Last Daughter of Prussia

The Last Daughter of Prussia
Marina Gottlieb Sarles

prussia - CopyThe Last Daughter of Prussia chronicles through fiction the desperate final months of World War II in the frequently ignored region of East Prussia, where the “Great Trek” claimed the lives of nearly half a million women, children and men.

Protagonist Manya von Falken begs her family to defy Nazi orders and leave their estate (a crime punishable by death) when she witnesses the brutal attack of a nearby village in Nemmersdorf. Manya’s lifelong childhood friend, a Romani, disappears just hours after Manya realizes she is in love with him. Meanwhile, Soviet troops advance ever closer, during the harsh winter of 1944-1945.

Based on true family stories passed down from her grandparents, both of whom survived the “Great Trek” and recorded their memories in diary entries, author Marina Gottlieb Sarles reveals a too-often forgotten side of World War II, the strength of women who worked on the home front to save their families, the silenced stories of East Prussian women (many of whom endured and witnessed systematic rape), the untold suffering of Romani peoples and Jews in concentration camps, and the grief of survival, for many, who finally escaped during the harrowing months at the end of World War II would never return to the land they loved.

A historical novel of suspense, love, and survival centering around the largest and least known civilian mass exodus at the end of World War II, The Last Daughter of Prussia is a fast-paced compelling tale celebrating the indomitable human spirit in the worst of times.

marina2Marina Gottlieb Sarles worked as a practicing physical therapist for more than twenty years before drawing on her storytelling skills to write her first book, Sand in My Shoes: A Collection of Island Stories. Sarles has been published in the Macmillan Caribbean anthology, Under the Perfume Tree, and ESPN produced a special feature based on her short stories.

Her essay, “Auschwitz, Stutthof and Remembrance” was featured in Wild River Review. The Last Daughter of Prussia (April, 2012), a saga of love and war, is Sarles’s debut novel and has already been heralded as one of the most moving animal stories ever written.

sarles - CopyMarina Gottlieb Sarles worked as a practicing physical therapist for more than twenty years before drawing on her storytelling skills to write her first book, Sand in My Shoes: A Collection of Island Stories. Sarles has been published in the Macmillan Caribbean anthology, Under the Perfume Tree, and ESPN produced a special feature based on her short stories. Her essay, “Auschwitz, Stutthof and Remembrance” was featured in Wild River Review. The Last Daughter of Prussia (April, 2012), a saga of love and war, is Sarles’s debut novel and has already been heralded as one of the most moving animal stories ever written.

An island girl from the Bahamas, author Sarles not only speaks two languages (English and German) but grew up in two different worlds. As the daughter of German immigrants, who escaped Nazi Germany at the end of World War II by swimming across the Rhine River with guns firing at their backs, Sarles daydreamed about the Europe they had left behind, imagining rolling meadows and emerald-green lakes, and her mother’s stable of thoroughbred Trakehner horses.

As a young girl, Sarles noticed her grandmother’s mournful silence whenever she asked the older woman to talk about the “Great Trek” out of East Prussia, a journey that claimed the lives of nearly half a million men, women and children.

The other world that claims Sarles is the land of her birth in the northern Bahamas, where her parents relocated in the late 1940s. Her father became the first medical doctor on the Island and her mother, an East Prussian baroness with a doctorate in Zoology, worked as his right hand. Together they worked in primitive conditions, delivering babies and taking care of the sick—where their family became intimately connected to the community.

A lifelong animal lover, a passion that shows throughout her writing, Sarles reveres horses, but also cherishes dolphins, turtles and spotted eagle-rays which she sees regularly on boating excursions in the Abaco cays. Sarles lives on Grand Bahama Island where she resides with her husband and son.

EMAIL: marinagottliebsarles@me.com
FACEBOOK: facebook.com/marinagottliebsarles
BLOG: www.marinagottliebsarles.com

 

REVIEWS

In Sarles’s novel, set during WWII, Manya von Falken is a young East Prussian aristocrat in love with Joshi Karas, a Romani doctor. As the Russians are steadily encroaching into East Prussia and battling the Germans, the two young lovers get caught in the middle. Joshi is arrested by the Germans and taken to Stutthof, a forced labor camp, where he witnesses Nazi inhumanity firsthand and learns to do whatever he needs to survive. Manya and her family flee, but the journey to safety may end up costing her everything, including Joshi…. [T]he sentiments and terror of the protagonists are well rendered, keenly felt, and quite vivid. Sarles adapted her novel from the real-life experience of her grandparents, and readers will appreciate the characters’ quiet heroism and be intrigued by this affecting tale of WWII – Publishers Weekly

The Journey in Photos

The Last Daughter of Prussia Media Kit