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The Tattooist of Auschwitz

Written by: Heather Morris
Narrated by: Richard Armitage
Length: 7 hrs and 26 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (43 ratings)

Regular price: ₹1,328.00

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Publisher's Summary

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. 

©2018 Heather Morris (P)2018 Bolinda Publishing Pty Ltd

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Rivetting true life story

Another true life story of survivor of Auschwitz read with great emotion by Richard Armitage. Brings back tears to read what atrocities one human being can commit on another.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • HJ
  • 30-04-19

would rather read than listen

it is a good book, but I would rather read than listen to this one.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

everyone needs to know about this.

Summary: Unbelievably beautiful story, Simple writing, Pathetic reading.

SPOILERS HERE
Ludwig Sokolov's real life story of surviving through a concentration camp and waging rebellion against the Nazis by not only surviving but also falling in love needs to be told more widely. His story is the anathema of everything that is wrong in today's world. His story is the potion of hope that so many in the world today need. To imagine what he went through and what he ended up with just because of his unending grit and steadfast stubbornness to live is like getting a fresh lease of life.

Yet, once you read it, the simplistic writing of Heather Morris makes it difficult for you to empathize with 'Lale'. It's not a bad writing, it's pretty simple and can be consumed by everyone in the world. Yet in the quest for simplicity the depth is obliterated and you fail to appreciate the true spirit of his life. Yet, as I said, it's simple and hence I believe a lot of people can partake his journey.

But what's unforgivable is Richard Armitage's performance. It's absolutely pathetic, sorry to say. The pitch changes randomly, the voices change randomly, there is no consistency of voices-sometimes within the same dialogue. It becomes very very difficult to discern who is speaking after a point of time. And that terrible accent- I can't fathom if Richard was trying to voice a Russian or German or an English. He mixed it up all throughout.

Please read the book. Its important that you know Lake's and Geta's story. But don't go for this audible version.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Brilliant tale of survival, love, sacrifice, kindness, hope, fear, and so much more

This amazing story changes your perspective on life and makes you realise through words what it takes to survive in the most horrifying conditions humanity has been through which we cannot even begin to comprehend. A great love story in itself this story is so much more than that. A must read.

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A journey one must definitely take up

I smiled when laale met Gita
I cried every time someone was shot or poisoned or gased or burned

this book is a mix of so many beautiful emotions

it's difficult to get away once you get entangled in the lives of laale and Gita

I feel sorry for poor circa, I wish Gita could meet Dana and Ivana just one more time

I'm glad I embarked on this journey from death to life

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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A brilliant story and performance

This is just my second audio book and I was skeptical about listening to fiction. But Richard Armitage’s performance made it into a brilliant experience. While personally I’d still prefer to read a physical copy to appreciate the nuances of the written word, good performers like Richard Armitage make it a completely different experience.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

It was really an awesome experience.

Listening Novel rather than reading.
I was a bit sceptical about it in the beginning, but got a good experience in the end. ☺

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Richard Armitage is amazing!

Loved it! It's so true, it will make you laugh, and cry and feel things!

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Unforgettable Experience.

The story, brought so vividly to life by Richard Armitage, is so true to life and extraordinary. There is the horror of Auschwitz and Birkenau camps; but there is also the hope and survival and kindness. It is so life affirming.

Richard Armitage has done the narration so wonderfully well. Even though he is a native English speaker, he brought so many accents, voices, tones and emotions so wonderfully to life. It was a truly valuable experience- listening to him.

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Spellbinding Book

Anyone ever has only heard about the Nazi’s atrocities. Until you read this book and experience them due to the spellbinding narration by Richard Armitage. Thank you Heather Morris for this book. Lale will stay alive in our memories.

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  • Valentina Ancilotti
  • 04-03-18

Thank you

A moving story.... a marvellous voice to give it new life. Thanks to Ms Morris and to Richard Armitage. And to Lale and Gita.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Anna E.
  • 21-02-18

Recording Technical Issues are distracting

What disappointed you about The Tattooist of Auschwitz?

While I love hearing RCA perform in audio books (David Copperfield is the best),the quality of this recording is jarring and interrupts the flow of the story. It seems as if two or three different recording sessions were cobbled together to make the final cut, but you can hear the change in recording levels, the change in RCA's voice (one segment strong and clear, the next segment raspy and farther away from the mic). This is noticeable from one paragraph to the next, sometimes one sentence to the next. I've not noticed this issue with any other Audible book, so not sure what happened this time. But you Quality Control Dept or Recording Engineers need to listen before they release.

