Cilka's Journey

Cilka's Journey

by Heather Morris


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From the author of the multi-million copy bestseller The Tattooist of Auschwitz comes a new novel based on a riveting true story of love and resilience.

Her beauty saved her — and condemned her.


 Cilka is just sixteen years old when she is taken to Auschwitz-Birkenau Concentration Camp in 1942, where the commandant immediately notices how beautiful she is. Forcibly separated from the other women prisoners, Cilka learns quickly that power, even unwillingly taken, equals survival.

When the war is over and the camp is liberated, freedom is not granted to Cilka: She is charged as a collaborator for sleeping with the enemy and sent to a Siberian prison camp. But did she really have a choice? And where do the lines of morality lie for Cilka, who was send to Auschwitz when she was still a child?

In Siberia, Cilka faces challenges both new and horribly familiar, including the unwanted attention of the guards. But when she meets a kind female doctor, Cilka is taken under her wing and begins to tend to the ill in the camp, struggling to care for them under brutal conditions.

Confronting death and terror daily, Cilka discovers a strength she never knew she had. And when she begins to tentatively form bonds and relationships in this harsh, new reality, Cilka finds that despite everything that has happened to her, there is room in her heart for love.

From child to woman, from woman to healer, Cilka's journey illuminates the resilience of the human spirit—and the will we have to survive.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781250265708
Publisher: St. Martin''s Publishing Group
Publication date: 10/01/2019
Pages: 352
Sales rank: 41
Product dimensions: 6.20(w) x 9.20(h) x 1.50(d)

About the Author

HEATHER MORRIS is a native of New Zealand, now resident in Australia. For several years, while working in a large public hospital in Melbourne, she studied and wrote screenplays, one of which was optioned by an Academy Award-winning screenwriter in the US. In 2003, Heather was introduced to an elderly gentleman who ‘might just have a story worth telling’. The day she met Lale Sokolov changed both their lives. Their friendship grew and Lale embarked on a journey of self-scrutiny, entrusting the innermost details of his life during the Holocaust to her. Heather originally wrote Lale’s story as a screenplay – which ranked high in international competitions – before reshaping it into her debut novel, The Tattooist of Auschwitz.

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Cilka's Journey 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 120 reviews.
cloggiedownunder 12 days ago
4.5★s “What you are doing, Cilka, is the only form of resistance you have – staying alive. You are the bravest person I have ever known, I hope you know that.” Cilka’s Journey is the second novel by Australian author, Heather Morris and is a sequel to The Tattooist of Auschwitz, featuring one of the secondary characters from that story, Cecelia Klein (Cilka). When Russian soldiers liberated Birkenau in January of 1945, Cilka hardly dared believe her ordeal was over. And it seemed that it wasn't. The Russian agency overseeing the camp quoted from a report on Cilka stating that she collaborated with the Nazis (a position of privilege in a concentration camp, double-edged sword that it is, is bound to engender resentment). For this, she was found to be an enemy of the Russian state and a spy, and was sentenced to fifteen years’ hard labour, to be served at Vorkuta Gulag in northern Siberia. Even though she had already experienced much of what the were being subjected to, it seemed, at first, that each new day brought some fresh hell. Wary of doing anything that might set her apart as in Birkenau, Cilka hesitated when a doctor at the short-staffed hospital, impressed by her languages and her speed of learning, encouraged her to train there as a nurse. When she reluctantly agreed, she made sure to share any advantage her position gave her with the women in her hut. While Morris never got to interview Cilka the way she did Lale for the Tattooist of Auschwitz, her research is clearly extensive, and she explains in her notes that the story is fiction built on the bones of fact. War, like any adversity, brings out the worst and the best in people. Thus we see that these women, as prisoners of war and as political prisoners, are subjected to deprivation, cruelty and abuse; we also see that some go out of their way to show kindness and care to others. Morris touches on the murky subject of collaborators (and the stigma attached thereto) if indeed the behaviour of a sixteen year old Jewish girl in a concentration camp, in fear of her life, who is put into an unsolicited position of authority and has to endure regular sexual assault by German officers, could be ever be deemed, as Cilka’s was by the Russians, as collaboration. Could any of us say how we might act, put in the same position? What is clear is that Cilka was resilient and very courageous. A moving and thought-provoking read. This unbiased review is from an uncorrected proof copy provided by NetGalley and St Martin’s Press and Echo Publishing
