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Like a River From Its Course by Kelli Stuart

Sunday, July 24, 2016

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 Fuhrer'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.

Goodreads Summary

Kelli Stuart crafts an intriguing historical fiction that intertwines three unusual characters in one tale.  The horror and hatred of the Holocaust and World War II is wrapped up in the compassion of strangers who did not let the Nazi dictator sway their inner compass.  The story taught me a few new historical facts such as the occupation of Ukraine by Nazi Germany.  Four perspectives come together to tell the story.  I hadn't been taught too much about the occupation of Ukraine and so many of the details were so sad and interesting all at the same time.  The four main characters are sadly based off of real lives that the author intensively researched.  The character I connected the most to was Luda.  She had such a hard life and it must be an impossible task to be pregnant with your rapist's child.  I felt horrible for her.  Anyone who reads this book will certainly have strong feelings throughout the novel. The stories within this book will not be easily forgotten and this book is aimed towards an older audience.

4 Stars

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