Salt to the Sea - Ruta Sepetys

Book Title:  Salt to the Sea

Author:  Ruta Sepetys

Narration:  JorJeana Marie, Will Damron, Cassandra Morris, & Michael Crouch

Series:  Stand Alone

Genre:  Historical Fiction

Source:  Audiobook (Library)



World War II is drawing to a close in East Prussia, and thousands of refugees are on a desperate trek toward freedom, almost all of them with something to hide. Among them are Joana, Emilia, and Florian, whose paths converge en route to the ship that promises salvation, the Wilhelm Gustloff. Forced by circumstance to unite, the three find their strength, courage, and trust in one another tested with each step closer toward safety.

Just when it seems freedom is within their grasp, tragedy strikes. Not country, nor culture, nor status matter as all ten thousand people aboard must fight for the same thing: survival.



  • Plot:  5/5  --Told in alternating POV’S through the eyes of four separate characters:  Emilia, Joana, Florian, and Alfred. This hauntingly told piece of historical fiction is inspired by the real-life tragedy that was the sinking of the Wilhelm Gustloff--the greatest maritime disaster in history.
  • Characters:  5/5 --These characters’ voices will haunt you and have you rooting for them to persevere.  All except for one, of course.  You’ll figure out which one early on.
  • The Feels:  5/5
  • Theme:  5/5
  • Flow:  5/5
  • Backdrop (World Building):  5/5 --Intense and illuminating.
  • Originality:  5/5
  • Book Cover:  5/5
  • Sex Factor:  None--mention of rape
  • Narration:  5/5 --I don’t usually read something like this, it’s too gut-wrenching for me…but, I’m seriously glad I did, and I’m glad I listened to audio.
  • Ending:   5/5  Cliffhanger:  No


Will I read more from this Author?  YES


I did not know of this ship and it’s sinking before reading this and it has enlightened me in a way that I will not easily forget.  Thank you, Ruta Sepetys, for writing this.  And for putting an eye-catching cover on it, that grabbed my attention and urged me to read (or listen to) it.