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.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
Even in our darkest hours, we can find ways to care for each other and survive. That was Heather Morris’ message in her bestseller, The Tattooist of Auschwitz, and it’s reinforced in the series’ second book. After being sexually abused during her stay in the infamous concentration camp, Cilka Klein goes from one hell to another when she’s named a collaborator and sentenced to one of Stalin’s gulags near the Arctic Circle. Based on a true story, Morris takes what’s known about Cilka’s life and makes it the center of a tale about friendship among women in captivity, and how that bond helps them rise above hardship and brutality. Morris pulls no punches in Cilka’s Journey, making it a powerful testament to how human connection and kindness persist even in the cruelest circumstances.
In the stirring follow-up to The Tattooist of Auschwitz, Morris tells the story of a woman who survives Auschwitz, only to find herself locked away again. Cilka Klein is 18 years old when Auschwitz-Birkenau is liberated by Soviet soldiers. But Cilka is one of the many women who is sentenced to a labor camp on charges of having helped the Nazis with no consideration of the circumstances Cilka and women like her found themselves in as they struggled to survive. Once at the Vorkuta gulag in Sibera, where she is to serve her 15-year sentence, Cilka uses her wits, charm, and beauty to secure an opportunity tending to the sick and malnourished within the camp. Morris weaves a fast-paced story that captures the immediacy of Cilka's duties caring for prisoners while appeasing guards at every step, but the brisk speed often papers over a lack of emotional depth and character development. Cilka and those around her respond with a positivity that feels unnatural. Even so, Morris's propulsive tale shows the goodness that can be found even inside the gulag.
Customer ReviewsSee All
Dear Editors. She’s Australian, on one page they use kilometers to the Arctic Circle then in the later half say miles to the Arctic Circle. Did anyone read this book for editing? Then there’s the underlying issue of just general writing where it feels unnecessary lacking in situational knowledge. Like... You see nursing and emergency response this way?
A great read!
What a great read! I couldn’t tear myself away once I began reading. Heather Morris does a wonderful job of really connecting the reader to Cilka and bringing us all along on her journey through such a heartbreaking time in our history. Although it’s not a necessity to read The Tattoist of Auschwitz before Cilka’s story, what a wonderful feeling it was to have snippets of their journey sprinkled in throughout the book from a new prospective. I highly recommend Cilka’s Journey to anyone who finds themselves yearning to read about the survivors of such a powerful period in history.