An epic novel exposing the ugliness of war and the beauty of hope
The city of Kiev was bombed in Hitler’s blitzkrieg across the Soviet Union, but the constant siege was only the beginning for her citizens. In this sweeping historical saga, Kelli Stuart takes the reader on a captivating journey into the little—known history of Ukraine’s tragedies through the eyes of four compelling characters who experience the same story from different perspectives.
Maria Ivanovna is only fourteen when the bombing begins and not much older when she is forced into work at a German labor camp. She must fight to survive and to make her way back to her beloved Ukraine.
Ivan Kyrilovich is falsely mistaken for a Jew and lined up with 34,000 other men, women, and children who are to be shot at the edge of Babi Yar, the “killing ditch.” He survives, but not without devastating consequences.
Luda is sixteen when German soldiers rape her. Now pregnant with the child of the enemy, she is abandoned by her father, alone, and in pain. She must learn to trust family and friends again and find her own strength in order to discover the redemption that awaits.
Frederick Hermann is sure in his knowledge that the Führer’s plans for domination are right and just. He is driven to succeed by a desire to please a demanding father and by his own blind faith in the ideals of Nazism. Based on true stories gathered from fifteen years of research and interviews with Ukrainian World War II survivors, Like a River from Its Course is a story of love, war, heartache, forgiveness, and redemption.
This is unlike any other book that I have read. Stuart gathered interviews from survivors and researched stories of WWII in the Ukraine to weave together the stories into one fictionalized account. It is a very powerful book to read!
It goes without saying that any war and especially WWII is horrible. However, Stuart manages to convey the strength of humanity and grace that survivors rested on to survive. This is one of those books that I found myself racing through because I was so invested in the characters and I couldn’t wait to see if my favorite ones survived. There were stories of loved ones that did not survive.
It is impossible to imagine the bravery that it took for some of the people to do what they did that allowed others, sometimes even strangers to survive. The sacrifices are sometimes too much to comprehend!
One of the things I enjoyed the most about this book was that Stuart shared some stories of the German soldiers. She offered a balanced look, where some were completely dedicated to the cause while others hated what their country had become and sought to rectify it as much as they could, sometimes even paying the ultimate price.
If you are a fan of WWII fiction, especially if it based on actual events, this is a great book to read. I have already recommended it and loaned it out to a couple of friends.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from Kregel Publications in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own.