paigereadsthepage 13 days ago
Having survived being the enslaved mistress of a powerful Nazi leader at Auschwitz, the story begins with Cilka charged as a collaborator, loaded on a train with other women, and taken to the now-notorious Vorkuta Gulag in 1945. After arriving at the work camp, her and the other women in her “hut” battle for trust, hope, and forgiveness. She finds herself, yet again, in a position where survival trumps ethics. Cilka grasps for a greater purpose after leaving behind her dark past and quickly finds herself in a position to work within the confines of the Gulag hospital. She struggles to justify some of the hospital policies but also questions her own intentions. Having discerned hope as only a barren illusion, Cilka takes the reader on a haunting and remarkable journey. Cilka’s account specifically centers around the treatment of women in a Soviet Gulag. The brutality, rape, and undernourishment are intense but are an essential part of the gulag experience for the women who were imprisoned there. Vorkuta Gulag resonated in maltreatment and violence, and the details are richly accounted for in this novel. Although this is the second novel for The Tattooist of Auschwitz, it easily works as a standalone. The author provides the background about what happened to Cilka very early on. Throughout the novel, flashbacks spanning from 1939-1945 give additional information about Cilka that was not included in the first novel, and each flashback is beautifully coated in irony. The location and date are noted above the flashbacks and each flashback is indicated by a page break and written in italics. A must read because not enough is written about the Gulags! I could not put this one down. The notes from Heather Morris at the end are a must. But do not read them before because they contain spoilers. HIGHLY RECOMMEND to fans of The Tattooist of Auschwitz and historical fiction. This one is much darker than The Tattooist, but equally critical and a story that needs to be heard. Many thanks to St. Martin's Press, Heather Morris, and NetGalley for this advanced copy in exchange for my honest review.
BrittanyS less than 1 minute ago
I did not read 'The Tattooist of Auschwitz' and can not compare or connect the two books. I don't feel like I needed to have read the other book to understand this one. This book is called Cilka's Journey and that's exactly what is portrayed- it's a telling of her journey. There is no major plotline, mission, or problem to solve other than recounting the years that Cilka spent in a Russian gulag for her 'crimes.' It is not for the faint of heart. The hardships she endures include rape and violence. It is hard to read, and yet, it is important, whether the author took liberties with Cilka's life or not. I, for one, had not heard of these gulags and was enlightened to millions of lives lost under Stalin's authority, and the kind of inhuman treatment he ordered/allowed. But Cilka's resilience is inspiring. I don't like giving a three star rating to a book about such tender matters, and it is not given for the story. It's probably just because I've read so many books like this recently that this one just didn't rise above those. The book description indicates there is an aspect of love story, but that doesn't really get started until 80% into the book. It's very much a description of day to day life over the course of her 8 years at the prison. It feels wrong to say that I was bored, but in all honesty, that's what I felt. I typically prefer books that have more of a plot. I'm not sure I'll read The Tattooist of Auschwitz at this point. But if you liked that one, then I'm guessing this one is right up your alley!
Alfoster 2 hours ago
Who could not love this novel? I was worried as I had not read the first one, but there was plenty of background given so I didn't feel like I missed anything. And as always, books about this time period just blow me away as I had friends when we visited my grandparents in Indiana (I was probably 8 or so) whose own parents had survived the Holocaust. Of course I didn't understand it then, but I figured something was strange when I saw the ink on their wrists and my girlfriends had to study Hebrew and couldn't see me on the weekend. Now as an adult, I am shocked and so saddened to realize what their lives were like. So Cilka's "journey" was both heartbreaking and heartwarming as we see her resilience and hope in undergoing and overcoming the horrors that plagued that era. Get the tissues ready! Thanks to NetGalley for the ARC!
