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lindawisniewski

lindawisniewski

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The War and its Horses

The Last Daughter of Prussia - Marina Gottlieb Sarles

I read The Last Daughter of Prussia as a writer myself, also writing about eastern Europe, though at different points in history. The author has based this novel on the stories told by her family, natives of East Prussia, which was German during the time of the second world war. I visited the area in 2010, to connect with my Polish family's roots. Danzig is now called Gdansk, and the area is part of Poland, so the title character is indeed the "last daughter of Prussia." 

Sarles describes the sense of loss of Manya and her family as they flee the approaching Russian troops. She gives us a look into the hearts of Germans who while not Nazi sympathizers also suffered greatly from the war. She does a particularly good job of describing the trek across the bay in winter to reach safety in German territory. The horses Manya's family rides are major characters themselves, and I learned about the Trakheners, a breed I'd never heard of before.

Although I've read other stories of the Holocaust and WWII, this one had a unique perspective. It was hard for me to like the aristocratic family, though, perhaps not the author's fault but still, an obstacle to my enjoyment of the book.