The Red Ribbon

The Red Ribbon Rose Ella Marta and Carla In another life we might have all been friends together But this was Birchwood As fourteen year old Ella begins her first day at work she steps into a world of silks seams

  • Title: The Red Ribbon
  • Author: Lucy Adlington
  • ISBN: 9781471406287
  • Page: 414
  • Format: Hardcover
  • Rose, Ella, Marta and Carla In another life we might have all been friends together But this was Birchwood As fourteen year old Ella begins her first day at work she steps into a world of silks, seams, scissors, pins, hems and trimmings She is a dressmaker, but this is no ordinary sewing workshop Hers are no ordinary clients Ella has joined the seamstresses of BirkenRose, Ella, Marta and Carla In another life we might have all been friends together But this was Birchwood As fourteen year old Ella begins her first day at work she steps into a world of silks, seams, scissors, pins, hems and trimmings She is a dressmaker, but this is no ordinary sewing workshop Hers are no ordinary clients Ella has joined the seamstresses of Birkenau Auschwitz Every dress she makes could be the difference between life and death And this place is all about survival Ella seeks refuge from this reality, and from haunting memories, in her work and in the world of fashion and fabrics She is faced with painful decisions about how far she is prepared to go to survive Is her love of clothes and creativity nothing than collaboration wth her captors, or is it a means of staying alive Will she fight for herself alone, or will she trust the importance of an ever deepening friendship with Rose One thing weaves through the colours of couture gowns and camp mud a red ribbon, given to Ella as a symbol of hope.

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    About " Lucy Adlington "

  • Lucy Adlington

    I write YA fiction, including The Diary of Pelly D, Burning Mountain and Night Witches My new novel The Red Ribbon is out Sept 2017 It is inspired by the true stories of the dressmakers of Auschwitz.I also write about costume history Great War Fashion, and Stitches in Time are two of my titlesIn between all this writing I give presentations on costume history such a fabulous job.I love switching off with crime thrillers Lee Child, Agatha Christie or with biographies


  • Birchwood - more commonly known as Auschwitz, is where we meet 14 year old Ella, starting her first day as a seamstress in The Upper Tailoring Studio, making beautiful dresses for Officers wives and female Guards.Ella was snatched from the streets on her way home from school. She was walking in the gutter at the time, because as a Jew she wasn't allowed to walk on the pavement. In Auschwitz she is a non - person - insignificant, names are not allowed, everyone is identified by a number. She soon [...]

  • "The Red Ribbon" by Lucy Adlington was a truly eye opening read, which I'm not sure if 'enjoy' is the right word but I thoroughly devoured this book in a day and found it a very emotional but enjoyable read. Knowing nothing about the seamstresses of Auschwitz or even that clothes were made for the Officer's wives and female guards of the camp I was very intrigued by this and quite surprised that this even happened.Although this is not a truly harrowing book it does still get the facts across dur [...]

  • Books about concentration camps always hurt to read. This one had pain, but also a lot of hope?! I've seen it pitched as "like the The Boy in the Striped Pajamas!" but it's actually only 13% as sad as that. And it was interesting reading about a concentration camp where they took seamstresses from the prisoners and made them sew for their captors. So it was honestly a new angle!+ I also liked how the whole story was stitched (SEE WHAT I DID THERE) around some big moral questions.Okay so these wo [...]

  • The Red Ribbon is an emotional, poignant and incredibly well-written YA Historical Fiction that I was just looking for. Set during the end of WW2, in the concentration camp Birchwood, it follows two young girls called Rose and Ella. Both have been arrested and start work in the tailoring workshop controlled by Marta, brutal and angry. Ella has a passion to have her own dress making shop but with no freedom, that is only a dream. She and Rose cross paths with Carla, a guard who looks nice but has [...]

  • Book reviews on snazzybooks The Red Ribbon is a touching, emotional and shocking story, set in the concentration camps of WW2, but showing a different side of the camps. Not a nicer side, mind you, but definitely a little different to what we often read about or see in films – I knew nothing about the seamstresses and clothing studios of WW2 concentration camps before I read this novel.The story centers around Ella, who has just started a new job at a sewing studio – in Auschwitz. It’s a t [...]

  • From beginning to end, and everything in between, The Red Ribbon is truly unforgettable. It’s nurtured with a sensitivity and thoughtfulness that encourages hope, even in the darkest of places. The contradiction of captives wearing their shapeless, faded uniforms while sewing exquisite clothes to adorn their captors provides an opportunity for both admirable and shameful attitudes to surface. Chapter headings of specific hues emphasise the stark contrast to the otherwise colourless and heart-w [...]

