Description: 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 Michaelevna 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.
My Thoughts: I love Holocaust novels, so it disappointed me that this one was just was alright. It starts out as one would expect, with the atrocities committed during the war, both in general and then also targeted at the Jews. But it quickly turned to being less about acts committed than as it was about the characters' emotional fall outs.
To explain, there are four point of view characters: Ivan, his daughter Masha, Luda, and then Frederick who is a German soldier. Ivan and Luda do experience horrible events in the beginning, but then spent most of the rest of the book inside their own homes, hidden away. Frederick and Masha endure far more, yet Frederick's story ends around a hundred pages earlier than the rest, making me question why it had even been included.
On their own, I did enjoy reading Luda's and Masha's point of views. Luda's is a personal struggle that I cannot imagine most people being able to endure and I was glad to see her come out happy in the end. And Masha's perspective offered more of what I had expected going into the story, someone actively surviving daily life directly under the Nazis.
For someone interested in reading about the emotional struggles suffered during WWII, this may be an enjoyable read. For me, it was not what I expected from such a novel and I felt it would have been better without Ivan or Frederick's perspectives.
I received this book through Litfuse 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.