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Book Review: Cilka’s Journey by Heather Morris

I have had such a fantastic weekend with my book friend Mckenna from The Lady’s Crime blog. We did everything bookish in London! I hope to get up a post about what exactly we got up to – so stay tuned. Meanwhile, this is going to be a mini review of Cilka’s Journey – it is out TODAY!

Cilka’s Journey by Heather Morris

Genre: Historical Fiction

BUG Rating: 3.5/5

Overall: I absolutely loved the story of The Tattooist of Auschwitz, but the writing let it down for me. So when Morris announced a sequel Cilka’s Journey, I knew I had to try it. This time, Morris’ writing was totally on point and I LOVED it, but the story wasn’t as compelling for me. I felt it had so much potential but fell a bit short. I don’t want to say too much on the plot other than this is Cilka’s journey post liberation from Auschwitz and condemnation to a Siberian Prison camp for sleeping with the enemy. It’s the story of hope amongst despair. It’s about loss, survival, friendship, and of course love. I connected with Cilka and the other girls portrayed in this book. Morris did a great job at character development – I loved the parallel timelines from days in Auschwitz. It really enabled the reader to get to know Cilka much better without having to lose too much of the present day story. I teared up in many parts, it was obviously quite an emotional read. I really enjoyed Cilka’s Journey, but I didn’t quite love it.

Another number. Cilka subconsciously rubs her left arm; hidden under her clothing is her identity from that other place. How many times can one person be reduced, erased?

Plot:

In 1942 Cilka Klein is just sixteen years old when she is taken to Auschwitz-Birkenau Concentration Camp. The Commandant at Birkenau, Schwarzhuber, notices her long beautiful hair, and forces her separation from the other women prisoners. Cilka learns quickly that power, even unwillingly given, equals survival.

After liberation, Cilka is charged as a collaborator by the Russians and sent to a desolate, brutal prison camp in Siberia known as Vorkuta, inside the Arctic Circle. 

Innocent, imprisoned once again, Cilka faces challenges both new and horribly familiar, each day a battle for survival. Cilka befriends a woman doctor, and learns to nurse the ill in the camp, struggling to care for them under unimaginable conditions. And when she tends to a man called Alexandr, Cilka finds that despite everything, there is room in her heart for love.


Pros:

+ I absolutely loved the epilogue and afternote – I found these really emotional and compelling!

+ The premise for the story.

+ Emotional, heart wrenching – tissues at the ready.

Cons:

– The story was missing something, I didn’t find it quite as compelling as The Tattooist of Auschwitz.

– Repetition during her nursing days, it began to feel a bit mundane and the story not going anywhere.

I received a free advanced copy of this book from Zaffre in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review. All opinions are my own. 

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