Cilka’s Journey by Heather Morris #review #historicalfiction @stmartinspress


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.


Cilka was just 16 years of age when she was sent Auschwitz-Birkenau. When the camp was liberated, Cilka was then arrested for being a collaborator. She was then sent to a Siberian gulag where she spent the next 10 years of her life.

Cilka’s life in the gulag is as to be expected. She faces starvation, freezing temperatures and unimaginable hard work. But because of a kind doctor, Cilka begins training as a nurse. This act of kindness guides Cilka to ways to help her fellow prisoners.

Cilka is one of the strongest women I have ever read about. Not only is she tough and resilient. But she is kind and she sacrifices herself to help save others many heartaches.

This book is probably the best of the year for me. I enjoyed The Tatooist of Auschwitz. But, I felt the writing in that story was a little off. You can read my review here. This tale of Cilka and her life is heart wrenching and very well written! I was completely captivated from start to finish!

This is a tale not to be missed!

I received this novel from St. Martin’s Press for a honest review.

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About fredreeca

I am an avid reader and paper crafter. I am a mom of 2 children, 5 dogs and 1 cat. I am a huge St. Louis Cardinals Fan
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