LibMom 3 hours ago
Cilka's Journey by Heather Morris follows a young woman who literally goes from one hellish experience directly to another. In brief, Cilka, a young Jewish woman, survived the horrors of Auschwitz only to find herself in the Soviet Gulag prison camps in Siberia. However, she is a survivor and endures all of the mistreatment that is endemic to both camps. As the camps were horrific, hard places, the story is hard. Morris does not sugarcoat these experiences. The language is at times coarse and the book does not hide the frequent instances of rape the women of the hut endure nightly. These items are necessary in order for the reader to fully grip how difficult Cilka's life was. Cilka's Story is the sequel to The Tattooist of Auschwitz. I have not yet read the earlier book (although I certainly intend to!) but found I was easily able to jump into the story. Author Heather Morris provides enough background for those who are meeting Cilka for the first time as well as sufficient connections to the earlier book to tie them together. An amazing aspect of this book is that it is based on a true story. Morris provides information on the research she did concerning the real-life Cilka and a brief synopsis of her life after the book. Knowing that this wasn't just fiction but real makes this story even more memorable. Readers who enjoy World War II fiction or other historical fiction will enjoy this book. Disclosure of Material Connection: I received Cilka's Journey via NetGalley.. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.
Shoeguru 7 hours ago
When Cilka is transferred from a concentration camp to a Siberian work camp, she is only 16 years old and has already went through things that any person would struggle to deal with. She is assigned to a hut and builds a family from the women that she is surrounded by. She feels like she must hide her past from these women since she was kept by the enemy at her past camp and feels that they will hate her because of it. Despite all odds being against her, she is able to rise up with the help of a Dr that she becomes close to and learns to provide nursing care for many different populations and facets. She is initially trained on the ward and then moves onto obstetrics, surgery, and running the ambulance. The sheer strength of Cilka is astounding and I love that this is based on a true story.
rlhendrick 10 hours ago
This is a follow up to the The Tattooist of Auschwitz involving the character Cilka, based on a real person. Although I hadn't read the previous book, I will definitely read it now although it is not necessary as this book stands alone. Cilka was a survivor of Auschwitz when she was 16. She stayed alive by being the "mistress" of a Nazi commandant. She does whatever she has to to stay alive and survive. After the camp is liberated, she is convicted of collaboration with the Nazis and is sentenced to 15 years in a Siberian prison camp. She has to learn again how to stay alive and try to carve out a life for herself. She becomes a nurse at the camp and meets people who will change her life forever. This is an excellent book and I found myself cheering for Cilka one minute and crying for her another. Please read the author's note and Afterword that is included at the end of the book. It has a wealth of information about Cilka and her life after the prison camp and the history of the prison camps. I can not recommend this book highly enough.
BonMaimeo 1 days ago
The horrific conditions people underwent at both the concentration camps and gulags has me feeling overwhelmed and sad. Those that survived are heroes in my eyes. To find ways to survive by finding jobs that keeps them one step away from dying makes them courageous and strong in my opinion. I thought the author did a great job at giving us a look at life in the camps or gulags. It's definitely an emotional read. This book is based on a true story and the information about some of the individuals in the back of the book gave me more appreciation for their life.
