Like a River From It’s Course by Kelli Stuart is an historical novel detailing the tragedies and triumphs of four characters who experience Hitler’s blitzkrieg of the city of Kiev during WWII. The author spent 15 years researching and interviewing the survivors of this period in history and she shares their stories in this heartbreaking, and heartwarming story. This story is told by four different characters, telling the same story from their own viewpoints.
Masha is a 14 year old girl when the bombings happen. She tells the story of her experiences of devastation, hunger and fear living in the bombed out city of Kiev. Not long after the bombings, she is ripped right out of the arms of her parents and forced to work in a German labor camp.
Ivan is Masha’s father and he survives the horror of Babi Yar, the killing ditch, where 34,000 Jewish men, women and children were are killed, while trying to save his daughter’s best friend Polina from this massacre. The experience devastates him and he is never the same.
Luda is sixteen and has spent her entire life taking care of her father, who is a drunkard and mistreats her at every turn. The final blow comes when she is abandoned by him as three Nazi soldiers rape and impregnate her. She turns to the only friends she has, who quickly become her family and help her to survive and learn to trust and love again.
Frederick was raised in the bosom of the Nazi philosophy. His father is a trusted friend and advisor to Hitler himself, and Frederick is convinced of the truth of the Fuhrers plans. He is obsessed with pleasing his demanding father, but never seems to meet his expectations.
I have never been a big fan of fiction based in WWII for some reason. At least not the ones that discuss military tactics and plans, etc. But this novel spoke to me, right from the description, and I just knew I wanted to read it. I am a sucker for any character driven novel and this one has that in spades.
I loved getting to know these characters and their lives during such a trying time. It gave me all the feels, laughter, tears, anger, bitterness, fear, all of them. I was especially drawn to the plight of Masha and Luda. They are both very strong female characters that are well-developed and totally believable. I found myself rooting for them both, as I lived their experiences right alongside them.
Of course this is a Christian historical fiction novel, so there are some Christian parts in this book. But, they were woven into the story so well, that it certainly didn’t feel preach-y or necessarily Christian at all. Overall, the trials and triumphs and losses of these characters stole the show and make this a marvelous story of love and redemption; of survival and strength.
Get a free copy of Chapter one from the author:
Like a River from Its Course (Kregel, June 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 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.
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 Ukranian culture. Kelli lives in Florida.
I received this book for free or at a discounted price from the publisher or author in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own.