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Cilka's Journey From the author of the multi million copy bestseller, The Tattooist of Auschwitz, comes the new novel based on an incredible true story of love and resilience Her beauty saved her life and condemned her Cilka is just sixteen years old when she is taken to Auschwitz Birkenau Concentration Camp, in 1942 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 for sleeping with the enemy and sent to Siberia But what choice did she have And where did the lines of morality lie for Cilka, who was sent to Auschwitz when still a child In a Siberian prison camp, Cilka faces challenges both new and horribly familiar, including the unwanted attention of the guards But when she makes an impression on a woman doctor, Cilka is taken under her wing Cilka begins to tend to the ill in the camp, struggling to care for them under brutal conditions.Cilka finds endless resources within herself as she daily confronts death and faces terror And when she nurses a man called Ivan, Cilka finds that despite everything that has happened to her, there is room in her heart for love. There was such inhuman, unimaginable misery, such a terrible disaster, that it began to seem almost abstract, it would not fit with in the downs of consciousness.Cilka had two choices death or do as she was told Cilka was convicted of working with the enemy, as a prostitute and additionally as a spy She was sentenced to 15 years of hard labor There is no question of how well written, researched, captivating, brutal, devastating and emotionally GUT WRENCHING the history and storytelling is Heather Morris outdid herself This is a phenomenal novel of the HORRORS of warThe HORRORS of humanity This novel is darker and intense than her previous book The tattooist of Auschwitz There are moments of INSPIRATION.Moments of ruthless courage strength bravery with ordinary people doing incredible things to help others There is love and there is CilkaI ve almost hit my limitthe wall.with reading Holocaust stories I admit to being drainedI was also gifted with some happy news about the good people too.Cilka Klein was the good one She did what she needed to do.She made a profound difference to manyRisked her lifeSurvived this warThis novel brings memory important memory to an extraordinary woman Cilka Klein I ll remember you Thank you first and foremost author Heather Morris Thank you Netgalley and St Martins Publishing and their terrific staff who are some of the most hardworking generous people in the book world I loved The Tattooist of Auschwitz After I read the book I read that there were questions concerning the veracity of this book I did not read this as a work of nonfiction, but rather a work of fiction based on real events I certainly get that there may be inaccuracies, but the spirit of the novel worked for me A message that must be conveyed the importance of never forgetting the horrific things that happened Things that we have to be reminded of because there are so few Holocaust survivors left, because of the rise of antisemitism in the world, and because there is a lack of awareness of the Holocaust among young people There are, I m certain, many nonfiction books and documents covering the Holocaust and the Siberian Gulags , but I ve never been a big reader of nonfiction For me, and this is just my personal experience, it has been mostly Holocaust fiction that has has opened my eyes to the atrocities and has broken my heart with immensity of the loss of so many people If a work of fiction can do that, in my opinion it is worth reading It is with this view that I read Cilka s Journey and that I high recommend it I appreciate that Heather Morris tells the reader upfront that the book is a work of fiction In a note at the end, she explains what is fact and what is fiction With my defense of this book as fiction, I should add that there are memoirs that I hold in my heart and believe that everyone should read Night, The Diary of Anne Frank And Related Readings, But You Did Not Come Back to name a few.It s unimaginable that a young girl could survive the horrific Auschwitz Birkenau death camp for three years after being subjected to sexual abuse, forced to do unthinkable things in order to stay alive and then be sentenced to fifteen years in a Gulag in Siberia for aiding the enemy Heather Morris enables us to imagine these horrors and takes us to both of these places in this novel Moving back and forth between Cilka s flashbacks of Auschwitz Birkenau and her present Siberia, we are seamlessly taken from place to place, from time to time Sometimes it s a thought, a dream , or a present ugly reminder that takes Cilka and us back and forth It is difficult and uncomfortable and necessary for us to see and imagine how horrible it was I m not going to detail any of that here, but will just say that this is an important work of fiction which reflects the horrors of these times and places, but also the real emotions, the real humanity, the real love and the real resilience of people that historical fiction can convey.I received an advanced copy of this book from St Martin s Press through NetGalley and copy from Jordan Hanley at St Martin s. My reviews can also be seen at The Year is 1942 and Cilka is only sixteen years old when she is taken to Auschwitz Birkenau Concentration Camp She was a beautiful girl She was raped and sexually abused by two S.S Officers She does whatever she has to do, to stay alive and survive Then she is free from the concentration camps but then she is condemned She is charged with sleeping with the enemy and is then sent to Siberian Prison Camp for 15 years She faces challenges both new and horribly familiar, including the unwanted attention of the guards She then becomes a nurse and has a little bit of freedom She begins to tend to the ill in the camp, struggling to care for them under brutal conditions.I loved loved loved this book This is a historical novel and there are some graphic scenes that are dark This book was a lot darker than The Tattooist of Auschwitz This book can be read as a standalone It is an emotional read The S.S Officers are monsters, they kill and hurt human beings This is a terrible story but it also is a story of hope and courage Cilka is so brave I really did love this story This story is an emotional read, but I also found it uplifting at times.The Holocaust was horrific and couldn t believe all the awful things that happened in the concentration camp and the Siberian prison camp was just as bad Heather Morris really did an amazing job on the characters my favorite character was Cilia but I also loved Josie too All the characters were very well done and made this novel come alive I felt so sad for Cilka, and everything she went throughThere are some scenes that are graphic but this is the Holocaust, a horrifying time.I could not put this book down It was a page turner I loved the writing style I am really loving historical novels and because I think they are needed because we need to remember what happened so that history isn t forgotten This is an unforgettable story that will stay with me for a long time I want to thank Jordan, St Martin s Press and Heather Morris for the ARC of this book in exchange for a honest review.

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