Caroldaz 1 days ago
This was a beautiful and inspiring story, based on fact. Cilka, at the young age of 16, in 1942, was sent to a concentration camp. She was beautiful and noticed by the higher authority. She survived by doing whatever she had to do because it also gave her a chance to help the other women in the camp. After the end of the war, she was not freed as she was accused of being a collaborator with the enemy and was sent to serve 15 years hard labor. Cilka proved to be selfless, always looking to serve others who were suffering. She gave up many chances to be better off in order to make things better for someone else. I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
Anonymous 1 days ago
What happens when you write a story of what happens after Auschwitz? As we all know or are familiar with, WWII was a horrendous time in history that everyone should know and read about. History does NOT need to repeat itself and what better way than to read and familiarize ourselves with history. Unfortunately, not a lot has been written about what happened to some of the prisoners After. And in Cilka's case, her fight against evil wasn't over. She was sent to a Soviet Gulag. A working camp. After staying alive through Auschwitz (which was a war in itself). Still a prisoner, but she had to work long hours under horrific conditions. Her fight was to stay alive. That was how she was going to win. This time in history has always held a special interest to me. To see the fight in these women and men and love they had for their fellow prisoners absolutely astounds me. While they were taken away from everything they knew, they still fought in their own way. And there was no wrong way in these people's case. I read this book before The Tattooist of Auschwitz and feel it's 100% a standalone. I'm sure reading The Tattooist will only enhance your experience of this book, but it's not needed. We get enough background of Cilka's past that we get to understand where she came from and what she went through. And it's not pretty. But she is one to survive and love and be selfless in a time when she needed to only really worry about herself. You will feel for her and her bunkmates. Even when you shouldn't. You will understand their actions. The characters come alive right off the page and I could feel the light and the darkness and cold right along with them. And it wasn't pretty. It literally chills you to the bone when you read about their experiences. This story was mostly true, but there are some part Ms Morris had to take liberties with making this a historical fiction. If you read the afterword and the author's notes, I have a feeling this book will hit you that much harder. Just don't read it before you read the actual book. There will be lots of spoilers. A wonderfully written story of love, survival, friendship and the ultimate fight. The human spirit is stronger than you can even imagine. And this story shows it. Cilka is my hero and was to many around her as well. I hope she felt and saw that in her life. 4.5 stars
DressedToRead 1 days ago
The sequel to The Tattooist of Auschwitz. This is the story of Cilka, which is based on the real life of Cecília Kováčová. She was a 16 year old character from book #1 The Tattooist of Auschwitz . She was a forced sex slave of a Nazi SS commandant. I read this one as a fictional story as I'm not sure which parts are factual. Either way, her story is gripping, compelling and utterly heartbreaking. I loved Cilka's strength and courage. Every day was a struggle with new obstacles and little hope, but her instinct for survival was strong. We follow Cilka as she is charged as a collaborator by the Russian government. She is sent to the gulags in Siberia. It was hard to read about how dire and horrific the prisoners were treated. I was invested in her story and pulling for her to make it through. A compelling historical fiction novel with a character who felt very "real" to me and one I'll remember.
ARC_Reviewer 1 days ago
This is an extraordinary book and I am privileged to have had the opportunity to review it. Cilka's Journey is the story of Cilka Klein, and is both the physical journey from her family, to Auschwitz, to the Vorkuta Gulag in Siberia and finally home to Czechoslovakia. It is also the story of the personal/emotional journey along the way losing family and friends, personal suffering and watching the suffering of others. Cilka is remarkably resilient and survives both journeys but compromises herself along the way to stay alive. The book is both well written and well researched. I did not read the Tattoist of Ausschwitz before Cilka's Journey, but this book stands well on it's own. I'd have to say that when I have the time, I'll have to go back and read the Tattoist of Ausschwitz to complete the story. While reading this book, I've come to believe that historical fiction is an important part of our literature. While Cilka's is real, the name of her husband has been changed to protect the identity of his descendants, but the book tells such an important part of our world history during the 40s and 50s. I'd almost rather see the Tattoist of Ausschwitz and Cilka's Journey used in High School History rather than the dry history books that are probably used today. Many years ago I read Solzhenitsyn's work, remembering mostly Gulag Archipelago and The First Circle. Solzhenitsyn is obviously important to Russian history and Russian literature, with Gulag Archipelago overlapping in time with Cilka's Journey. Although Solzhenitsyn was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature, I will always remember Cilka's Journey more for the story it tells of developing the Communist state. Telling the story of one person tells the story of all. Morris has produced one such masterpiece. Thanks to NetGalley, St. Martins and especially the author to read and review this book.
Carolina Herdegen 1 days ago
Language: R (14 swears, 23 “f”); Mature Content: PG13; Violence: PG13 Auschwitz should have been the worst of it. Cilka should be grateful that time is behind her. But moving from one hell to another isn’t much cause to celebrate. Now in a Siberian labor camp, Cilka has to face the same choice she lives with the shame of making in Auschwitz: will she fight to live or let herself die? I hate to say that this book was beautiful and I love it because of the true cruelty of things that were done during and after WWII, but I don’t know what else to say. Morris made the tragedy and harsh realities beautiful as she shared truth and fiction of what did and could have happened in Cilka’s suffering through back-to-back injustices. Reading and knowing that the challenges faced by Cilka and those around her were real situations faced by real people made their story both harder and more necessary to read. This is a story of strength, endurance, and love. This book is only marked “optional” because of the frequent use of the f-word, otherwise I would have marked it “advisable.” The mature content rating is for frequent mentions of rape; the violence rating is for gore from fights, mining accidents, and work in a hospital.
