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Books on the Blog: Overcoming Hardships and Loss

By Lynne R. Dorfman

TIn Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys four teen’s lives converge in hopes of escape as Russians advancing through East Prussia during 1945. The story brings to life the little known story of the sinking of the German ship Wilhelm Gustloff by Russian torpedoes. The historical fiction novel is told in alternating voices of the Lithuanian nurse Joana, Polish Emilia, Prussian forger Florian, and German soldier Alfred (the only one who is unlikable as a self-delusional Hitler worshipper and sympathizer). Thrown together, the main characters struggle to survive, hardly trusting one another to even use their real names. Each has secrets that haunt anyone who has lived through war, flight, and deprivation. As the group escapes the brutalities of the Red Army, ultimately some of them will perish.

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