Who was your favorite character and why?

Lale, he did what had to be done in order to survive

What about Richard Armitage’s performance did you like?

Always love his performances, but the aforementioned technical issues were messy and made listening less enjoyable.

What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

I guess I'm inured to holocaust stories. My mom was a nurse in the 3rd Army stationed in Munich in WWII. She was one of the first groups to go into Dachau, I heard her stories and saw her photos all my life. So, at least in this story, there was a "happy" ending, they lived.

14 of 16 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Gillian
  • 21-02-18

What?!? Only 3 Stars For Richard Armitage? Yes...

Don't get me wrong--generally, Armitage absolutely elevates prose to dizzying heights, and when I saw he was to be the narrator of The Tattooist of Auschwitz, I was thrilled.
Uhm, no.
The book is fraught with tragedy, has tenderness, has passion, but Armitage delivers it all in the same ponderous, oh so ponderous, tones. I had to speed the whole thing up to x1.25-x1.5 speed as what sensitivity there was within the text is lost in such slooooow and serious reading. He does well with accents, well with dialogue, but for the most part... ouch!
And this is very much an Ouch-ish kind of book. Lale and Gita have nothing, no power of choice, little dignity; all they have is each other in horrific circumstances. They live moment to moment, never knowing when the SS will come for them. Never knowing when they can laugh, when they can kiss. The book depicts the terrors of Auschwitz-Birkenau quite well, the determination to just get through each day, surviving at all costs--even if that means "defiling" your fellow human being with tattoos that turn a person into a number rather than a name (but don't worry--Lale shows his humanity in numerous other ways).
While a good book, I don't think it merits 5-stars as it's fairly easy to put down/put away for a time, and I'm very much into cover-to-cover listens.
Maybe it was Armitage (whom I would still gladly listen to in another work), maybe it was a certain dryness of the text. I don't know.
I'm glad I listened to it, but I wish it had been more engaging...

10 of 13 people found this review helpful

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  • cwooden
  • 24-02-18

Audio quality is not the best.

What about Richard Armitage’s performance did you like?

I bought this book because Richard Armitage was the narrator but the quality was sub-par in the editing. Very inconsistent voice tone and quality.

Any additional comments?

I'm not going to add anything more about the story because it is amazing. I do want to comment on the audio quality. Normally I love Richard Armitage as a narrator but this reading often sounded like they patched together different reading sessions. The quality is inconsistent and it's aurally disruptive and annoying to the story when the narrator's voice changes frequently, sometimes from sentence to sentence. Audible usually has much better quality products and this one was very recently recorded so it's doubly disappointing.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Caron
  • 22-02-18

dreadful narration

I listened to Kate Quinn ..The Alice Network.. absolutely brilliant, so downloaded this one. The story summary looked great, but the narration is appalling... I've given up.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
  • BonBon
  • 22-02-18

Extremely Moving

I have read many books about the Holocaust, but this one moved me more than any other on the subject that I can remember. Thank you, Heather Morris, for this book.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Kindle Customer
  • 16-05-19

What a real life story

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It makes us think that how lucky I am to born in this era where I can have so easily accessible everything. Everyone should read this book what teaches us life in its course. Excellent writing.

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  • jacqui
  • 07-05-19

Incredible Story

Such an incredible touching story about Lalle and Gita. Thank you for sharing this with the world.

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Rachel Maritz
  • 22-04-19

Disappointed by the narration

I was so distracted by the narrator that I did not enjoy the book as much as I could. The narrator’s pitch and tone vary so much, it sounds like some parts have been inserted afterwards. The difference in tone and pitch is not related to the different characters, but occurs frequently and sometimes in a single narrative paragraph. In chapter 24 it sounds like the word/name ‘Lale’ has been inserted afterwards due to the change in pitch and tempo. I counted this about 8 times and then stopped counting. The quality of the narration was very disappointing. I will now buy the book and rather read it myself.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Muriel
  • 18-02-19

Inspiringly beautiful

What an amazing book. So full of emotion, beautifully told and and so inspiring - beautiful

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  • Claire
  • 21-02-18

Superb

Harrowing but with a strong theme throughout of determination to survive. Excellent book, had me gripped. The inter woven love story amongst the inhumane treatment of the characters by the Nazis, won through. A beautiful memoir that all should read irrespective of their faith, to prevent the holocaust ever happening again x

101 of 106 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • bookylady
  • 01-03-18

Heart-rending story, sensitively narrated.