Kelsey Bickmore 4 days ago
This was an engrossing novel! While this book may not be all true, it is based on real events and is very well written. I really enjoyed going along with Cilka as went from the Auschwitz-Birkenau to being sentenced to Vorkuta Gulag after being accused of colluding with the Nazis. Hers is a complicated story, because of her beauty Cilka is claimed by the powerful and that is how she ends up at the Gulag. Life is hard there but she is able to try and do some good when she ends up working at the prisoner hospital and also taking care of the babies that are born there. The hospital stuff was pretty fascinating and really showed Cilka's kindness and generosity. There is a lot of emotion in this story and you can see how Cilka works things out based on her previous experiences at the concentration camp. This is a really good book to go along with Heather Morris' previous novel, The Tatooist of Auschwitz.
LlamaJen 5 days ago
Loved the book but at times it was extremely difficult to read. The part that horrified me the most is that these atrocities actually happened to people. It's scary and unbelievable how people treated other people. I haven't read "The Tattooist of Auschwitz" yet, but I definitely need to. Cilka was extremely brave and strong, I'm not sure how she survived the Camp or Gulag. I'm guessing on sheer will power. She continued to want to help people. She was truly amazing. Cilka went from being controlled by the Nazis straight to the Russians. How did anyone survive in Siberia? The women in Hut 29 formed a friendship during the worst of times and always looked out for each other. This book hit me harder than most of the other historical fiction books that I have read. I just can't stop thinking about Cilka and all that she went through. My next book definitely needs to be something light and fluffy, preferably with cuddly kittens. The author's note is an added bonus. The real Cilka should be proud her story is being told. She must have been an amazing person if Lale Sokolov calls her the bravest person he ever met. Definitely recommend the book. I didn't know much about the Gulags until reading this book. I haven't been able to stop thinking about the story since I finished it. I look forward to reading more books by he author. I received a complimentary copy of this book from St. Martin's Press through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.
brf1948 6 days ago
I received a free electronic copy of this historical novel from Netgalley, Heather Morris, Bonnier Books UK, and St. Martin's Press. Thank you all for sharing your hard work with me. I have read Cilka's Journey of my own volition, and this review reflects my honest opinion of this work. I am so pleased to recommend this novel to friends and family. Heather Morris is an awesome author, bringing us indelible histories to add to our memory banks. It is only by understanding our history that we can avoid repeating it. Cilka's Journey is a hard book to absorb, as are most WWII survivor stories based on historical fact, as this is. The human spirit is unstoppable in some, and those are the people we read about. Most of us are fairly certain we are not unstoppable. Simply surviving both Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp and the Soviet Gulag at Vorkuta would be rare enough to be considered a miracle. Cilka managed to do it - with warmth and class. I was completely wrapped up in her story from beginning to end. She was a remarkable woman, and her journey is a story well told. Heather Morris shares with us in her afterward research notes and interview stories. The parts of this journey that touch your heart are based on the reality of Cilka's life. That feels good. She was a stalwart survivalist of the best kind. I can't wait to read The Tattooist of Auschwitz, and anything else Heather Morris has written.
brf1948 6 days ago
I received a free electronic copy of this historical novel from Netgalley, Heather Morris, Bonnier Books UK, and St. Martin's Press. Thank you all for sharing your hard work with me. I have read Cilka's Journey of my own volition, and this review reflects my honest opinion of this work. I am so pleased to recommend this novel to friends and family. Heather Morris is an awesome author, bringing us indelible histories to add to our memory banks. It is only by understanding our history that we can avoid repeating it. Cilka's Journey is a hard book to absorb, as are most WWII survivor stories based on historical fact, as this is. The human spirit is unstoppable in some, and those are the people we read about. Most of us are fairly certain we are not unstoppable. Simply surviving both Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp and the Soviet Gulag at Vorkuta would be rare enough to be considered a miracle. Cilka managed to do it - with warmth and class. I was completely wrapped up in her story from beginning to end. She was a remarkable woman, and her journey is a story well told. Heather Morris shares with us in her afterward research notes and interview stories. The parts of this journey that touch your heart are based on the reality of Cilka's life. That feels good. She was a stalwart survivalist of the best kind. I can't wait to read The Tattooist of Auschwitz, and anything else Heather Morris has written.
