This was a good book. I enjoyed it and was moved by it. This third book of Ruta Sepetys blew my disappointment in her second away, though I still prefer Between Shades of Gray.
Alfred is a creep. He's completely bought into the Nazi propaganda and spends time pretending to write letters to a girl he's infatuated with, and pretending that he's greater than he really is. I figured that Hannelore didn't return his feelings, but I never guessed the truth of what happened. He told the authorities that her father was Jewish, effectively killing him, and expecting Hannelore to inform the authorities that her mother was a Gentile. He was upset when the authorities took her away, and she yelled out that she was a Jew with pride. And he didn't even feel sorry. He didn't feel guilty. It's disgusting. He was brainwashed, and it wasn't completely his fault, but he was still disgusting. I do wonder what was wrong with his hands though.
Emelia was sweet and innocent, and the path that her story took was heartbreaking. That woman who she was staying with for "safety" is sick. I couldn't believe that after all she went through, once she finally had a chance for happiness, she died. I'm probably in the minority, but I did kind of want Emilia to end up with Florian. And I wanted her to get to raise her baby Polish, like she wanted, but at least her baby got a happy ending.
Florian was a good person, but some of the things he did were very bad. I don't blame him for stealing from the Nazis, but he was stealing for revenge, and I would've preferred if he was stealing because the Nazis stole it first. And then by traveling with the group he endangered all of them. While Joana and Florian had very compatible personalities and I was glad to see them together, I honestly would have liked to see him with Emilia, but I'm just weird with that because Emilia reminded him of his little sister and, despite his saving her and her having a very deep loyalty to him, she didn't seem like she viewed him in a romantic way, and to be honest, even though I would've liked to see them together, after all she went through it would have been really weird if she had had romantic feelings at that time. I was decently satisfied at the end of his story, though I would've liked to see him reunite with his sister, and I was rather annoyed that he had the letter writers bury his pack instead of returning the swan, the key and the map to the rightful owners of the Amber Room.
Joana. Oh my gosh Joana. Jessethereader talked about how much he enjoyed this book, but he didn't understand Joana's position very well because he hadn't read Between Shades of Gray yet. In Between Shades of Gray, Lina was upset because her cousin Joana hadn't said goodbye before leaving. In Salt to the Sea we found out that Joana did send a letter saying goodbye and that was the reason Lina's family was arrested. Joana feels extremely guilty about sending that letter, and, while I don't think her so responsible that she call herself a murderer, she is, none the less, partly responsible for the pain and agony Lina and her family suffered. Not intentionally, but how could she be so stupid? I'm sorry, I genuinely want to know. Lina got in trouble from her father for drawing a picture making fun of Stalin when she didn't show anyone, and Joana wrote a letter, in which she mentioned that Lina's father helped them escape. Why didn't anyone tell Joana what the consequences could be for her writing that letter. And then she says that they got word that her uncle had died. At the end of Between Shades of Gray, The doctor told Lina that sometimes people reported to be dead turn up alive later, but if Joana heard that he was dead... Well there's that hope dashed. I wish that there would have been a reunion between Lina and Joana at the end of the story. Maybe we will see then meet again in another book. Please? (This is hidden because in this book it's sort of a spoiler, which of the main characters survive.)
Besides Emilia my favorite character was the Shoe Poet, and he wasn't even a narrator. So both of my favorite characters died. Boo. :'(
Overall this was a very good book, and it made made me feel sad and pensive, but unlike Between Shades of Gray it didn't actually bring me to tears. I think that the reason for this may have been the multiple points of view, though in many ways the story would have been difficult to tell without them.