First of all I'd like to say that I did not experience the kind of volume/tonal problems in the sound that other reviewers have mentioned. There were one or two small glitches here and there but nothing really terrible and they certainly didn't spoil the recording or my enjoyment of it.

This is a truly shocking tale of what can happen to humanity when evil ideologies and actions permeate the political elite of a society and, ultimately, the people who carry out that elite's policies. It is harrowing, horrifying and difficult to comprehend the enormity of what happened but I am so glad that I saw it through to the end. I had never heard of Lale Sokolov before listening to this book but I finished it believing that he was a truly remarkable human being, who did what he had to do in order to survive the Holocaust.

Forced to tattoo his fellow Jews in the concentration camp of Auschwitz-Birkenau, Lale manages to survive the horror of his job, the cruelty of the SS guards, the evil experiments of Dr.Mengele on some of his friends and the realisation that people were being killed ,en masse, around him. He finds friendship, even love, within the camp and takes terrible risks to save his friends and as many of his camp-mates as he can. Throughout this ordeal and the imprisonment that follows the liberation of the camp by Russian forces, Lale manages to maintain his humanity and decency, even a sense of humour.

The epilogue and author's note were very moving and brought a lump to my throat. The sense of injustice meted out to one of the female characters after the war was profound.

I thought the narration was superb. The tone of voice, the pacing, the sombre quality, the accents and even a sense of menace at times were all well judged and appropriate to the subject matter. It is difficult to use the word 'enjoyment' in relation to this book. I was left with a feeling that it was an important tale of witness and one that should be widely read, so that we never forget how quickly human beings can fall into depravity if we do not challenge evil.

130 of 137 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Veronika
  • 11-01-19

Disappointing - wasted potential

I had very high hopes for this book and was left disappointed. The story is remarkable, moving, and the book is worth reading because of it but the writing is lacking depth and character. It’s like a school paper, as if the author just wrote down what she heard during her interviews without putting any personality or style into it. I didn’t feel the story. I didn’t feel the devastation, the grief, the hopelessness. Nor the outrage, the love, the desperation. Such wasted potential!
The narration is extremely irritating. The narrator himself is very good, nice voice, good voice acting, but the sound editing is just terrible! Almost like every sentence was recorded in a separate sitting - his tone and voice keeps changing so many times and sometimes so much it sounds like a different person, which is highly confusing. Not to mention that I have a suspicion he must have mispronounced the main character’s name many times, but instead of re-recording those affected chapters (or at least sentences), it sounds like the name itself was re-recorded and inserted into the existing narrative, and it sticks out like a sore thumb many times.
I didn’t enjoy this audiobook but I’m glad I heard this story. Sad to think how much better it could have been done, both written and narrated.

15 of 15 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Kathst
  • E-yorks United Kingdom
  • 25-02-18

one of the most moving books I've ever listened to

what a beautifully written book. the author should be very proud. I am very grateful too have listened too and own this book. thank you so much

22 of 23 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Ms. J. E. Watkins
  • 25-02-18

Gripping, emotional and humbling.

I could not stop listening to this book. I found myself engrossed. Despite other reviews, I found no issues with the volume. This story stops you in your tracks. I would highly recommend.

19 of 20 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Dan Mitchell
  • Hertfordshire
  • 25-02-18

A true survivor

Having always had an interest in biographies and real life stories from the war, this has to be one of my favourite listens so far. A fascinating story where the writer does a great job of describing enough to inform but not over indulge. All I can say is a massive thank you for sharing this story, highly recommended listen to anyone interested in the darkest history of the war.

18 of 19 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Sonya1811
  • 22-05-18

Read this one don't listen to it!

This is an amazing story. It is real. It is tragic. It is beautiful but I suggest it is better heard in your head than brought to life by Armitage.