LauraMHartman 6 days ago
What would you do if your saviors became your captors? At nineteen that is what happened to Cecilia Kline. The young girl was sent to Auschwitz-Birkenau aboard one of the infamous death trains. Sixteen at the time, she found a way to survive the camp. But when that the Soviets liberated those that survived, they claimed Cecilia, known to her friends as Cilka, was an enemy of the state. Therefore, instead of freedom, Cilka is going from one imprisonment to another – Vorkuta, a Soviet Gulag. Also known as the White Hell, it was located in the Arctic Circle. She is confused and angry. Only doing what she had to for survival, she is now condemned for the life she was forcibly thrust into by the Nazis. Once again, convicted without a trial she will pay for the perceived crimes of spying, prostitution and working with the enemy. She is sentenced to 15 years hard labor for merely trying to survive the atrocities of the Nazis. Many things in her life are shattered, but not her soul. She is a survivor. In a place where prisoners rarely survived the extreme cold and backbreaking work, Cilka is befriended by Yelena, one of the doctors working for the Soviets. However, she is different from most of the other doctors. Instead of being assigned to the Gulag because of misconduct or some other offense, she is there because she chose to be there to help those that needed help in the brutal conditions. Yelena soon discovered that Cilka was smart and learned quickly. So began Cilka’s nursing career, which also gave her the knowledge and ability to help her fellow prisoners. Her life was still a living hell, but she found a way to survive. Because the characters are based upon actual people, their stories impact the readers deeply. The places are real, and bring the readers into the camps. Death and demoralization breaks the characters by chipping away at them physically and mentally until they are mere shadows of themselves. With the help of the author, they will live on in the thoughts and minds of each person that reads this powerful story. This novel is based on the real life of Cecilia Klein. Copious research has been done by the author to bring her story to life. Ms. Morris personalizes the horrors of the concentration camps as well as the Gulag. It is understood that no one can fully comprehend what happened to millions during the Holocaust, but books like Cilka’s Journey help us remember and warn us to never allow such atrocities to happen again. Cilka’s Journey is the second book I’ve read by Heather Morris. The first was The Tattooist of Auschwitz. The books can be read in either order. Since Cilka’s Journey is not released until October 1, 2019, you may want to reserve your copy now and then read The Tattooist of Auschwitz first as it is available now. DISCLOSURE OF MATERIAL CONNECTION: I have a material connection because I received a review copy for free from Bookish First in exchange for a fair and honest review. Copyright © 2019 Laura Hartman
sspea 6 days ago
We finally find out what happened to Cilka, the woman who saved Lales life. When 16 year old Cilka is taken to Auschwitz-Birkenau she knows she will have to do whatever she can to stay alive. Not ever thinking that the torturous decisions, those she was forced to make, and those made for her, would be held against her. When the concentration camp is liberated Cilkas nightmare is not over instead a new one is just beginning, charged with "sleeping with the enemy" Cilka is taken to a labor camp in Siberia. Unfortunately Cilka knows this terrain, but with this knowledge she navigates through this new hell while being the rock and savior to even more people. A harrowing story of one womans fight for justice and freedom. This book was amazing. So sad, yet to inspirational. I am so happy that Heather Morris wrote Cilkas story and that I had the opportunity to read it.
wjane 6 days ago
Cilka‘s Journey by Heather Morris is Historical Fiction based on fact. When I first started reading this book I thought when does this woman’s torture end. Will I be able to finish reading this book? My next thought was if she could endure the daily persecution by Nazi Socialists and by Soviet Socialists surely I can read about her life. What kind of people treat others in this manner and how are they given the power to do such atrocities? Gulag residents had lives of nightmares, constant fear, horror, degradation, deprivation and depravity. It is a heartbreaking story but then the story changes. A pervasive evil surrounds her but Cilka endures and more. A woman who thinks she cannot love, seems to love everyone even her enemies. It becomes a story of hope because of one person who touched and changed so many lives. I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in history because of the factual details in the story, notes and the afterword. For everyone else the portrayal of a life well lived. I received a complimentary copy of this book from Netgalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own. I appreciate the opportunity and thank the author and publisher for allowing me to read, enjoy and review this book.
