Shining a light on a little-known aspect of the Holocaust, Lucy Adlington weaves an unforgettable story of strength, survival, and a friendship that can endure anything.
Three weeks after being detained on her way home from school, fourteen-year-old Ella finds herself in the Upper Tailoring Studio, a sewing workshop inside a Nazi concentration camp. There, two dozen skeletal women toil over stolen sewing machines. They are the seamstresses of Birchwood, stitching couture dresses for a perilous client list: wives of the camp’s Nazi overseers and the female SS officers who make prisoners’ lives miserable. It is a workshop where stylish designs or careless stitches can mean life or death. And it is where Ella meets Rose. As thoughtful and resilient as the dressmakers themselves, Rose and Ella’s story is one of courage, desperation, and hope — hope as delicate and as strong as silk, as vibrant as a red ribbon in a sea of gray.
|Product dimensions:||5.88(w) x 8.50(h) x 1.06(d)|
|Age Range:||12 - 17 Years|
About the Author
Lucy Adlington is a fashion historian, collector of vintage and antique clothing, and the author of historical young adult fiction and social history nonfiction. She lives on a farm in the north of England.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
The Red Ribbon is about the story of Ella, a quite determined and tough almost sixteen-year-old girl who grew up with her grandparents because her mom was working in a factory. Her grandma is a seamstress and Ella inherited her talent from her. She dreams of becoming the best seamstress and to own a boutique someday. While on her way home from school, she was suddenly taken and shipped to Birchwood, more commonly known as Auschwitz-Birkenau, as a prisoner because she's a Jew. Barrack blocks in the camp were long, long and miserable buildings. Thousands of prisoners were sent to the camp, stripping them the clothes they are wearing, and of the other belongings that they carry. They were given one pinstripe clothing, headscarf for women and cap for me, and discarded shoes from a pile. Moreover, all prisoners were obliged to work or else, they will be sent to the chimneys, also prominently known as the gas chambers. The sick or those who have contagious illness were sent to the hospital, which is another dead-end for the prisoners because those who enter or sent to it never return. The commandant's wife set up a tailoring shop in the camp where families of the German officials and guards could order whatever kind of clothes they want. The shop was run by another Jewish prisoner named Martha who teaches Ella surreptitiously on how to survive in the camp, by trying to act tough and seize every opportunity possible. Another girl in the story is Rose/Rosalind and became Ella's friend in the camp. She was imprisoned because she's considered as a political enemy because her mother is a writer and she writes against the Nazi Germans. Rose also claims that she used to live in a palace and that she was a countess. Rose love to tell stories about fables, legends, fairies, and other make-believe tales. She started in the ironing job but later she did embroideries because Ella insists that she must and because she has the talent. The narrative is divided into six chapters and the name of the titles are colors, which are all significant to Ella's stay during and after the camp imprisonment. The first color is green which is the first dress that Ella sew for Martha's challenge on who should be chosen to stay. Yellow is next, which is the color of the dress that Ella sew for Carla, a women's guard and one of the shop's usual customer. Red is the third and it is the color of the ribbon that Rose gave to Ella as a symbol of hope to them. Fourth is gray because Ella and Rose's life turns into gray when they were kicked out from the tailoring shop because of how Ella defied Carla by wearing the red ribbon. White is the fifth because it is the time when the war is starting to end and freedom for everyone, especially for the camps' prisoners. Lastly, pink because it is the color of liberation dress that Ella sew. Red Ribbon is another great historical fiction that is intended for teens and young adults. Although the narrative of the suffering of Ella, Rose and the other prisoners is not that gruesome, it is still a reminder that even kids were not saved from the suffering inflicted during the Holocaust. The happy ending to the story of Ella and Rose in the book is sort of a beacon of hope that all bad things will come to an end. basakaintulog.wordpress.com | basakaintulog.blogspot.com
First of all, thank you to the publisher and Netgalley for giving me an advanced copy! The Red Ribbon follows 14-year-old Ella as she gets a job as a seamstress in Auschwitz and does her best to survive. The writing was gorgeous and surprisingly hopeful, written in a way that pulled me through the entire book in one sitting and (somehow) managed to be grave, lovely, heartbreaking, and even joyful all at once. The dynamic between Ella and her friend Rose reminded me so much of the true story of Corrie Ten Boom and her sister in the true story The Hiding Place (though there's hints that Ella and Rose's relationship isn't entirely sisterly). Ella is sharp, cynical, and honest, while Rose is optimistic, hopeful, and selfless. It made for a wonderful core to the story. In fact, though set in the holocaust, it was the universal themes of relationships that really carried the story. Who is your friend, and who is your enemy? And what do you do when everyone seems to cross back and forth over that line, sometimes unpredictably? I loved the moral grayness of the characters--especially Marta and Carla--and the contradictions each embodied. No one was really good (except maybe Rose), and no one was wholly evil. It was a slightly unusual, intriguing portrayal. I would definitely recommend this for readers who want to learn about a different view of the holocaust, and for readers who perhaps aren't ready for the weightiness of firsthand narratives like Night or even The Hiding Place. The lens of Ella's eyes felt like a safe one, even though it was hard, and I could see this being a good introduction to more intense study of this period of history.