The Last Daughter of Prussia
Marina Gottlieb Sarles
Hi and welcome back again! I am waiting for the sun to come out here. It looks gray outside. Today’s book is The Last Daughter of Prussia. I received this book free from the people at Goodreads in a giveaway. It was just released in April 2013. This book is a great historical fiction book. What makes this different from many of the holocaust books is that it is told from the German citizen’s point of view. It is based on the lives of the author’s maternal grandparents during World War II in Prussia.
This is a powerful and moving story of a young woman called Manya and her family. Manya is 20 years old at the start of the book, but she is very mature for her years. She is very independent and wise. This book reminded me a little of I Kiss Your Hands Many Times. The Prussian citizens, like the Austrian-Hungarians, thought that the Russians were going to be their saviors. When the Russians invaded they raped the women and children and ran off with all the food and valuables that they could carry. Beware there are some horrible events in the book when the Russians invade Prussia and some disturbing events occur in the concentration camp that Joshi, Manya’s friend is sent to. Some of the descriptions of these events are on the raw side. The language used reflects an ugliness of the atrocities against humanity. I have a couple of graphic images from this book that are still with me a week later.
Joshi is a Gypsy. His mother is friends with Manya’s mother. He is sent to a concentration camp, Stutthof. He is condemned for his Romani ways that he is constantly battling against as an educated doctor. Lillian is a Jewish woman who finds her way to Manya’s horse farm and joins Manya and her family’s trek out of Prussia with the infamous Trakehner horses. These aren’t just any horses. they are the pride and joy of Prussia. This journey was “The Great Trek”. It was a mass evacuation of East Prussia in which almost a half million people were lost. Joshi and Manya’s tale is one of heartbreaking events. It is incredible that they survive to tell about it. I felt that I knew the characters by the end of the book. Manya was one strong woman, physically and emotionally. It is amazing that they were able to find people willing to risk their lives along the way to help them.
I give this book 4/5 stars. It was easy to read and understand. Not too many politics, only what was necessary. There was a subtle love story that was rocky, but enduring in the end. I read this book in three days. The book included a map, yeah! I am terrible at geography. I liked the short chapters and the story moved quickly along. This is a great book for anyone that likes strong female characters or World War II history.
For the author’s Webpage with exclusive photos go here: http://www.marinagottliebsarles.com/2011/08/excerpt-last-daughter-of-prussia.html
- History of Prussia (bills0510.wordpress.com)
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