Welcome Grace is a place to explore brokenness in the light of grace. It’s also a place to be encouraged that our histories don’t have to determine or dictate our present or future. I am on the hunt for stories that portray that truth–whether they be fiction or non-fiction.
I was given the opportunity to participate in a book review and ‘Like a River From Its Course’ stole my breath away.
About the book:
Travel back in time in Kelli Stuart’s new novel, Like a River from Its Course, as the city of Kiev is bombed in Hitler’s blitzkrieg across the Soviet Union. This sweeping historical saga 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.
REVIEW BY JESSICA VAN ROEKEL:
Like a River From Its Course is a heartbreakingly, beautiful, and well-researched tale of the horror, courage, and determination four people experienced as the Ukraine faced Nazi invasion in WWII. This book drew me in with its complex characters and the battles that raged within each one.
Ms. Stuart did a splendid job creating four distinct voices and I was able to seamlessly follow each character’s stories they intersected and affected each other while being hurtled into different directions. My heart connected to each character in part due to the realism this work of fiction portrayed, but also due to the descriptive and emotive voices possessed by the characters.
Like a River From Its Course is not a light-weight read. It is a treatise on overcoming adversity. The theme—triumph over adversity– is well developed, however, if you are looking for a strong Christian theme of faith and reliance on God, you won’t find it here. You will find a well-crafted tale of the tragedy and bravery within the human condition realistically placed before you with a gentle discovery for God.
In the books I read, I look for ‘take-aways’, the lessons that imprint themselves onto my heart and ‘Like a River From Its Course’ does this well. Frederick reminds me that when I seek the pleasure of man or society I will be left cold and empty. My mother’s heart identified with Ivan as he felt the impotence of a father unable to protect his children. Luda and Maria reminded me of the possibility to make the hard choices to bravely face devastating, life-altering circumstances.
Sometimes life is about living the hard stuff and not letting it cripple your heart to the point that empathy is impossible. Maria, Ivan, and Luda show us how to live courageously in the face of heart-crippling loss and Frederick shows us the consequences of placing our hopes in an ideal that cannot survive.
I would recommend this book due to the well-researched plot line, the intriguing characters and the distinctive voices of the characters. Kelli Stuart has written a novel that encompasses a significant period of time in our collective history, one that is worth reading and passing along to friends.
(I received this book free from Litfuse Publicity Group in exchange for an honest review)
Celebrate the release of Like a River from Its Course with Kelli by entering to win a Kindle Fire Prize Pack.
One grand prize winner will receive:
- A copy of Like a River from Its Course
- A Kindle Fire
- A Kindle Fire case (winner’s choice)
- A $30 Amazon gift card
Enter today by clicking the icon below, but hurry! The giveaway ends on July 18th. The winner will be announced July 19th on Kelli’s blog.