Salt to the Sea is such a good book! This is the second book I have read by Ruta Sepetys, and she is a phenomenal author. Everything of hers is so well written! One of the things that I thought was so fantastic about this book is that not only is the fictional part of the story really well done, but the historical part is fascinating. Despite being the largest maritime disaster in history, I had never heard of the Wilhelm Gustloff and its sinking. As soon as I finished this book, I started Googling to find out more!
I loved this book so much that the next book I picked up (which I did end up enjoying) I felt resentful towards at first, because it wasn’t Salt to the Sea, and I still wanted to be in that story!
From what I can tell, the book is faithfully historically accurate. In the research I did after reading, much of what I saw was included in the book. But it was woven in to the story in such a gripping way that it seemed like it was effortlessly part of the story, rather than trying to cram facts in to make them fit. It is really beautifully done.
The setting is absolutely integral to the story, given the time that these events took place. The characters are believable, and you find yourself rooting for them (well, most of them, anyway). The social issues of the time are incredibly relevant to the story, especially the racism and genocide.
This book is such a moving portrayal of events in our history that many people know nothing about. Since finishing the book, I have asked a number of people if they have heard of the Wilhelm Gustloff, and none have (and then I rave on and on about this book!). I would highly recommend this book – certainly to anyone who likes historical fiction, but also to anyone who likes a gripping, imaginative, heart-wrenching tale.