Like a River From Its Course

Litfuse Book Tour

Like a River From Its Course is an epic novel exposing the ugliness of war and the beauty of hope.

Like a River From Its Course Book Review

About Like a River From Its Course

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.

My Thoughts

There are few moments when you receive a book and it just captures your attention and demands to be read. This is one of those books. It is powerful, emotional and full of passion. I cried, smiled and my heart broke at various times throughout the book. I was so attached when I first opened this book, it came with me to soccer practice and I read it the whole time we were there. It was definitely a book I read in one sitting and then re-read over again to further appreciate it.

It tells the story of four individuals all of whom are living during World War II in Ukraine, this gives us such a unique and different perspective of the same events. There was so much to learn from this book, the “killing ditch” was nothing I had ever heard of before but it broke my heart and made me physically sick to think of something so awful that these individuals went through. Reading through the chapters in Frederick’s perspective was so difficult at times. The acts were horrible and you can see the toll they take on him. I thought this was a very interesting perspective to look at, the effects of these acts on the person committing the crime and how long-term they changes their view, faith and beliefs.

In all of the ugliness and dark parts in this book, there are moments of human kindness, compassion and understanding that make you see the good in the world. Ivan is one of those men that make you see the good in people, even though it cost him greatly. He also loses his children to the labor camps but still he finds a way to fight to see the light in it.

Maria is an amazingly strong young woman, her character and compassion made me believe in people again. She was the glue that kept many going. She gave so many hope that needed it. Luda is another amazing character in our story. While being victim to an awful crime, she accepts the pregnancy and loves her child. And while she was abandoned by her own Father, she found family in another family whose connections to her own she never knew. Watching her grow through pregnancy and eventually into motherhood and struggle with not only this but the war around her, brings hope and forgiveness.

The story is an amazing blend of hope, pain and forgiveness. With moments of horrendous pain and suffering, we are also balanced with moments of kindness and compassion that will make you belief again in humanity. This novel is powerful, touching, moving and very special. You will not regret one moment spent with it and share with your friends.

You can find more reviews on the Litfuse blog tour page. You can purchase a copy of the book here.

Rating: 5/5 +++

About the Author

Kelli Stuart is the coauthor of Dare 2B Wise and has written for several brands including Disney, American Girl, and Short Fiction Break. She has served as editor-in-chief for the St. Louis Bloggers Guild and as a board member for the St. Louis Women in Media. In addition to her writing, Kelli has spent twenty years studying Ukrainian culture. Kelli lives in Florida.

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book in order to facilitate this review. All opinions expressed are my own.


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