Sadly the bizarre and incredibly inconsistent acting and (worse) accents (including cockney for some perhaps clever but nonetheless inexplicable reason) are just simply not convincing. I wanted to love the characters / real folk we were being introduced to by Morris and to understand their plight, yet I found myself thinking 'why are you speaking like that?' and 'that accent makes no sense in this context'. Accents were at best inconsistent and at worst just plain awful. The constant tremor given to Lale was simply out of character. He was a damn sight stronger than THAT!

I know if had I read this book I would have loved it but this audio interpetation was just awful

16 of 17 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Joslo
  • 13-04-18

Amazing story let down by bad narration and editing.

This was a great story based on the real life experiences of an Auschwitz prisoner. Unfortunately the narration and editing were appalling. The narrator’s tone of voice changed every time he took a break and at several points in the book it sounded like there were two people narrating and speaking alternate paragraphs! This really disturbs the flow of the story.

It also seemed as though the narrator had a problem speaking the main character’s name as this was really clumsily edited in at numerous times throughout the story.

Perhaps this is a story best read rather than listened to.

28 of 31 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Chantal Robinson
  • 24-02-18

mesmerising

very touching and profound book that will leave you thinking for a long time after

27 of 30 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Jez
  • Leatherhead UK
  • 21-02-18

Poor recording spoils the story

After waiting for this moving story to arrive on Audible for quite a while, it has ended as a real disappointment. As mentioned in other reviews Richard Armitage is a wonderful narrator but all that is lost where the sound seems to have been recorded at different volume levels and tonal quality. The story deserved much better and in my opinion, should be re-recorded.

71 of 81 people found this review helpful

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  • Sarah
  • 30-04-18

I didn' want it to end (I know that seems ghastly)

Would you consider the audio edition of The Tattooist of Auschwitz to be better than the print version?

As the subject matter was so harrowing there was something very reassuring about the calm, gentle voice of Lale telling his journey. It made it somehow easier to get through.

What was one of the most memorable moments of The Tattooist of Auschwitz?

The story of liberation for the two of them. While we know only a tiny percentage of those who were sent to the death camps survived, it seems extraordinary that anyone did - let alone surviving for three years.

What about Richard Armitage’s performance did you like?

Lale's voice was so gentle and calm and it really helped with the horror of the story. The german and other accents were very good. However - the female voices always seems overly breathy and weak (these were women who were enduring untold horror sure, but they seemed too feeble at times). Also there seems to be a huge section where Lale's name has been edited in. Its very distracting. Its like it was pronounced wrong in the original recording and had to be edited over.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Yes and no. I had to break it up (car journeys) and was always frustrated I couldn't keep listening. On the other hand the story was so harrowing you needed time for parts of it to sink in before you could progress.

Any additional comments?

By the end you were so committed to the characters you wanted to hear about the rest of their lives.

21 of 22 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Anonymous User
  • 25-02-18

Couldn’t stop listening

Wow what an amazing insight to the horrors that was Auschwitz! So moving I cried from sadness and I cried from happiness. Amazing thank you

22 of 24 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Cykodog
  • 04-05-18

Incredible story

So very well written, kept me enthralled to the end.
Ensure you listen to epilogue, authors note and last word as it wraps the story perfectly.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Kym Angrave
  • 10-03-18

Fantastic story

Wow what a brilliantly written powerful story
Set in one of Mans darkest times, a story of 2 peoples love and the will to survive the horrors of war
Thoroughly recommend it to everyone

8 of 9 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Dani
  • 07-05-18

Captivating

Such an intense story of love that endures unfathomable hardships. So beautifully written and read with a postscript that satisfies the human need for closure. I recommend this book to everyone young and old, if just to help us recognise that our own lives are really not that difficult after all.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • sian
  • 02-05-18

Brilliant but hardest read yet

Lale's story was incredible. Horrific, sad, and entwined with a beautiful love story all at once. The hardest, most sobering book I have ever listened to.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Jay Lathwood
  • 30-04-18

Loved it!

Loved the story, loved the narration. Incredibly heart-wrenching tale of love and survival in this horrendous time in world history.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • kate
  • 10-03-18

Brilliant

Such overwhelming odds of a most horrendous time told so very well. Excellent reading by Richard Armitage

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Claire
  • 01-03-18

Mesmerising!

A beautifully moving story. One of the best I have read / listened to in a very long time.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Shona
  • 12-06-18

A new perspective on historical stories

It took a little to get into this book but persevere. It is so worth it. Beautifully told story.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful