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Posts Tagged ‘The Red Ribbon’

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Description:

As fourteen-year-old Ella begins her first day at work she steps into a world of silks, seams, scissors, pins, hems and trimmings. She is a dressmaker, but this is no ordinary sewing workshop. Hers are no ordinary clients.

Ella has joined the seamstresses of Birkenau-Auschwitz, as readers may recognise it. Every dress she makes could mean the difference between life and death. And this place is all about survival.

Ella seeks refuge from this reality, and from haunting memories, in her work and in the world of fashion and fabrics. She is faced with painful decisions about how far she is prepared to go to survive. Is her love of clothes and creativity nothing more than collaboration with her captors, or is it a means of staying alive? Will she fight for herself alone, or will she trust the importance of an ever-deepening friendship with Rose?

One thing weaves through the colours of couture gowns and camp mud – a red ribbon, given to Ella as a symbol of hope.

 

My Thoughts & Review:

The moment I read the description of this book I knew I had to find out more and was delighted to be offered a review copy to read.  I have a great interest in book set during WWII, the courage and strength shown by the characters is something that I find moving and their stories are incredibly moving.

In this we meet Ella, taken from her family as she went about her day and thrown into Auschwitz work camp.  From here she stops being Ella, the Nazis strip her of her worldly goods including her treasured green sweater.  She is given a number, black and white striped clothing and has to find a bunk in an over crowded hut.  But despite this, she is determined.  Determined to do what it takes to survive, determined not let the Nazis win and crush her spirit.  At just fourteen years old she wins her first job as a seamstress in the camp’s sewing hut.  I say win because she has to prove her worth against another hopeful contender, and in places like the work camps it was a case of survival of the fittest. 

Through some incredibly detailed narrative, readers are almost able to feel the silks that Ella sews, can see the delicate embroidery done on the garments, but most powerful of all is the descriptions of the fear felt by Ella and her fellow inmates.
Whilst Ella is a strong character, she contrasts well with her new friend Rose.  Rose is gentle, and kind and has an imagination that makes your heart swell.  The stories that Rose makes up during their time in the camp are their means of distraction and a way to help them survive the atrocities they endure.  Watching Ella trying to push Rose to be less kind and more selfish was hard, but for the sake of her safety, Rose had to toughen up.

There were many instances whilst reading this that I paused, my heart breaking at what I was reading, like most takes set during this time period, they are not for the feint hearted.  There is a harsh reality that has to be faced, and whilst this is a fictional tale there are elements of truth to it and from reading other books it’s quite easy to imagine events playing out as they did in this book.  The rawness of the emotions I felt reading this are a credit to Lucy Adlington, her writing is superb and truly left me feeling so caught up in the story of Ella.

You can buy a copy of The Red Ribbon via:

Amazon UK
Wordery
Book Depository

 

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