KerryACroucier 7 days ago
Based on the life of a real person, CILKA’S JOURNEY is intense, horrifying, and compelling. Sent to Auschwitz-Birkenau Concentration Camp, in 1942, when she was 16, she faced unspeakable horrors as she fought for her survival. When the camp is liberated by the Russians, the horrors she endured and survived are held against her and she is sentenced to a gulag for 15 years as a conspirator. What fresh horrors await her and how can she survive more time in conditions so horrible? Cilka struggles to survive, again, while also dealing with her own guilt and shame for the part she played while in Auschwitz-Birkenau, as well as her guilt in being the only one in her family to make it out alive. While in the prison, Cilka finds her place working in the hospital, and finds friends and respect, and, finally, a bit of hope. It makes you question how any of this could have happened and marvel at the resilience of those that are subjected to such cruelty. Heather Morris has done an amazing job researching the historical details and weaving them into an account that was compelling and heartbreaking. This is a sequel to THE TATOOIST OF AUSCHWITZ, but can be read as a stand-alone novel, which is good, since this is the first novel I have read by Morris. This is one not to miss, whether or not you have read THE TATOOIST OF AUSCHWITZ. #CilkasJourney #StMartinsPress #HeatherMorris
Julia_R 7 days ago
Cilka is just 16 when she is taken to a concentration camp. She endures years of torture, immediately followed by imprisonment in a Siberian prison camp. Her strength is tested again and again. She forms friendships, but seems doomed to lose the precious ones in her life. Follow her story as she shows just how strong she can be. This was an amazing story. I actually had to wait a few days after finishing it before writing the review, because I basically wanted to retell the whole story. This is truly an unbelievable journey. I loved the book!
Babygotbooks13 7 days ago
Have you ever read a book that shook you to your core and you knew your review would never do it justice? That's how I feel about Cilka's Journey. As I tried to imagine myself living through what Cilka did, it's unimaginable. Add in the fact this is based off of a true story and you can't help the fact you'll shed tears. Cilka's Journey is about a girl who refused to let the evil in this world break her. She held on all the compliments, love, and encouragement her family gave her in the first sixteen years of her life to survive Birkenau and then the Gulag in Vorkuta. Once she was liberated she exchanged one prison for another and survived longer than I ever could have. This book is about one girl's desire to live despite all of the obstacles in her life. She found a way to create a family of her own and to love again when she though it was no longer possible. If you enjoy historical fiction, you should definitely pick this book up. You don't have to read The Tattooist of Auschwitz to understand what's going on, but it would give you a little more history of her time in the concentration camps. This is one I highly reccomend you read. Thank you to the publishers for a copy in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own and a positive review was not required.
pkce 7 days ago
I didn't want this book to end! I'm not a fast reader but I couldn't put this book down. I read it in 6 days! I can't get Cilka out of my mind. I highly recommend this book!
lkiser 7 days ago
I probably shouldn't give 5 stars to any book , but this book gets 5 because it touched me so deeply. Heather Morris has woven a beautiful story around a character who is real. I don't even know how to describe this book. It made me happy and sad, at the same time. Somehow, the story had much joy in it, even when conveying some of the worst conditions any human could endure I think that lends a certain beauty to the entire experience of reading this story. There was violence and cruelty, but somehow it wasn't as harsh and bone-jarring as I have experienced from other stories. It was depicted in a real and necessary way to convey just how horrible life (and death) was for tens of thousands of people. The story flowed well, and I was excited to get back to it any time I had a chance. Overall, it was a soothing, uplifting story, beautifully told. The characters really came to life and took me back in time to this horrible era, even though I was not even alive when this happened. Although this is not the type of book I normally read, I am sure it will stick with me for a long time. I highly recommend it for anyone looking for a deeper emotional read. You may just learn a bit of history too.