  • Lucy Adlington's 'The Red Ribbon' is a very worthy addition to the canon of young adult Holocaust novels and it well deserves its place alongside 'The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas', 'The Book Thief' and the Morris Gleitzman trilogy. It concerns a group of women inmates at Auschwitz who are deployed as clothes makers and is narrated by a young Jewish lady who is deported there in the latter years of the war.I had heard of the musicians of Auschwitz before but not the clothiers although as someone w [...]

  • I loved reading Red Ribbon because I found many things that were the same in Red Ribbon, that was a long time ago the same things in my own childhood. I related to the girls working on the sewing machines. My aunt used to work in a very small place sewing baby bibs and rubber pants.The scene in Red Ribbon about Grandma's house stunk of fish for days after, brought back my own memories. When I used to stay with my nan we visited my great Nan taking her kippers. It's strange because I now clearly [...]

  • Absolutely stunning - one of the best books I've read in ages. If you ever doubted the importance of clothing - as I have - this will make you question that; in Birchwood, the Stripeys are stripped when they arrive. Everything is taken from these women; their clothes, their hair, their dignity - but they do their best to hold onto their humanity and sense of self, in whatever way they can. Ella is a talented seamstress and along with Rose who becomes her best friend she uses her talents in the s [...]

  • REVIEWSo approaching this book I wasn't sure what to expect, I was hoping for a personal level story not just a retelling of the atrocities. I personally think that the Holocaust is something that should never ever be forgotten. I have read a few books, both fiction and non fiction that are set in this era of history. This book is actually based on facts though it is a work of fiction as are the people portrayed in it. It brings home to you that those horrific acts were carried out on normal peo [...]

  • Firstly I thought the cover of this book is much nicer than the picture online, as you read it you will find pictures of pins, buttons, scissors etc printed on the pages which at first I did find a bit off-putting, but after a while I was fighting my emotions as I did find this book to be quite disturbing and depressing, it's a sad story with its talk of subhuman people, chimneys, ash and red flames, even the hospital was described as the waiting room for the end! The main character is fourteen [...]

  • What a beautiful, bleak, heartbreaking yet hopeful story. Should be required reading. Full review to come!

  • 4.5⭐️read! I’d never heard of this book, but it was selected as this month’s book group choice and I’m very glad it was. This is a brilliantly written mix of fact and fiction set during the Holocaust, about 14 year old girls Ella and Rose (and friends) in one of the most infamous death camps during the 2nd world war. Very few books make me openly emotional, this is one of them.

  • This is a wonderful blend of fact and fiction, detailing some of the on-goings during 1944-45 from the Auschwitz-Birkenau extermination camp complex. It mostly focuses on Ella, a young girl who is working as a dressmaker in a clothing factory in Birchwood (Birkenau). We see Ella's journey from the moment she arrives at Birchwood, through to her struggles to stay alive but also her internal battle to decide what she should, or shouldn't, do for others. For me what was most interesting is that thi [...]

  • I really enjoyed this book, it deals with an incredibly sensitive topic extremely well. It is perfectly pitched for middle grade and above. The characters are believable but a little underdeveloped, I thought. However, I think the author has created an incredible story and I would highly recommend. Have already passed it on for others to read.

  • 4.5 STARS!Four of us: Rose, Ella, Marta and Carla. In another life we might all have been friends. But this was Birchwood.This book guys 😭I won a copy of this book via Readers First and I wish I got around to this sooner!It’s a YA, Historical Fiction which is set back when WW2 was happening, however we see the concentration camps. The Red Ribbon is a mix of truth and fiction, Lucy Adlington tells us in the afterword that it is based in a real place ‘Birchwood’ which she translated from [...]

  • Thanks to Allen & Unwin for providing me with a review copy for this in exchange for an honest review!Initial Thoughts Upon FinishingThis was seriously fantastic. It was not at all what I expected going into it as the blurb is fairly mysterious but oh wow, this blew me away. I can't recommend this book enough; if you've read or heard of The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas then by golly you should be reading this one. Fantastic protagonist, fantastic story, unique perspective.The Red RibbonThis bo [...]

  • I finished this last night & it was so, so beautiful. The whole thing has been written with so much care & the last 15% had me sobbing my heart out. Ella & Rose are strength personified & I love them both very dearly. This book felt different from any other book like it & it taught me things I didn't know before. This is one of those books I want everyone to read. It has also helped me make my mind up about doing a holocaust module at the Open University. Extended Review: wri [...]

  • Birchwood. Birkenau. How can such a terrible place have such a gentle name?Ella will do what it takes to survive. Work, keep working, or your name gets on a List. Keep food to yourself. Make it clear to other Stripeys that you won’t be picked on. Keep your head down in front of the guards.At the age of 14, Ella is picked off the streets and taken to a labour prison camp. The only reason she isn’t killed straight out is her height. She survives longer because of her ability to sew. The comman [...]

