Review: Cilka’s Journey (The Tattooist of Auschwitz #2) by Heather Morris

I am probably the last person alive who hasn’t read The Tattooist of Auschwitz! And to think, I call myself a historical fiction fan.

The Tattooist of Auschwitz was on my radar months before its release but I worried it would be a heavy read and at that time, I was reading a lot of heavy books and I just wasn’t ready for another one.

After that, I sort of forgot about it in favor of other new releases. Then this book showed up on my desk for review, the second in this series. I knew there wasn’t time for me to read The Tattooist of Auschwitz before reading this one but I was willing to at least try this one, as it sounded exceptional and all the people who have read The Tattooist of Auschwitz rave about the author’s writing—I didn’t feel like I could pass on it!


In this follow-up to The Tattooist of Auschwitz, the author tells the story, based on a true one, 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 survive. (summary from Goodreads)


This book. Wow. It was intense and it gave me all the feels. So first of all, after about three chapters, I immediately ordered The Tattooist on Audible so I can listen to it in the car once I am done with my current listen. Morris does have a wonderful talent and her writing is honest, emotional, and precise. I loved it!

I was a little worried about this book being second in a series, but I had no trouble reading it and never felt lost or like I needed to read The Tattooist first. From what I understand there are characters from the previous novel in this one, but for me it didn’t ruin anything or give anything away as to the other book.

This book was definitely an emotional read so be prepared! While it might have been hard to read at times, the story and details were wonderful and I couldn’t put it down. I think one of the things that really hits home is this book is based on a real person and their experiences in the war. It doesn’t get any more personal, honest, and compelling than that. I was so hooked on this book knowing that it was based on a real person.

I know that some people preferred the first book by Morris, but having not read it, I can’t tell you how it compares, all I know was within the first few chapters I already knew this book was going to be a special 5 star review. It was so well written and researched, and I couldn’t get enough of Cilka’s story! Also as a side note, I don’t often read too many author notes at the end of a book, but this one was fascinating, take the time to read it!

Book Info and Rating

Hardcover, 352 pages
Published October 1st 2019 by St. Martin’s Press
ISBN 1250265703 (ISBN13: 9781250265708)
Free review copy provided by publisher, St Martin’s Press, in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own and in no way influenced.
Rating: 5 stars
Genre: historical fiction


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