ARC Review: The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris

The Tattooist of Auschwitz is based on the true story of Lale and Gita Sokolov, two Slovakian Jews who survived Auschwitz and eventually made their home in Australia. In that terrible place, Lale was given the job of tattooing the prisoners marked for survival - literally scratching numbers into his fellow victims' arms in indelible ink to create what would become one of the most potent symbols of the Holocaust. Lale used the infinitesimal freedom of movement that this position awarded him to exchange jewels and money taken from murdered Jews for food to keep others alive. If he had been caught, he would have been killed; many owed him their survival.

There have been many books about the Holocaust - and there will be many more. What makes this one so memorable is Lale Sokolov's incredible zest for life. He understood exactly what was in store for him and his fellow prisoners, and he was determined to survive - not just to survive but to leave the camp with his dignity and integrity intact, to live his life to the full. Terrible though this story is, it is also a story of hope and of courage. It is also - almost unbelievably - a love story. Waiting in line to be tattooed, terrified and shaking, was a young girl. For Lale - a dandy, a jack-the-lad, a bit of a chancer - it was love at first sight, and he determined not only to survive himself but to ensure that Gita did, too. His story - their story - will make you weep, but you will also find it uplifting. It shows the very best of humanity in the very worst of circumstances.

Like many survivors, Lale and Gita told few people their story after the war. They eventually made their way to Australia, where they raised a son and had a successful life. But when Gita died, Lale felt he could no longer carry the burden of their past alone. He chose to tell his story.

1946: Slovakia – Honeymoon

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UK Release - January 11th
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US Release - September 4th
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**ARC provided by publisher in exchange for an honest review**

I don't read a lot of historical (romance) books that are set in the WW2, because I am just a too emotional person and the stories are 100% of the time so heartbreaking. However, sometimes the stories are calling me to read them and not forget what happened to millions of peoples back then. After reading the blurb of The Tattooist of Auschwitz and learned that it was based on the true story of Lale and Gita Sokolov, two Slovakian Jews who survived Auschwitz, I knew I wanted to know their story. Unfortunately, it didn't meet my expectations. I was expecting a very passionate and somewhat epic love story, but in my opinion the story was too short and rushed for me to feel this. So much was packed into the last 10% of the book that it just didn't do justice to Lale and Gita's love. These two go through such horrific things and find good in a place that is so evil. They were meant to be together, and I am really happy that Heather could write this book so that others can read about their journey. 

The author doesn't go into depth in regards to the war. It is really focused on two characters and what they go through in Auschwitz. However, I think there was so much more to tell about how their relationship developed. That was just a major thing that I was missing from the story. I wanted more. I needed to know more. Especially Gita was a mystery to me, but Lale is the one who told the story so we don't know what was going on inside Gita's mind. I am still glad that there were a couple of scenes told from her POV. Regardless of my rating, I still recommend people to read this book. Because besides the love story there is also story of hope, friendship, and not giving up. I am very happy that Lale and Gita survived, otherwise this book would've been even more difficult for me to read.

Lale & Gita's last photo together.

Afbeeldingsresultaat voor about the author

"I am a Native of New Zealand now resident in Australia, working in a large public hospital in Melbourne. For several years I studied and wrote screenplays, one of which was optioned by an academy award winning Screenwriter in the U.S. In 2003, I was introduced to an elderly gentleman "who might just have a story worth telling". The day I met Lale Sokolov changed my life, as our friendship grew and he embarked on a journey of self scrutiny, entrusting the inner most details of his life during the Holocaust. I originally wrote Lale's story as a screenplay - which ranked high in international competitions - before reshaping it into my debut novel, The Tattooist of Auschwitz."

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