  • This is really a 3.5 Stars book, and I'm mean so I marked it as 3.Above all The Red Ribbon is a book about hope and how without it life will be grey and brown, cold and brutal. Hope for ourselves and in our decisions, hope that our family will be okay despite evidence to the contrary, hope that our friendships will endure and that out trust is not misplaced. Hope that society will treat all people fairly and as wondrous creations that each have their part to play in the world.Lucy Adlington recr [...]

  • ‘The Red Ribbon' is a brilliant new addition to the canon of YA Holocaust literature, slotting seamlessly beside the likes of ‘The Book Thief’ and ‘The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas’. It provides insight into the lesser known story of the prisoner seamstresses who worked in Auschwitz-Birkenau, making clothes for the Commandant’s wife and female guards. The story’s main focus is on one of these seamstresses – Ella - a 14 year old who loves to sew and dreams of one day owning her own [...]

  • The Red Ribbon is a story of survival. This is a story of green, yellow, red, and white. A story of loss, hope and friendship. A beautifully woven and truly unforgettable novel. This book follows the story of Ella, a fourteen year old girl who is a prisoner in Birkenau-Auschwitz, also known as Birchwood. We follow Ella on her haunting journey of survival in a day to day life surrounded by darkness and death. Now, I have read a lot of books and studied this period of history so I already knew a l [...]

  • I really, really wanted to love this book but I'm afraid that for whatever reason it just didn't happen for me. I think it's an incredible and worthwhile story and definitely one worth telling so it isn't forgotten but I just didn't connect to it. The author has done a brilliant job of bringing this story to a young audience. It's a difficult subject and could be really horrific but as it is aimed at younger readers a very light touch has been used. That's not to say things are glossed over, the [...]

  • I teared up so many times through the course of this story. A few times with happiness, but so often at the cruelty and injustice the prisoners suffered. However despite the grimness, hope flowed - a hidden undercurrent - through each and every page. THE RED RIBBON is a spectacular work of fiction, woven with shocking truths to form an incredibly emotional read. Warning: do not attempt to read without some tissues nearby!Ella’s identity is gone. Snatched from her family, denied a name and any [...]

  • I hesitated to start this book because I knew I needed to be in the right mindframe to read about the gruelling work and death camp of Auschwitz-Birkenau and the cast of passionate fascism that led to the death of 6 million Jewish people, as well as millions more civilians and political prisoners, Romani, Jehovah's Witnesses and "asocials" - including homosexuals. I expected this book to be dark and gloomy, a tale of a woman working with a sewing machine all day until she dies - and it was. It w [...]

  • First of all, thank you to the publisher and Netgalley for giving me an advanced copy! The Red Ribbon follows 14-year-old Ella as she gets a job as a seamstress in Auschwitz and does her best to survive. The writing was gorgeous and surprisingly hopeful, written in a way that pulled me through the entire book in one sitting and (somehow) managed to be grave, lovely, heartbreaking, and even joyful all at once. The dynamic between Ella and her friend Rose reminded me so much of the true story of C [...]

  • The Red Ribbon is inspired by the seamstresses that were set up in a tailoring workshop by the wife of the Auschwitz commandant, Rudolf Hoss. While Auschwitz prisoners were beaten, abused and sent to their deaths a select few women were 'lucky' enough to find work altering and making clothing for their captors. The story focuses on Ella, a 14 year Jewess who was snatched from the streets and who is able to survive by filling a position at the Upper Tailoring Studio recently vacated by another wo [...]

  • It's not often you can read something about Auschwitz that can be described as a happy book that makes you laugh, but this remarkable story is certainly that.While this book does not diminish the atrocities that happened there, it does instead shift the focus to land entirely on fourteen year old Ella. She sees some horrible things that she tries to block out, and the ever present chimneys are a constant threat, but through it all there is a sense of survival and courage, a feeling of camaraderi [...]

  • I absolutely loved this book. I've never been the biggest fan of historical fiction, if that's what you'd call it, but this book definitely had me wanting more. Since the author, Lucy Adlington is an expert in this field, she really made it feel like it was happing right there and that everything was real.It took me a few days to read it but I was always in the position that I didn't want to put it down at the end of the night. It's not too safe but I even walked down the street reading it a few [...]

  • I awaited the arrival of this title with great anticipation and it did not disappoint.I loved the mix of non-fiction woven into a fictional story and the heroines, both Ella and Rose were so real. The story was gripping and yet somehow entertaining. Threaded with a reality, that was moving and sad to the point of hurting, yet one's hope was continually kept alive this translates for me as the reader of the story, into a skillful balancing that the author Adlington wove through her writing and st [...]

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