Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Like A River From Its Course By Kelli Stuart

I received this book from Kregel Publications for no charge in exchange for my honest review of this book. The opinions expressed here are my own.

Book Description:

An epic novel exposing the ugliness of war and the beauty of hopeThe 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 F├╝hrer'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:

Like A River From Its Course is the first book by Kelli Stuart I have read and it is just FANTASTIC. This book is a work of fiction based on true events that happened in Kiev and the Soviet Union during the Nazi occupation, not something you hear much about. Kelli Stuart writes with authority about World War II, Ukrainian people, the different countries and peoples affected by the war, different places people were killed and taken prisoners especially Babi Yar (the killing ditch), and how the people of these places were affected when the war ended. This book is unlike any I have read before. I learned so much about Kiev, the Soviet Union, Babi Yar, and the atrocities these people saw and endured. I learned that not only the Jewish living in Kiev and the Soviet Union were targeted but the citizens of Kiev were also sent to camps and murdered. This story also looks at the effects this war had on many of the soldiers, German and Ukrainian who saw first hand how the lines get blurred and how extremes happen. I love the style of Kelli Stuart's writing, telling this story from many different perspectives of the same things was beautiful and seamless. The fluidity was flawless. The characters in this book are interesting and complicated. No one's life turns out the way they planned it and as they find ways to cope, they find out their strength and beliefs. The stories of Luda and Frederick Hermann really got me. Luda lives in Kiev and is raped by German soldiers and becomes pregnant. Her friends family takes her in and love her. She finds out that her friends family is closer to her than she knew. Her strength and tenacity are inspiring. Fredrick Hermann is German and has been raised to be a soldier for the Nazi Party. His whole life has been about being faithful to Hitler and the Nazi's. His faithfulness to the Nazi's is completely connected to how his father feels about him. He truly has blind faith in the Nazi beliefs and carries out these acts believing this is right until he finds himself at Babi Yar. Babi Yar and other events cause him to question what they are doing. His story shows the toll it took on some. His story is truly a haunting one. One of the big themes in this book is faith. Faith in God, faith in Nazi beliefs, and others that start out with no faith but find it in the events. This story shows how the these horrible events could help solidify faith.  I could NOT put this book down once I started it. I found myself completely enthralled in this story, feeling like I was there as these events took place. This is a book that will stay with me for a LONG time. The stories really spoke to me and taught me so much more about this time in history. So much I didn't know, but now do and will continue to learn more. I am excited to share this book with others. I honestly feel like I cannot do this book justice. I highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys Christian Historical Fiction especially about WWII, you will NOT be disappointed. Kelli Stuart is on my must read author list and I cannot wait to read more from her. I give this book 5+ STARS.

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