Book review: Cilka's Journey by Heather Morris

 Well hello to you my reader chums! Historical fiction-based books are one of my favourite as I love learning more about history, especially during wartime. I really enjoyed The Tattooist of Auschwitz, The Librarian of Auschwitz, and The Twins of Auschwitz that I couldn't wait to read Cilka's Journey as I've heard so many good things about the novel.

If you're looking for a new read and love learning more history, here is my full book review of Cilka's Journey.

Cilka's Journey by Heather Morris

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Plotline

Cilka's Journey is a fiction based on the heartbreaking true story of Cilka Klein who was taken to Auschwitz-Birkenau Concentration Camp at only 16 years old. When in the camp, Cilka catches the attention of Commandant Schwarzhuber and forces her separation from the other woman prisoners. From there, she really learns how power means survival and that she has to do anything she can to survive.

After the liberation of the camp, Cilka is then charged as a collaborator of the Russians and is sent to a labour and brutal prison camp in Siberia. An innocent and young woman who has been imprisoned once again, Cilka faces terribly familiar challenges and some scarily new ones as she figures out how to survive once more. But, when she meets a man called Aleksandr, she realises that there may be room for love in her heart.

Characters and relationships

Characters make up a story and in this book, it's the people which make it so heartbreaking, powerful, and emotional. Cilka is one of the most incredible people I've ever read about. Her strength, determination, and care for others are genuinely inspiring and even on the hardest of days, she puts others before herself. She experienced so much at a young age and somehow, she had the strength to keep going.

My favourite relationship in the book to read and learn more about is between Cilka and Josie. That's what I define as pure and true friendship. They go into the Siberian camp together, both young and scared women. Cilka takes Josie under her wing as it's Josie's first time in a camp and really cares for her, and the love and care between them grow - and it's so emotional to read.

Her connection with all the other girls in her hut makes my heart break, as really, they only have each other to get through each day and I really felt the devastation and heartbreak through the words in this book, I couldn't even imagine what they went through. Another relationship that I adore is between Cilka and Yelena, the doctor at the hospital. Cilka manages to get a job as a nurse in the hospital and Yelena looks out for Cilka from day one, despite her prisoner status as she sees the strength in her eyes and how she is a golden soul.

The relationship between Cilka and Aleksandr is one of the most hopeful things to read about and something that genuinely pulled at every one of my heartstrings.

Overall thoughts

Overall, I absolutely loved this book. It's one of the most heartbreaking, inspiring, and uplifting books I've ever read and tells a tale of the determination, strength, and courage of the young woman Cilka. As every page went on, it got even harder to read as I learnt more about how poorly the people in the camps were treated, in Auschwitz and in the Siberian camp. I cried a few times reading this book as I was honestly disgusted how badly Cilka, her friends, and everyone was treated during this period. I know from reading and learning about the camps, but it never does hit any differently, especially when reading about ordeals women went through in particular.

It's a brilliant read for education, for awareness and to learn more about an inspiring individual. I love how the book literally took us on the journey with Cilka and has the attitude there is always hope, as it's the only thing that gets Cilka through.

Ending

The ending was everything it should have been, full of hope and positivity. It made me smile as I came to the end of Cilka's journey as after all the hardship she went through, there was a light at the end of the tunnel. I also love how the author had a couple of sections when the story ended, sharing her process of researching and learning about Cilka's journey before writing it.

If you're looking to buy this book, you can pick up Cilka's Journey here.

I hope you enjoyed this review! Have you read this book before?

Thank you for reading <3

41 comments

  1. Great review, I loved this book too and the tattooist of Auschwitz

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  2. Cilka's Journey is an amazing book! I've read it twice already, along with the first one.

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  3. This sounds like a powerfully evocative book about something truly heartbreaking but as you reviewed, with much hope too. I think I should read this book -- thank you for sharing!

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  4. This book has been on my reading list for a while now. I need to read it. Thank you for sharing this review.

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  5. This book sounds amazing. I really struggle to read/watch things about Auschwitz as it's just a devastating moment in history. All those poor people :(

    Corinne x
    www.skinnedcartree.com

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  6. This sounds so emotionally powerful. I'd love to read it!x \


    mia // https://beautiful-inspiring-creative-life.com/

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  7. This sounds wonderful - especially the friendship between the two young women Josie and Cilka, in such difficult circumstances. Thank you for sharing this review!

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  8. Oooh this sounds like a wonderful book sweetheart, definitely going to check this out! I have so many on my TBR list atm!

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  9. This sounds like a very powerful read. I did no expect you to say the ending it positive because of the harrowing plot. Not my cup of tea genre-wise but very nice review x

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  10. This sounds like such a powerful book that will really educate readers as well! Great review :)

    https://www.femaleoriginal.com

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  11. Great review! This sounds like such an inspiring and interesting book! I love the sound of the friendships! Thank you for sharing this book!

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  12. I like when the book put good names that makes the book more attractive. This seem interesting book to read!

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  13. Oo, this book sounds wrenching and the kind of story to illicit a tear or two from me. It is the kind of wrenching I am open to, though, and I love that the story is grounded in reality and told so powerfully.
    Thanks for sharing an important read!

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  14. I'm so glad the characters in this story make it what it is, as I love characters in books :) thanks for sharing, I've never heard of this one so I'll have to try it out x

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  15. I'm so glad this story was so layered but also that it ended the way you wanted it to. It makes me more inclined to read it myself, I can't face something too heartbreaking right now

    Rosie

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  16. Great review, I haven’t read this one or Tattooist but I’ve heard great things about them both. My mum really enjoys them and we have very similar taste in books, so I’m guessing I will too!

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  17. We haven't heard of this book, but we enjoyed the Tattooist. We'll have to give it a try.

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  18. Hey Della, this sounds like an incredible book, thank you for a great review. I've not really read much war books but this sounds like a great book, thank you for sharing! Alicia

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  19. This book is on my reading list! I knew I wanted to read it as The Tattooist of Auschwitz was so good. But I do like to read reviews and know that books are a good read before I buy!

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  20. This is a great review. This book sounds really interesting and sad.

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  21. I have never heard of this book but you totally had me with this review! It sounds like a must read! x

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  22. Aw, this book sounds lovely! I love that little part where the main character finds room in her heart for love. xx

    Lynn | https://www.lynnmumbingmejia.com

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