and with extremely well written characters in them. One of my favourite aspects of Sepetys writing is her writing about lesser-known historical events. This book is no different.
I had honestly never heard of the sinking of the Willhelm Gustloff before I read this novel, and it opened my eyes to a historical event I had no idea had even taken place.
This novel is beautifully written, the language and descriptions are flowing and paint a heart breaking yet heart warming picture of the refugees' escape to freedom.
The group of characters in this novel were very diverse, and they made for really great reading, and I found myself falling in love with every single one of them (apart from one) which made the ending even more gut-wrenchingly sad. Also the diverse collection of ages of the characters made it even more relatable and made Sepetys writing even more impressive as she is able to create well-rounded characters of differing ages and to make her novels appeal to readers of all different ages even though this novel gets categorises as a Young Adult novel.
The only character I didn't fall in love with in this novel was Alfred, which I'm sure is true for a lot of other readers too. He added lots to the story but as a character he was very dislikable.
This novel is written through a lot of characters POV, which sometimes works and sometimes backfires. Happily this time it worked perfectly, giving us an insight into all the characters and their hopes and dreams, and into their backstories and the struggles they had overcome to get to that place.
Overall this is one of my favourite books that I have read this year, it was heart breaking and enraptured my heart the whole time I was reading it. I would recommend this novel to adults and young adults alike, it will definitely be worth it.
|My Previous Review|